Law Review Helps to Keep Your Practices on the FOSS Fairway

by Ostatic Staff - Feb. 08, 2013

Not only are open source applications and platforms continuing to raise their profiles, but many businesses now use open source components without even knowing that they are doing so. All of which means that it is more important than ever to know your way around the world of laws and licenses that pertain to open source software. Leaders of new projects need to know how to navigate the complex world of licensing and the law, as do IT administrators.

We've done many posts that collect resources on open source, licenes and the law, such as this one.  But did you know that there is an official, free journal dedicated to these topics? It's the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review, and it's worth looking into.

Among topics covered by this journal, you'll find content related to copyright, license implementation, license interpretation, software patents, open standards, case law and statutory changes. Here are just a few recent articles, and you can get all articles from the site in either PDF or HTML format:

Open licensing and databases

The GPL “Liberty or Death!” Clause: An Israeli Case Study

The Gift that Keeps on Giving – Distribution and Copyleft in Open Source Software License

Towards a Functional Licence for Open Hardware

You can also find book reviews and much more on the site.  Archives are available here.

 As we noted in this post, the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) also has a set of very good resources on open source licensing and legal topics, as well as advice on copyrights. Legal issues are smart to anticipate up front. The SFLC authors are attorneys who were part of creating popular open source licenses. On the same front, SOS Open Source has valuable resources for evaluating the risk of open source projects, especially any possible legal risks.