legal - Page number 2

Younger developers reject licensing, risk chance for reform

copyright in the dark

Modern copyright law grants copyright automatically to any creative work, including simple things like blog posts – and small pieces of code on github. This default copyright creates an assumption that for someone to do anything further with someone else's creative work requires permission from the author—what Lawrence Lessig calls "the permission culture." The open license ecosystem often takes this permission culture for granted, rather than fighting back—and that may be contributing to the proliferation of unlicensed code.

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Which open source software license should I use?

MPL GPL APACHE

I’ve recently been involved in several discussions that are variations on, "Which open source or free software license should I choose for my project?" Here is my way of looking at the large and growing collection of licenses in the wild. First, let's make sure we all understand that I Am Not A Lawyer. This is not legal advice. Depending upon your needs and your comfort with risk around your software, you'll want to confirm your legal choices with counsel in your jurisdiction.

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Why some governments are struggling with open source implementation

Tug of war

Observing the open source public policy landscape over the past several months, one couldn’t be blamed for feeling optimistic. Government after government, it seemed, was stepping up and laying the ground work for public-sector adoption and private-sector growth of open standards and open source software (see articles on France, the UK, Portugal, and the US). Even the Vice President of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, gave a full-throated endorsement of open source in late December.

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Top 10 FOSS issues of 2012

foss lawyers

The year 2012 had many important FOSS legal developments which reflects the continued increase in FOSS use. FOSS projects have increased from 600,000 in 2010 to 900,000 by December 2012. In addition, a Dr. Dobbs' survey in the third quarter of 2012 stated that more than 90% of developers are using FOSS in two of the most rapidly growing areas, cloud computing and mobile computing.

Continuing the tradition of looking back over the top ten legal developments in FOSS, my selection of the top ten issues for 2012 are as follows.

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Abolishing patents: Too soon or too late?

patent stop sign

"Patents are here to stay." This is the sort of statement that makes me uneasy. I guess in the 17th century the common wisdom was "slavery is here to stay." In the 18th century giving voting rights to women seemed absurd and foreseeing open borders between France and German was crazy talk in 1945. At a certain point, fortunately, those things changed for the better. Is it time to change the common wisdom on patents as well? Is the time ripe—will it ever be?—to utter the frightening word abolition? I do not have the privilege to know the answer, but I regard the question as a legitimate one. According to some patent experts, however, questioning the very existence of patents seems blasphemous. » Read more

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Should software patents be abolished?

patent struggle

We talk a lot about what might be done to fix the problems of software patents, but not much about abolishing them. Abolition seems well-nigh impossible, given current economic and political realities. Serious economists and respected financial institutions don’t usually discuss it publicly. Thus, I was surprised when I finally got around to reading a recent working paper published last month under the auspices of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis that argued broadly for patent abolition position.

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How federal agencies can implement and benefit from transparency

How federal agencies can implement and benefit from transparency

The publication, Guide to Owning Transparency: How Federal Agencies Can Implement and Benefit from Transparency, was released earlier this month and is the result of an extended collaboration. The guide was sponsored by the US Office of Personnel Management (formerly the US Civil Service Commission)—which is the "human resources" agency for the US Government.

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