Friday, October 03, 2008

Bruce Perens: A Big Change for Open Source

"An appeals court has erased most of the doubt around Open Source licensing, permanently, in a decision that was extremely favorable toward projects like GNU, Creative Commons, Wikipedia, and Linux. The man who prompted that decision could be described as the worst enemy a Free Software project could have. This is the story of how our community was able to benefit from that enemy."

Now that a reasonably high court in the U.S. has made such a finding, Open Source developers are sure that they aren't restricted to the legal penalties against people who violate contracts, which are generally just the amount of money lost, but can pursue the far greater penalties against copyright infringers. So, all of the tools that publishers, movie studios, and record companies have managed to win from a too-willing Congress over the past century are suddenly available to the Free Software developer to enforce their licenses.

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