|14 April 2014|
(Can of Worms Image - Shutterstock)
As one of the key features of open source software (OSS) is the sharing with future users of the source code, there is a risk that by using OSS to develop your own code, the OSS licence terms will compel you to share the software code with all users the product is distributed to and therefore make the whole product “open” (even if you want it to be proprietary and closed).
This could subsequently result in the code being modified, adapted and re-licensed.
Similarly, many of the OSS licences are poorly drafted, and are likely to conflict with your customer licences – and each other, thus further infecting your software/app that you may be developing.
Potential investors will be wary if the IP in the product is not sufficiently protected, and so it is vital that procedures are implemented to protect your proprietary interest in the product.
There are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of OSS contaminating your software:
Use of OSS
In summary, good internal practice, a clear system for tracking the use of OSS and support from external legal or technology advisers are essential to guarantee your product remains contamination-free and then you can get on with the harder job of flogging it to the market.
This article was co-written by Anthony Day, a Legal Director in the Tech and Sourcing team and Trainee Solicitor Bethan Lloyd both at DLA Piper, London. Kindly reproduced with their permission and sourced via TechCityNews.com