Foss Licensing Primer

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FOSS: Licensing Author: Shun-ling Chen © UNDP-APDIP, Elsevier, 2006, 29 pages ISBN-13: 978-81-312-0422-1


COMING UP SOON: IOSN and UNDP-APDIP releases new publication on Free/Open Source Software and Licensing

As the FOSS Movement has been growing rapidly in recent years, more and more stakeholders are brought in to participate in different roles. Some of them are end-users, developers, business entities, or government agencies that provide funding for FOSS projects. This e-primer is designed to provide these stakeholders with some basic knowledge about copyright, software copyright and FOSS licenses. Legal issues may vary in different situations and this e-primer may not be able to provide answers to all situations. But, hopefully, it will serve as a bridge between lawyers and non-lawyers in this joint venture of FOSS development.

This e-primer examines different proprietary and FOSS licenses that use copyright law to regulate the use of software, and discusses how the FOSS movement uses licenses as a way to create a different model of software development. It provides scenarios to highlight possible copyright issues regarding the use of FOSS by end-users, developers and vendors, and addresses common questions and misconceptions regarding copyright and licensing issues. The e-primer also includes two cases regarding government-sponsored FOSS projects.

More Information

This e-primer is part of the Free/Open Source Software e-Primer Series. For other publications in this series, please visit