American Bar Association: The Impact of Recent Case Law on Copyleft Agreements

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By R. Scott Rhoades and Jon Rastegar – September 20, 2011

Open-source software is one of the fastest-growing areas in the software industry. In the past decade, both the number of open-source projects and the total lines of open-source code have grown exponentially. Amit Deshpande & Dirk Riehle, “The Total Growth of Open Source,” In Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Open Source Systems (OSS 2008). In addition, the number of corporations employing open-source software has grown dramatically. A recent survey found that 85 percent of companies employ open-source software in their business. David Meyer, Gartner: 85 Percent of Companies Using Open Source, cnet. This rapid growth led the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals to note that “open-source licensing has become a widely used method of creative collaboration that serves to advance the arts and sciences in a manner and at a pace that few could have imagined just a few decades ago.” Jacobsen v. Katzer, 535 F.3d 1373, 1378 (Fed. Cir. 2008). This ......

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