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Don't Screw Up Your Licensing

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Introduction to the legal aspects and pitfalls of open source and software licensing in general, with a walkthrough (and code snippets) of how to successfully apply a license to an open source project.

Published in: Law
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Don't Screw Up Your Licensing

  1. 1. Silicon Valley Code Camp October 12, 2014 Don’t Screw Up Your Licensing Ansel Halliburton" ansel@halliburtonlegal.com @anseljh https://halliburtonlegal.com/
  2. 2. Who am I? 2 Lawyer" • Starting startups • Keeping startups out of hot water • Defending patent troll cases • Suing bad guys ! Hacker" • Since age 10 • Lex Machina • Mechanical Turk module for Boto (AWS for Python) • Raspberry Pi & Arduino robot Writer" • TechCrunch contributor • legal tech • startup law • smartphone patent wars • computer crime • Paper on Somali maritime piracy Daddy" ! ! ! ! ! !
  3. 3. Disclaimers! 1 2 IANAL IAAL but IANYL 3 This is general information for educational purposes. It might not be right for you! Talk to a lawyer for advice about your own specific situation.
  4. 4. What is open source? • The Open Source Definition by the Open Source Initiative: 10 paragraphs • The Free Software Definition by the Free Software Foundation: 4 pages 4
  5. 5. What is open source? 5 Open source Public domain Free software FOSS FLOSS GPL BSD ???
  6. 6. What is open source? “Open source software is software that can be freely used, changed, and shared (in modified or unmodified form) by anyone.” • Free of charge • Published source code • Varying restrictions on commercial use 6
  7. 7. Intellectual Property Kind Protects Laws 7 Patent Technological inventions Federal Copyright Expression Federal Trademark Signals of source Federal and State Trade Secrets Information that is valuable because it is secret State Open Source Proprietary
  8. 8. What is a license? 1. Contract 2. Allows use of IP (copyrighted source code) 3. Imposes conditions 8
  9. 9. License dimensions Notice Must include notice and a copy of the license with code Source code disclosure Must include a copy of your source code Sublicensing Can you grant downstream licenses? Copyleft You code must be under the same license Patent license Some give express patent license (GPLv2 is silent!) 9
  10. 10. Major open source licenses Notice Source Code Sublicense GPL Y Y N BSD Y N Y MIT Y N Y Apache Y N Y ChooseALicense.com by GitHub
  11. 11. MIT License 11
  12. 12. GPLv3 12 pages long! 12
  13. 13. GPLv3 § 5 13
  14. 14. GPLv3 § 8 14
  15. 15. Consequences of screwing up licensing • Lose control of your… • code • patents • trade secrets • company 15
  16. 16. How to screw up • Pick a bad license ( ) • Pick the wrong license for your project • Fail to attribute • Fail to give source code • Forget to get contributor assignments 16
  17. 17. Notable screw ups • BusyBox cases (GPL violations by embedded developers) • Linksys (GPL violation in routers) Free Software Foundation, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc. • Settlement: $ donations to FSF + open source compliance director • Versata (GPL violation in enterprise software) XimpleWare Corp. v. Versata Software, Inc. 17
  18. 18. How not to screw up 1. Pick the right license" 2. Give attribution 3. Give notice in source code 4. Include license 5. Contributor license agreement 18
  19. 19. ChooseALicense.com by GitHub
  20. 20. How not to screw up 1. Pick the right license 2. Give attribution" 3. Give notice in source code 4. Include license 5. Contributor license agreement 20
  21. 21. How NOT to screw up: attribution 21
  22. 22. How not to screw up 1. Pick the right license 2. Give attribution 3. Give notice in source code" 4. Include license 5. Contributor license agreement 22
  23. 23. License header (GPLv2) one line to give the program's name and an idea of what it does. Copyright (C) yyyy name of author ! This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. ! This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details. ! You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA. 23
  24. 24. License header (GPLv2) #!/usr/bin/env python ! # dont_screw_up.py - Demo program for Don't Screw Up Your License talk # Copyright (C) 2014 Ansel Halliburton # # This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or # modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License # as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 # of the License, or (at your option) any later version. # # This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, # but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of # MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the # GNU General Public License for more details. # # You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License # along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software # Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA. ! LICENSE_INTERACTIVE = """dont_screw_up.py, Copyright (C) 2014 Ansel Halliburton dont_screw_up.py comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type `show w'. This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions; type `show c' for details.""" ! if __name__ == '__main__': 24 print(LICENSE_INTERACTIVE) print("Now we'll do something useful.") print("Just kidding!")
  25. 25. How not to screw up 1. Pick the right license 2. Give attribution 3. Give notice in source code 4. Include license" 5. Contributor license agreement 25
  26. 26. 26
  27. 27. 27
  28. 28. How not to screw up 1. Pick the right license 2. Give attribution 3. Give notice in source code 4. Include license 5. Contributor license agreement 28
  29. 29. Contributor License Agreements (CLA) • Default copyright rule: every author owns his own contributions • 100 contributors —> 100 separate copyrights • CLA assigns contributors’ copyrights to the project (or project leader) 29
  30. 30. How to do CLAs • Make sure all committers sign a CLA! • The easy way: • get a CLA from Project Harmony. http://www.harmonyagreements.org • use CLAHub to integrate your CLA with a GitHub repo https://www.clahub.com/ 30
  31. 31. Get a CLA 31
  32. 32. Get a CLA … 32
  33. 33. Using CLAHub 33
  34. 34. Authorize CLAHub 34
  35. 35. Paste & markup CLA with Markdown 35
  36. 36. What contributors see 36
  37. 37. Contributors sign 37
  38. 38. Owner gets a nice CSV report 38
  39. 39. Add it to your repository 39
  40. 40. Bigtime compliance https://www.blackducksoftware.com/audits/open-source-audits https://www.blackducksoftware.com/products/black-duck-suite/protex/black-duck-code-label 40
  41. 41. Miscellaneous • Copyright exists by default • Copyright registration grants more remedies • Copyright lasts as long as Mickey Mouse needs it • Fair use is probably not what you think it is (and doesn’t exist outside the US) 41
  42. 42. How not to screw up 1. Pick the right license 2. Give attribution 3. Give notice in source code 4. Include license 5. Contributor license agreement 42
  43. 43. Q & A 43
  44. 44. Thanks! Ansel Halliburton" ansel@halliburtonlegal.com @anseljh https://halliburtonlegal.com 44

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