Open Source Software is Protected by Copyright

A US Appeals Court has ruled that use of open-source software that contravened licence terms under which the software was distributed was copyright infringement rather than merely a breach of contract, rejecting the argument that because the software was distributed free of charge, the owner had no economic rights to enforce. The Court has stated that open-source licensing brought other economic benefits to the copyright owner even where no royalty was charged. This is an important ruling since it is the first clear US appellate decision that open-source licence restrictions are generally enforceable and that normal copyright rules apply to such licences.

Case: Jacobsen v (1) Katzer and (2) Kamind Associates Inc., 13 August 2008.

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property, News, Opinion

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