“OSS is software whose author dedicates it to the public, for free use and adaptation or enhancement. But it is not that simple. OSS originators are free to set forth certain contractual limitations on this free use and adaptation by including or invoking a license that is made effective by the end user’s choice to use or modify the code,” he states.
According to Ragusa, at the center of the OSS movement is the Free Software Foundation (“FSF”), which was founded by Richard Stallman, a computer programmer. “The FSF is a sponsor of the GNU General Public License (“GPL”), a popular OSS license that governs use of the Linux operating system,” Ragusa writes. “The American Law Institute (“ALI”) recently weighed in on OSS by approving the final draft of its Principles of the Law of Software Contracts (“Principles”).
“Limitations in OSS-related agreements have led to disputes, litigation, and proposed changes in the law. This article discusses some of these concerns, including new concerns raised by the Principles, and suggests some best practices for those evaluating possible risks and rewards from the use or improvement of OSS software content.”
The complete article is available here.
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