2016-04-24 09:30-2016-04-24 10:30

Experience level


Session Track

Legal and Licensing

Help! Which Software License Should I Pick?

Open Source and Free Software has become a mainstay of the technology industry, but, in nearly every country on the planet, software is still "born proprietary".  When an author begins writing software, the primary legal regime that controls the work, copyright, typically declares the work non-free by default — until the author makes an affirmative decision to liberate that software.

     At that moment, the software's author enters a confusing array of options and choices.  Specifically, the author must pick a copyright license for this new work.  Should the author pick a copyleft or non-copyleft license?  Is the author concerned about patents, antherefore needs a Free Software license with a patent clause?  Is there an existing community of contributors expecting a particular license choice?  Does the corporate authority that governs the software project mandate a contributor licensing agreement (CLA) or Copyright Assignment Agreement (©AA)?  How will all these choices impact the authors future options in the software project?  Does the author even hold copyright on the work, or does an employment agreement leave these decisions wholly in the hands of an employer?

     This talk explains the basics that such an author will need to know to properly consider these complex and highly politicized issues, and will also present resources for further reading and understanding of the complex discussion of software freedom licensing.