Open Source & Research

Report
Open Source & Research
Brought to you by:
Feb. 2005
Office of Technology Licensing
Office of the General Counsel
Stanford University
Jim DeGraw
Ray Zado
Ropes & Gray LLP
Fish & Neave IP Group
Goals
 Understand What Open Source Is
 Understand What Open Source Is Not
 Appreciate The Impact of the Open Source
Model
 Appreciate Your Responsibilities in Using
Open Source
 Appreciate the Impact of Releasing Open
Source Code
Debunking Urban Myths
 Open Source is just a way to publish -- No
 Open Source is Public Domain -- No
 Open Source is Viral – Not Necessarily
 Open Source is Immune from Patent Rights –
No
What Is Open Source?
 Open Source is a development model
Project lead
volunteer
volunteer
volunteer
volunteer
What is Open Source?
 Copyright Still Exists in Software
And the Open Source Development Model is
Premised on That
 Copyright is an intangible right – it exists
independent of the code
 Copyright Attaches On Creation of Original Code
 Copyright Notice and Registration Not Required
 Ownership Initially Vests in Authors or Institution

What is Open Source?
 By Distributing Code Under an Open Source Model,
the Owner is
 Not Dedicating the Code to Public Domain
 Is Attaching Strings to Recipient’s Use
What is Open Source?
 Open Source is a licensing distribution model too
 In many ways, just like commercial software
 You need to pay attention to restrictions and
obligations
 There are many kinds of Open Source licensing
models




GNU General Public License (“GPL”)
GNU Lesser General Public License (“LGPL”)
BSD, MIT, Apache
Mozilla, IBM, Apple, Sun
Common Open Source Models
 GNU General Public License (“GPL”)

Grants right to copy, modify and distribute

Requires that source code be made available to
future licensees

Generally Seen as “Viral”





Applies to separate works that are
combined with distributed code
Effect may depend on how code linked
Disclaims Warranties
May blow-up in face of patent assertion
Proprietary distribution models difficult
Common Open Source Models
 GNU Lesser General Public License (“LGPL”):

Similar to GPL

Somewhat easier for licensees to combine the LGPL
code with a separate program and distribute the
combination under separate licenses

Often used with Open Source Libraries that are
compiled into an application program
Common Open Source Models
 BSD/MIT/Apache Style License:






More permissive licenses
Generally allow freer distribution, modifying, and
license change; much like public domain software

No future open source requirement
May require attribution
Variants may include non-standard restrictions

E.g., no military use – but not OSI-compliant
Disclaims Warranties
Subject to third-party patent claims
Common Open Source Models
 Mozilla/IBM/Apple Style Licenses
 Combine facets of both the GPL and
BSD style licenses:




Distribution of original code (and for some,
modifications) include access to source code.
Not viral in reach.
Explicitly contemplate patent licenses.
Some provide backwards
indemnification.
Open Source Thoughts
 Some Practical Points
 Can I Open Source at Stanford?
 Can I Create Proprietary Code?
Some Differences
 Handling Modifications
 Changes to a code obtained under a BSD
style license may be licensed under any
combination of proprietary and open source
licenses.
 Changes to code obtained under a GPL,
LGPL or Mozilla style license generally may
not be licensed under a proprietary license.
Although the original creator may use a
proprietary model too.
 Patent Licensing

Potential Drawbacks
 Infringement Liability
Wrongful inclusion of third party code (e.g.,
SCO)
 Patents
 AS IS Code: No indemnification, Limited
Recourse
 Code Forking
 Service Business Models
 Data Sharing Business Models

Potential Drawbacks
 Inconsistent Third Party Obligations
 Detriment to Commercial Potential
What About Stanford Research?
 Can I Use Open Sourced Code?
 Can I Open Source My Research?
 Which Open Source License Should I Use?
 Can OTL License an Open Source Project?
Can You Use Available Open Source
Code?
 Why?
 Building on Earlier Open Source Effort?
 Neat Trick / Short Cut?
 Avoid Plagiarism
 Open Source Target?
 Any Existing Restrictions?
 Sponsoring Arrangements?
 PI Restrictions?
 Can You Trust Your Source?
 Can You Comply with OS License Restrictions?
 Can You Manage the Code?
Can I Open Source My Research?

Why?


Have You Considered Publishing as an
Alternative?
Who Has Rights In It?

Stanford?
 See Stanford Copyright Policy (RPH 5.2)

Third Parties?
 Code
 Sponsors


Colleagues?
Faculty / PI?
Can I Open Source My Research?

Do You Need Approvals?




Faculty / PI
Dean of Research
Conflict of Interest Considerations
What Are You Open Sourcing?

No Third Party Code Unless Open Source /
Public Domain
Open Source Options
 There is no Stanford form Open Source
License
 OTL Takes No Position on the Alternatives
 Considerations:



Look to the Existing Development Model
Confer and be Consistent with Colleagues
Review Goals and Reasons for Open
Sourcing

And select a licensing model that fits it
Additional Resources
 www.opensource.org

General open source tools and licenses
 http://creativecommons.org

Q&A for reviewing models
 www.gnu.org

All things GPL
 http://otl.stanford.edu
Thanks!
Jim DeGraw
Ropes & Gray LLP
+617-951-7539
[email protected]
Ray Zado
Ropes & Gray LLP
+650-617-4068
[email protected]

similar documents