Open Source Software and the Law Slides 12/7/12

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Have you ever wondered how the law treats open source software? In this presentation, we try to cover some of the major legal issues developers should know about OSS. (Originally from 12/7/12 meeting @ Hack Pittsburgh!)

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Open Source Software and the Law Slides 12/7/12

  1. 1. OSS & the LawMegan Costello, J.D.Elliott & Davis, PC
  2. 2. MEET MEG:Tech Enthusiast • Freelance Web Designer • BS in IST/SRA• Lawschool Grad with JD in IP & High-Tech Law• Works @ Elliott & Davis, PC• Goal?Make Law More Accessible toFellow Technologists!!!
  3. 3. MY FIRMNot Your Typical Law Firm!! Mid-Sized,Multi-Practice Firm Technologist Friendly Pittsburgh Cyberlaw Forward-Thinking First B-Corp in Pgh! Competitively Priced Fun, Inviting Atmosphere
  4. 4. DISCLAIMER(You Saw this Coming…)THIS PRESENTATION IS NOT MEANTTO BE USED AS LEGAL ADVICE…SO BEFORE YOU DOANYTHING, TALK TO A LAWYER ONE-ON-ONE…
  5. 5. DISCLAIMER(You Saw this Coming…)THIS PRESENTATION IS NOT MEANTTO BE USED AS LEGAL ADVICE…SO BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING,TALK TO A LAWYER ONE-ON-ONE…….PRETTY PLEASE? 
  6. 6. Open Source Software(OSS) IS: Softwarereleased with source code for the purpose of free and open development Generally collaborative effort Promotes free access to information for the advancement of technology. Similar ideas:  Crowd-Sourced Data, OSHW, Creative Commons, etc
  7. 7. WHY OSS ROCKS! Security Affordability Transparency Perpetuity Interoperability Localization
  8. 8. WHY OSS GETS A BAD REPCOMMON MYTHS: OSS IS THE “KISS OF DEATH” TO IP! YOU WILL NEVER GET FUNDED WITH OSS! YOU WILL NEVER MAKE MONEY WITH OSS!
  9. 9. THE REALITY There are ways to avoid IP battles with Open Source Software There are ways to attract funding with Open Source Software There are ways to make money with Open Source Software
  10. 10. MYTH #1:OPEN SOURCESOFTWARE IS THE KISSOF DEATH TOINTELLECTUALPROPERTY
  11. 11. IP BASICS:Creations of the mind used in commerce!CopyrightsTrademarksTrade SecretsPatents
  12. 12. OUR FOCUS TONIGHT:
  13. 13. COPYRIGHT BASICS: Covers Original Artistic Expression in a “Fixed, Tangible Medium”FOR CODE?Extends to both source code AND object code Attaches Immediately // Life of Author +70 Years. Federal Enforcement Requires Registration ($35!)
  14. 14. COPYRIGHT:Just A Big Ol’ Bundle of Sticks.
  15. 15. WHERE © GETS TRICKYDerivativeWorksWorks for Hire + + + = ????????????????
  16. 16. Derivative Works Captures Major Elements of an Already Copyrighted Work Needs to be “Original” to Register NO RIGHT to Original Copyrighted MaterialSOFTWARE CONCERN:Who Owns a Derivative Work?
  17. 17. Works Made for Hire Commissioned work for another person or company Commissioning person/company generally owns copyrightSOFTWARE CONCERN:Does my employer own thecopyright when I makesoftware on my own time?
  18. 18. The Solution?Software Licensing!! License= Binding Contract Between You and User(s) Set of Rules that Control:  Who Owns ©  What may be used  Who may use it  How it may be used  What happens when you break the contract  Other stuff and legal jargon…PS: You Still Own the Copyright!!
