• International Free and Open Source Software Law Review

Editorial Committee of IFOSSLR
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The International Free and Open Source Software Law Review (IFOSS L. Rev.) is a collaborative legal publication aiming to increase knowledge and understanding among lawyers about Free and Open Source Software issues. Topics covered include copyright, licence implementation, licence interpretation, software patents, open standards, case law and statutory changes.

Latest documents

  • GPL-3.0 in the Chinese Intellectual Property Court in Beijing

    With the increasing use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in the world, the licensing issues and disputes regarding such licenses have been litigated in various jurisdictions. In the past, these lawsuits were concentrated in Europe and the United States, but less so in the Asia Pacific region. However, in 2018, the specialized Intellectual Property Right Court in Beijing, China, acting as a court of first instance, issued a decision in a software copyright infringement lawsuit related to FOSS. The defendant chose to invoke the copyleft mechanism in the GNU General Public License 3.0 (GPL-3.0) license as a defense against claims of copyright infringement. Although the court did not directly interpret the GPL license at this stage, the decision strongly implies that the GPL and the ...

  • Whither (Not Wither) Copyleft

    This article contains an edited version of Professor Eben Moglen’s speech at the SFLC Fall Conference 2016. It explores the topic of Copyleft, enforcement and community engagement from the perspective of one of the key individuals in the rise of Free and Open Source Software from interesting idea to a central pillar of the global technology industry.

  • The FOSSology Project: 10 Years Of License Scanning

    FOSSology is an open source project developing a Web server application and a toolkit for open source license compliance. As a toolkit it allows performing license copyright and export control scans from the command line. The FOSSology Web application provides a database and Web UI for implementing a compliance workfow. The FOSSology project published the frst version of its software in December 2007. Given this ten year anniversary of license scanning this article presents the motivation for building and using FOSSology its history and its status as of today. Because SPDX represents the de facto standard for exchanging license and copyright information about software packages an introduction to FOSSology’s support for exporting and importing SPDX documents is also presented.

  • Making Sense Of Git In A Legal Context

    The Git revision control system does not enforce correctness of data but instead is reliant on correct inputs for correct outcomes. Git records potential authorship rather than copyright ownership and this means that an additional process layer is needed to ensure fdelity and accuracy of data. The core implication is that the "git blame" tool does not show potential authorship with enough granularity to allow users make clear decisions, and additional review is required to determine potential authors of code contained in any Git repository.

  • Bitcoin: an open source currency and more

    The emergence of a cryptocurrency in the digital domain went unnoticed for years until the general press started to cover Bitcoin's more than tenfold raise in price in the space of a few months in 2017. Earlier on, technical and legal discussion revolved around one of its fundamental building blocks, but Bitcoin is more than the blockchain or an investment object. It is a revolutionary open source artefact that is bound to change the way we consider currency, as well as a proof-ofconcept for how parts of international trade could disfranchise banks and other institutions as payment service providers.

  • The Bid by OpenChain to Transform The Supply Chain

    OpenChain aims to increase open source compliance in the supply chain. This issue, which many initially dismiss as a legal concern or as low priority, is inherently tied to ensuring that open source is as useful as possible with as little friction as possible. In a nutshell, because open source is about the use of third party code, compliance is the nexus of where equality of access, safety of use and reduction of risk can be found. OpenChain is built to increase trust between organizations to accomplish this.

  • Software, copyright and the learning environment: an analysis of the IT contracts Swedish schools impose on their students and the implications for FOSS

    Free and open source software (FOSS) is commonly made available to students in schools, but the schools do not necessarily take a holistic approach to their provision of IT (including software) which takes into account the nature of FOSS. In particular, we have identified a number of contracts with which Swedish students who are provided with laptops by their schools are required to comply which set out conditions for the use of the laptops, and associated software and content. Many clauses in these contracts are legally incompatible with certain FOSS licences, or contain misconceptions about FOSS, licensing and culture. This paper explores the relationship between the contracts and FOSS licensing and culture, and suggests a number of resolutions to the contradictions and misconceptions...

  • Twenty-five years of school? Analysis of Free and Open Source software license texts

    The licenses of Free and Open Source Software are expected to be read and understood by all software users. Analysis of these texts shows that it is not an easily achievable goal.

  • The Constitutional Accountability for Open Standards

    This article summarises a doctoral dissertation at the Faculty of Law at the University of Hamburg, Germany. The thesis has been published 2015 as part of a publication series of the Hans-Bredow-Institut, Hamburg, with NOMOS Publishing House, Baden-Baden. The dissertation herein summarised provides a concrete legal substantiation of an accountability of the State to enact a regulatory framework which ensures vendor-independent data formats in the private market (below chapter VI-VII). As a result, this work offers the necessary objective, perspective, regulatory means and the avoidance of complex evidential problems to legally ensure interoperability in the market of telematics. In order to derive these results the economic, social and technical background as well as the actual existing...

  • Seven Notable Legal Developments In Open Source In 2016

    Several noteworthy open source-related legal developments took place in 2016. These concerned the fair use trial in Oracle v. Google, the reaction to the GPL enforcement lawsuits of Patrick McHardy, the dismissal of the Hellwig case, the U.S. Federal Source Code Policy, the end of Eben Moglen's tenure as Free Software Foundation general counsel, the distribution of ZFS by Linux distributions, and the banning of the JSON license by the Apache Software Foundation.

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