The Open Source Alternative: Understanding Risks and Leveraging Opportunities

Overview

The law of open source is complex and constantly changing. Some legal issues related to it are thorny and undecided. Those called upon to make decisions about open source have found little information to guide them in traditional legal materials ... until now. Author Heather Meeker-voted one of the top thirty intellectual property lawyers in California-brings her ten years of extensive involvement in open source legal issues to bear in The Open Source Alternative-a practical resource to help you implement open ...
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The Open Source Alternative: Understanding Risks and Leveraging Opportunities

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Overview

The law of open source is complex and constantly changing. Some legal issues related to it are thorny and undecided. Those called upon to make decisions about open source have found little information to guide them in traditional legal materials ... until now. Author Heather Meeker-voted one of the top thirty intellectual property lawyers in California-brings her ten years of extensive involvement in open source legal issues to bear in The Open Source Alternative-a practical resource to help you implement open source intelligently, without compromising the value of your intellectual property or stepping into a potential lawsuit.

Written in plain English for both lawyers and professionals, The Open Source Alternative provides an accessible discussion of the different licensing strategies to consider with open source. This invaluable reference tool for CIOs, CFOs, IT managers, auditors, and attorneys, as well as all interested professionals, provides you with the background and tools you need to understand this area of law and develop your own conclusions and best practices. Divided into two parts-leveraging opportunities and understanding risks-the book explores: the rules of the road for use of open source in proprietary products, assessing legal risk of using open source, how to understand and leverage patents and trademarks in the open source landscape, and developing policies for use of open source in your business.

Formulating best practices in open source development requires familiarity with a complex set of facts and industry practices, as well as the political, business, and legal principles behind them. The Open Source Alternative is a must-read for any professional whoneeds to stay on top of this rapidly changing field.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470194959
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/8/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 285
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Heather J. Meeker is a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, LLP, one of the largest law firms in the United States. Heather has provided open source counseling to clients ranging from technology startups using open source in product development, to public technology companies conducting open source code releases, to venture capitalists assessing new business models in the software industry. She also serves as an adjunct professor at the U.C. Berkeley School of Law, is a member of the American Law Institute, and in 2005, was selected by the Daily Journal as one of the top thirty intellectual property lawyers in California.

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Table of Contents

Preface     ix
Leveraging Opportunities     1
Introduction: How UNIX Gave Birth to Linux, and a New Software Paradigm     3
In the Beginning Was the Word, and the Word Was UNIX     3
Along Comes Linux     6
Now, What Is Open Source?     7
And This Is Just the Beginning     9
Free Software and Open Source     11
Viruses and Freedoms     11
Philosophy of Free Software     13
Open Source Initiative     18
Mozilla Foundation     18
Linus Torvalds     19
Definitions: Free Software and Open Source     21
What's in a Name? The Viral and the Nonviral     22
Open Source Development Model     25
Common Open Source Licenses and Their Structure     27
Direct Licensing     29
GPL     29
GPL + Exception (or Special Exception)     39
GPL + FLOSS Exception     40
LGPL     40
Corporate Hereditary Software Licenses     41
Other Hereditary Software Licenses     43
Permissive Licenses     43
Apache 1.0     46
Apache 1.1     46
Apache 2.0     46
Artistic License     46
Miscellaneous Licenses     47
Non-Software Licenses     49
Due Diligence, License Proliferation, and Compatibility     53
What Is the Problem with Combining Software?     53
What Is Due Diligence?     54
License Conditions and Diligence Problems     57
License Compatibility     59
Choices in an Incompatible World     62
An Embarrassment of Riches?     66
Reusability     69
Audits and Compliance Initiatives     71
Provenance and Objective Checking     72
Applying Policy and Legal Review     74
Some Nuts and Bolts     76
Notice Requirements     83
Patents and Open Source     89
Patent Debate     89
Patent Portfolio Management     98
Trademarks and Open Source     109
Trademark Law and Open Source Licensing     109
Trademarks in the Open Source World     111
AT&T UNIX Battle     112
Open Source and Open Standards     115
Developing a Corporate Open Source Policy     119
Open Source Corporate Policy     123
Open Source Code Releases      135
Choosing a License     136
Effect on Patent Portfolio     139
Effect on Trademarks     140
Open Source Business Models     142
Dual Licensing     143
"Ur-Licensor" and Open Source Decision Models     146
Contribution Agreements     146
Reissuing Code     150
Corporate Organization     150
Open Source Trademark Policy     153
Understanding Risks     159
Technical Background: Operating System Kernels, User Space, and Elements of Programming     161
What Is the difference Between an Application and an Operating System?     163
What Is an Operating System Kernel?     164
What Is an Application?     165
Dynamic and Static Linking, and Inline Code     166
Header Files     169
Monoliths and Loadable Kernel Modules     170
Enforcement of Open Source Licenses     171
Past Enforcement     171
Enforcement Obstacles     176
Lack of Track Record: GPL Has Never Been Tested in Court     176
Waiver/Estoppel: Occasional and Selective Enforcement of GPL Means It Is Unenforceable     177
Formation: GPL Is Not Validly Accepted by Licensees      177
GPL Constitutes Copyright Misuse     178
Joint Work Arguments     179
Standing and Joinder Arguments     180
The Border Dispute of GPL2     183
Defining the Border Dispute     183
What the GPL Says     184
Rules of Contract Construction     186
Applying the Four Corners Rule to GPL2     188
Applying the Rules of Contract Construction of GPL2     190
Trade Usage and Other Extrinsic Evidence     191
Derivative Works Question     192
The Facts     195
Legal Rules     196
Analyzing the Case of Two Works     200
Is the Result One or Two Works?     205
Policy Arguments     206
Non-U.S. Law Interpretations     207
Approach of Legal Realism     208
Outside the Four Corners     209
Loadable Kernel Modules     212
The Hardest Cases     216
LGPL Compliance     217
License or Contract?     223
Contract Formation     223
Arguments Supporting Formation     225
Implications of Absence of Contract Formation     226
Incentives for Formation Arguments     229
Defining Distribution     233
Open Source in Mergers and Acquisitions and Other Transactions     237
Open Source in Licensing and Commercial Transactions     241
Development Agreements     242
GPL Version 3.0     245
What Is the Effect of the Release of GPL3?     245
Adoption of GPL3     247
Politics and Context     248
"Derivative Works" Problem     251
"Propagation" and "Conveying"     252
Patents     252
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Provisions     255
"Java Problem"     257
Disabling and Obfuscation     257
ASP Problem     258
License Compatibility     259
LGPL Version 3.0     261
New Approach for LGPL     261
Adoption of LGPL3     261
Politics and Context     262
Definitions     262
Compliance     262
Drawbacks     264
Open Source Development Agreement     265
Glossary     277
Index     283
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