  19. 19. Software Licensing Spectrum PROPRIETARYNOT OSS TRADITIONAL OSS SOFTWARE Weakly Strongly Closed Public Domain Permissive Protective Protective SourceWhat Isn’t OSS?Public Domain: Closed Source• Free of all Restrictions • Many Specific ©• © Given to Public at Large restrictions• Use for Any Purpose • Privately Owned/Licensed• No License Required!
  20. 20. Where OSS Licenses Fit In: Weakly Strongly Permissive Protective ProtectivePermissive: Weakly Protective: Strongly Protective:• All © rights • Hybrid © Protection • Many © restrictions Granted to on bundling rights Licensee • Open Components (Software Libraries) • “Share and Share• Software may can be used by Alike” ideology become proprietary software proprietary • Components Can’t • “Copyleft”• Attribution Req’d turn proprietaryEx: MIT License Ex: LGPL Ex: GPLv3
  21. 21. WHAT IS:Copyleft? Not an IP Type…  LICENSING STRUCTURE! Requires Others to Grant: SAME BUNDLE OF RIGHTS Keeps Source Free!(“as in speech, not as in free beer”)
  22. 22. Famous Copyleft License: GNU GPLv3 Unlimited Copies Unlimited Distribution Charging for Software is OK!  But be up-front with the GPL! Unlimited Modifications  But anything that uses this code must also be released under the GPL
  23. 23. Choosing the Right LicenseMany Pre-Made Licenses Approved by OSI  Varying Degrees of Permissions  Varying Degrees of Communities  Cheaper/Safer Legally  Promotes CompatibilityList of Licenses HERE:http://opensource.org/licenses
  24. 24. A Word of Caution!Not all LicensesPlay Well Together! Combining Licenses could be potentially LETHAL to IP! Be sure to READ ALL LICENSES… Consult a lawyer to make sure things don’t go bad
  25. 25. MYTH #2:YOU WILL NEVERGET FUNDED!!!!!
  26. 26. TRUTH: Traditional Funding = HARDAngel Investors/Seed Funding/Incubators:  Go For Equity “piece of the pie”  Love “Clean IP”  Scared of Taking Major Risks
  27. 27. Closed-Source License:Accountable!Enforceable!Straight-Forward!“SAFE” INVESTMENT CHOICE
  28. 28. OSS LICENSESOSS Licenses are Enforceable BUT: Ownership? Control? Accountability? Attribution? License Compatibility?“RISKY” INVESTMENT CHOICE
  29. 29. Solution?Look For Different Funding Sources  Crowdsourcing Kickstarter: www.kickstarter.com Freedom Sponsors: http://www.freedomsponsors.org/  Donations Gittip: https://www.gittip.com/  OSS Friendly Organizations/Incubators Apache Software Foundation: http://www.apache.org/
  30. 30. MYTH #3:YOU WILL NEVER MAKEMONEY WITH OPENSOURCE SOFTWARE!!!!!
  31. 31. Remember This? PROPRIETARY NOT OSS TRADITIONAL OSS SOFTWARE Weakly Strongly ClosedPublic Domain Permissive Protective Protective Source
  32. 32. Truth:“Free” Code ≠ No Revenue All Licenses let you sell the software you make Some Licenses let you turn it into proprietary software!(Permissive, some Weakly Protective) There are other ways to make money with OSS
  33. 33. Solution?:THINK OUTSIDE THE BOXChange Your Business Model!  Let the software be secondaryOffer Support & Warranties  Red Hat, Novell, MozillaCreate Premium Add-Ons  Wordpress
  34. 34. TAKEAWAYS!Do: Talk to a Lawyer Familiar With IP & OSS Licensing! Account for All Code! Read All Licenses! Think Outside the Box! Always Place Licenses on Your Work!
  35. 35. TAKEAWAYS!DON’T: Use Code You Can’t Account For! Combine Licenses Carelessly! Tryto Pass Off OSS as Proprietary Software Get Discouraged!!!!!
  36. 36. Thanks! QUESTIONS?Contact Me!! meg@elliott-davis.com PittsburghCyberlaw.com pghcyberlaw.tumblr.com @pghcyberlaw facebook.com/pghcyberlaw PghCyberlaw

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