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Court Decision Means Open Source Licenses Are legally Enforceable

Open Source may to be synonymous with "free as in free beer" but it doesn't mean that one can do what ever they want with the code and go unpunished.

A ruling in an American court set the record straight and could have a long lasting impact on how software developers should view code release under the Open Source license.

The court decision means that developers can now sue culprits for copyright infringement rather than a breach of contract which means that the penalties could be much higher.

The irony of course is that copyright laws could be used to protect the rights of Copyleft movement.

The court case was brought forth against, Matthew Katzer who was accused of developing a for-profit software without the appropriate attribution.

The court document underlined the fact that "Copyright holders who engage in open source licensing have the right to control the modification and distribution of copyrighted materials".

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.