Former US President Donald Trump’s new social network is yet to be officially launched, but is already in trouble as it broke a software licensing agreement by ripping off social network Mastodon.

Thirty days have been given to the Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG) to comply with the terms of the license before its access is terminated. This forces it to build the platform again or face legal consequences, reported The Verge.

With promises to build a sweeping media empire, the group launched a special purpose acquisition company fundraising effort last week. So far, the group's only product is the social network, "Truth Social," that looks like it has been inspired from Mastodon. Mastodon’s code can be freely used, and social network Gab has already done so, but the ones who use it have to comply with the Affero General Public License (AGPLv3) that governs that code, and offering own source code to users is one of its conditions.

Trump’s new social network doesn’t comply with that license. It seems like developers of his social network tried to remove references that would make the connection with Mastodon clear. At one point, a sighting of the Mastodon logo is listed as a bug.

Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) policy fellow Bradley Kuhn wrote in a blog post that 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." Kuhn added that the organization that enforces free and open-source software licenses saw TMTG ignoring those important rules, which were "designed for the social good.”

Even though "Truth Social" is yet to be officially launched, people could access its test version and many of the users created prank accounts on the platform that flooded the service with fake Trump posts and false company announcements. There is a waitlist now, and the SFC said that TMTG should offer all the users access to the source code of "Truth Social."

Kuhn said that if Trump’s group fails to do this within 30 days, their permissions and rights in the software are "automatically and permanently terminated." SFC could sue Trump’s social network for violating the terms of the license it used if it is unable to make the source code available.

Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko recently said that he was thinking of seeking legal counsel about the situation, and shared that compliance with his AGPLv3 license is very important to him as that is the "sole basis upon which I and other developers are willing to give away years of work for free."

Meanwhile, Business Insider noted that "Truth Social" seems to have a user interface that resembles that of Twitter's particularly where its profile page is concerned.

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Oct. 09, 2021 in Des Moines, Iowa. This is Trump's first rally in Iowa since the 2020 election. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

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