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The Enforceability of Open Source Licenses

February 01, 2005

By George L. Graff

One of the major developments in the licensing of computer software in recent years has been the growing acceptance by commercial users of software distributed under so called “open source” licenses, which permit copying, modification and distribution of the code under the condition that copies of the source code and the rights granted in the license be passed on to distributees. Although the form of such licenses bears a superficial resemblance to the types of software licenses that have traditionally been, and continue to be, employed by distributors of proprietary software, they differ from those licenses in a number of legally significant respects.

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