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Introducing Craig Topham, FSF copyright and licensing associate

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GNU
Legal

My name is Craig Topham, and I’m the latest to have the honor of being a copyright and licensing associate for the Free Software Foundation (FSF). I started work in November, and the delay in assembling my introductory blog post is a testament to how busy I have been. Although my post feels late, it gives me a chance to share my experience here at the FSF, along with sharing a little bit more about myself.

From 2005 to 2017, I worked as a PC/Network Technician for the City of Eugene, Oregon. The role had the inherent reward of allowing me to be a part of something much larger than myself. I was helping local government function. From the mayor and city council all the way to the summer staff that worked the front desk at the recreation department's swimming pools, I was one of many making it all work. It was even a part of my job to support some free software the city used! Sadly, a vast majority of the software that we used was proprietary, but despite the painful duty of supporting nonfree software, the overall experience felt pretty great. As I close that chapter of my life with all the wonderful memories and marks made, I am beset with a wild sense of relief. Like finding a rock in my shoe after twelve years, the alleviation is palatable: I never have to labor to master proprietary software again!

For unknown reasons (which I contemplate often), I did not learn about the free software movement until 2004, despite a lifetime of using computers. Like so many before me, my initial education on the movement came via Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman. What so instantaneously drew me to free software was the simplicity of the four freedoms: run, edit, share, contribute. These freedoms, coupled with the ethical nature of the movement, made it a natural fit for me. It did not take me long to realize that this is what I needed to soothe my “How can I make the world a better place?” angst. Inevitably, I became an FSF associate member on October 28, 2007 because it was (and still is) the easiest way to help out. If you are reading this and you are not a member, I encourage you to change that and help make the world a better place.

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