Open Source Licences Are Legally Enforceable

The legal power of open source licencing has won a major victory, upheld by the United States Court of Appeals. I hope you will read the whole thing over at InformationWeek, but the following quote is particularly interesting:

The lower court ultimately ruled that Jacobsen could not sue Katzer and Kamind Associates for copyright violation because the Artistic License is “intentionally broad.”  The appeals court dismissed that argument in its ruling, and said that open source software developers have the right to dictate the terms under which their products can be used or modified (bolded emphasis is mine).

That’s right, folks. The person who wrote the software has the right to decide. Other takes on this story, for those who are interested, include Groklaw, ZDNet, and the BBC News.

There are plenty more sources out there, but this gives you a sampling of what will inevitably represent a major sea change in how open source and open source licensing is viewed.

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