It’s a big day for open source software as a U.S. District Appeals
Court ruled that just because a developer gave code away for free
doesn’t mean it’s not copyright protected.
The win, which stemmed from a railroad hobbyist spat, was praised by Stanford’s Lawrence Lessig. The details can be found in the court ruling and all the analysis on Techmeme,
but what you really need to know is that the ruling makes open source
licensing legit. Copyright concerns have been a big overhang for
enterprises. I’m no lawyer, but it sounds like this ruling is
essentially an all clear bell for enterprises that rely on free
software. If you have open source systems you may want to hook up with
your corporate counsel/licensing guru to determine what it means to you.