Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Open source licensing suits settle in short order

Filed under
Legal

Many open source licences are only two or three paragraphs long and read more like a manifesto than a traditional software licence. The simple but unorthodox nature of open source licences, along with the fact that the software is provided “free,” has lulled many into a false sense that these licences must surely be unenforceable and that the use and redistribution of open source software will have no consequences.

This attitude belies the fact that despite a superficial and non-legalistic veneer, open source licences rely on traditional copyright principles and contract law – albeit in a non-traditional way – and therefore are prima facie enforceable. However, despite widespread adoption and significant use of open source software over the past 20 years, little jurisprudence has developed to determine exactly to what extent open source licences will be enforced.

In light of the dearth of case law, many have been carefully watching four recent claims brought by the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. These are purportedly the first claims in the U.S. regarding the GNU General Public License (GPL), one of the most common and influential open source licences. The New York-based SFLC provides legal representation to non-profit open source developers and projects to protect and foster the development of open source software.

More Here




More in Tux Machines

Android Leftovers

Gaming News: SHOGUN, Reus, Two Worlds and More

Security Leftovers: WCry/Ransomwar, WannaCry, Athena

OSS Leftovers

  • Nextcloud 12 Officially Released, Adds New Architecture for Massive Scalability
    Nextcloud informs Softpedia today about the official availability of the final release of Nextcloud 12, a major milestone of the self-hosting cloud server technology that introduces numerous new features and improvements. The biggest new feature of the Nextcloud 12 release appears to be the introduction of a new architecture for massive scalability, called Global Scale, which is a next-generation open-source technology for syncing and sharing files. Global Scale increases scalability from tens of thousands of users to hundreds of millions on a single instance, while helping universities and other institutions significantly reduce the costs of their existing large installations.
  • ReactOS 0.4.5 Open-Source Windows-Compatible OS Launches with Many Improvements
    ReactOS 0.4.5 is a maintenance update that adds numerous changes and improvements over the previous point release. The kernel has been updated in this version to improve the FreeLoader and UEFI booting, as well as the Plug and Play modules, adding support for more computers to boot ReactOS without issues.
  • Sprint Debuts Open Source NFV/SDN Platform Developed with Intel Labs
    AT&T has been the headliner in the carrier race to software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV). But Sprint is putting its own stamp on the space this week with its debut of a new open source SDN/NFV mobile core solution.
  • Google’s New Home for All Things Open Source Runs Deep
    Google is not only one of the biggest contributors to the open source community but also has a strong track record of delivering open source tools and platforms that give birth to robust technology ecosystems. Just witness the momentum that Android and Kubernetes now have. Recently, Google launched a new home for its open source projects, processes, and initiatives. The site runs deep and has several avenues worth investigating. Here is a tour and some highlights worth noting.
  • Making your first open source contribution
  • Simplify expense reports with Smart Receipts
    The app is called Smart Receipts, it's licensed AGPL 3.0, and the source code is available on GitHub for Android and iOS.
  • How the TensorFlow team handles open source support
    Open-sourcing is more than throwing code over the wall and hoping somebody uses it. I knew this in theory, but being part of the TensorFlow team at Google has opened my eyes to how many different elements you need to build a community around a piece of software.
  • IRC for the 21st Century: Introducing Riot
    Internet relay chat (IRC) is one of the oldest chat protocols around and still popular in many open source communities. IRC's best strengths are as a decentralized and open communication method, making it easy for anyone to participate by running a network of their own. There are also a variety of clients and bots available for IRC.