Former US President Donald Trump’s social network has 30 days left to stop breaching the rules of its software license

The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) says ex President Donald Trump’s new social network broke a free and open-source software licensing agreement by ripping off decentralized social network Mastodon. The Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG) has 30 days to comply with the terms of the license before its access is terminated — forcing it to rebuild the platform or face legal action.

TMTG released a special purpose acquisition company fundraising effort yesterday with Promises to build a sweeping media empire. Its only product so far is a social network called Truth Social. While anyone can freely reuse Mastodon’s code (and groups like right-wing social network Gab have already done so), they still have to follow with the Affero General Public License (or AGPLv3) that rules that code, and its conditions include offering their own source code to all users.

Truth Social doesn’t follow with that license and, in fact, refers to its service as “proprietary.” Its developers attempted to scrub references that would make the Mastodon connection clear — at one point listing a “sighting” of the Mastodon logo as a bug — but added direct references to Mastodon in the site’s underlying HTML alongside obvious visual similarities.

TMTG’s strategy hasn’t sat well with the SFC, an organization that enforces free and open-source software licenses. “The license purposefully treats everyone equally (even people we don’t like or agree with), but they must operate under the same rules of the copyleft licenses that apply to everyone else,” SFC policy fellow Bradley Kuhn wrote in a blog post. “Today, we saw the Trump Media and Technology Group ignoring those important rules — which were designed for the social good.”