Passport Without A Visa: Open Source Software Licensing and Trademarks
Tiki Dare, Legal Director, Sun Microsystems, Inc., USA
Harvey Anderson, General Counsel, Mozilla, USA
Open source software has defied its sceptics and become a big business. Governments at the national, state and local level across the globe are requiring open source in their projects. Almost all major commercial software vendors use or distribute code under some open source license. As a user, it’s hard to go a day on the web without interacting with some open source code which has replaced many server side legacy products. Worldwide more than 200 million consumers use open source software products and thousands of enterprises use open source code. The best known open source brand is still probably the Linux operating system, but as open source projects and companies proliferate, the importance of brands to differentiate these offerings is on the rise. Trademarks, the legal rights that form the foundation for brand identity, will necessarily play a larger role in the open source world.
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