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Open source software licenses

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Apache or GPL? MIT or BSD? These are just some of the licenses that attach to open source software. Do you know the important distinctions between them?

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Open source software licenses

  1. 1. Open Source Software Licenses Risks and Best Practices
  2. 2. Student Lawyers: Brian Keil, Matt Klahre, Stanford Ponson, & Angie Yannaris Director: Steve Rosard
  3. 3. Overview ● Copyright Principles ● Open Source Software ● Most widely-used Open Source Licenses ● Panel Discussion – Best Practices for using OSS
  4. 4. The Software Developer’s Property Property is not the thing itself but the “rights among people concerning things” A Software Developer’s property is known as Intellectual Property. 3 Main Types: 1. Patents 2. Trademarks 3. Copyrights
  5. 5. Software Ownership Software ownership refers to copyrights. - Apple Computer, Inc. v. Franklin Computer Corp. (3d Cir. 1983). Copyrights are vested in the author of a work (code) at the moment of “fixation” - The author of a software is the writer of the code (programmer or developer). - Registration is not necessary but encouraged.
  6. 6. What Are A Programmer’s Copyrights? The authors of code enjoy the rights to: 1. Reproduce (copy) 2. Distribute 3. Prepare derivative works (modify) 4. Publically display These rights are divisible!
  7. 7. Open Source Software (OSS) Defined Open Source Software actually describes a type of license. - NOT part of the Public Domain “Open” = A license to any person who wants to use the code, i.e. open to the public “Source” = The SOURCE CODE is licensed
  8. 8. OSS Licenses vs. Non-Open Source Licenses OSS Licenses - Public license. - Rights to use, modify, distribute and copy. - Source code is provided and covered by license - Does not terminate Non-Open Source Licenses - Particular to one licensee. - No right to modify. - New or improved versions belong to the owner. - Source code is not provided to the licensee. - May be durational.
  9. 9. The Government Adopts OSS 2003 DoD Report: OSS importance in 4 areas: 1. Infrastructure support 2. Software Development 3. Security 4. Research OSS actually increases, not decreases, cybersecurity! 2013 - White House signed executive order mandating all government information be open and machine readable.
  10. 10. Copyleft vs. Copyright “Copyleft” is a general method / philosophy for making a program free, and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well. OSS is protected by copyright, but those rights are limited or restricted by the terms of the OSS license – making the software “copyleft”.
  11. 11. PERMISSIVE “WEAK COPYLEFT” “COPYLEFT” BSD MIT APACHE LGPL ECLIPSE MOZILLA GPL 2.0 GPL 3.0
  12. 12. Permissive Licenses Few restrictions No requirement to give downstream users a source code copy of modified code Permits commercial exploitation of the software Common Licenses: ● Berkeley Software Distribution License (BSD) ● MIT License ● Apache 2.0
  13. 13. “Copyleft” Licenses Four “Essential Freedoms” of Copyleft Licenses Licensees must grant downstream users the same privileges and accessibility of the licensee’s derivative works under the same terms of the license. Licensee must [should?] publish and make available the source code for any derivative works. Common Licenses: ● GPL 2.0 ● GPL 3.0
  14. 14. Licensee may include / link unmodified code in a greater work without being required to license the entirety of the new work under the open source license. Common Licenses: ● Mozilla Public License ● Eclipse Public License ● Lesser General Public Public License (LGPL) “Weak Copyleft” Licenses
  15. 15. PERMISSIVE “WEAK COPYLEFT” “COPYLEFT” Do anything! Share nothing! Dynamic linking only. Any linking or modification is considered a “derivative”. Must make code available to downstream users / OSS community.
  16. 16. Panel Discussion –- OSS Best Practices Joseph Holovachuk, Pepper Hamilton Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg, Zivtech Fred Wilf, Wilftek
  17. 17. Risk Assessment Overview Likelihood Impact
  18. 18. Risk Assessment Overview Likelihood Impact Legal Risks: - Being sued - Injunctions - Contract or Copyright Damages - Open up your code
  19. 19. Risk Assessment Overview Likelihood Impact Legal Risks: - Being sued - Injunctions - Contract or Copyright Damages - Open up your code Commercial Risks: - PR Issues - Reduced Value - Failed Investments
  20. 20. Risk Assessment Overview Likelihood Impact Legal Risks: - Being sued - Injunctions - Contract or Copyright Damages - Open up your code Commercial Risks: - PR Issues - Reduced Value - Failed Investments
  21. 21. Panel Discussion —- OSS Best Practices ● How do we comply with an OSS license? ● Should we establish an OSS policy? ● How do we prevent non-OSS from being “infected” by a GPL license? ● We’re being acquired in an M&A deal. What can we expect? ● How do we deal with distribution in a world of cloud computing and SaaS? ● Should we make all of our code open source?
  22. 22. Thank You! Visit our website to view these slides and the handout, and apply to be a client at drexel.edu/law/ELC
  23. 23. 2016.phillytechweek.com Please complete a survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/ptw16attendee

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