Creative Commons unveils new 4.0 licenses

creative commons licenses

Creative Commons proudly introduces our 4.0 licenses, now available for adoption worldwide. The 4.0 licenses—more than two years in the making—are the most global, legally robust licenses produced by CC to date. Dozens of improvements have been incorporated that make sharing and reusing CC-licensed materials easier and more dependable than ever before. » Read more

0 Comments

The intersection of law and software explained on the JBoss Asylum podcast

Tell me more

I recently had the honor of being a guest on the JBoss Asylum podcast, hosted by Red Hat's Emmanuel Bernard and Max Rydahl Andersen. We discussed various topics at the intersection of law and software (particularly in relation to open source), including the » Read more

0 Comments

Teach kids about copyright: a list of resources from Creative Commons

Lessons in copyright

Open curriculum alternatives to MPAA’s new anti-piracy campaign for kids.

It has come to our attention that the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and top internet service providers are drafting curriculum to teach kids in California elementary schools that copying is wrong, or as the headline on Wired.com reads: "Downloading is Mean!" » Read more

6 Comments

Expanding the 'Covered Business Method' program: Sensible patent reform ... and why opponents have it wrong

hazy shade of value

Before the summer Congressional recess, a broad coalition of job-creating businesses added their voices to the pro-reform chorus with a ringing letter to Congress urging that expansion of the Covered Business Method (CBM) program be a cornerstone of any patent reform legislation being considered. 

The CBM program provides an innovative, carefully tailored means to address a particularly heinous abuse: manipulating the patent litigation system through aggressive use of unclear and overly broad business method patents by patent aggression entities (PAEs). It is currently limited to business method patents involving financial service products.

» Read more

3 Comments

choosealicense.com and GitHub's license picker

choose an open source license

In a previous article, I discussed the complaints that have been leveled against GitHub during the past year and a half concerning the purported problem of public, seemingly-FLOSS code repositories with no explicit licensing. Here I will address the actions GitHub took in July, which were undoubtedly in response to this criticism.

» Read more

3 Comments

The role of software patents in the patent reform debate

Software patent reform

Momentum seems to be building in Congress to tackle patent reform. From an open source perspective, any reform that reduces the risk and expense of patent lawsuits is surely a good thing. But the reforms under current discussion so far have largely been focused on the problem of NPEs (non-practicing entities) and have not directly addressed the problem of software patents. Are the two issues best viewed as one? So argues Boston University Professor James Bessen in his recent piece, The patent troll crisis is really a software patent crisis.

» Read more

3 Comments

New report: What the Government Accountability Office has to say about Non-Practicing Entities

patent reform

During the August Congressional recess, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its long-awaited study on Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs), required under the America Invents Act (AIA).

The report paints a rather grim picture of the current patent system. It reinforces the call by key leaders in Congress for legislative reforms that address abusive patent litigation as well as action by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the courts, and the US PTO.

» Read more

5 Comments

FSFE opposes claim that free software harms consumers

balancing free software

Microsoft and Nokia protest "price predation" and play at being prey.


Does no-cost software harm consumers? The FairSearch coalition thinks so, at least when it comes to Google: They say Google engages in predatory pricing when it distributes Android – a Linux-based mobile operating system – without charge. Recently, FSFE (Free Software Foundation Europe) responded in a letter to the European Commission, labeling as "wrong" and "dangerous" FairSearch’s claims, and saying further: » Read more

8 Comments

Post open source software, licensing and GitHub

SHARE

Few would deny that the rise of GitHub as a popular hosting service for software projects is one of the most significant developments to affect open source during the past five years. GitHub's extraordinary success is necessary context for understanding the criticism leveled at it during the past year from some within or close to the open source world. This criticism has focused on licensing, or rather the lack of it: it is claimed that GitHub hosts an enormous amount of code with no explicit software license. Some critics have suggested that this situation results from a combination of the ignorance of younger developers about legal matters and willful inaction by GitHub's management. In a followup article I will discuss the measures recently taken by GitHub to address these concerns; this article explores aspects of the complaint itself. » Read more

5 Comments

What motivates free software developers to choose between copyleft and permissive licences?

open source licensing

Free software licenses can be divided into two broad categories: copyleft licenses (like the GPL), which require derivatives of the software to be licensed under the same terms; and permissive licenses (like the MIT/X11 license), which allow the software to be reused in any project, even closed-source projects. There are variations, of course—the LGPL, for example, is a 'weak copyleft', allowing licensed works to be used in closed-source works, but requiring improvements to the work itself to be released under a copyleft license.

» Read more

8 Comments