>> law, technology, and the space between

All content by Kyle E. Mitchell, who is not your lawyer.

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Open Source

  1. Blue Oak Contributor License

    it’s just a license

  2. Copyleft Intolerance and the Defining-Open Mind Trap

    forgetting licensing history past, we fail to repeat our successes

  3. Unlimited Indemnity for Unpaid Developers?

    James Bottomley on liability, politics, and forgotten boilerplate

  4. Real and Imagined CLA Overreach

    CLAs go wrong when they act like hiring terms

  5. This Rich To Open Source

    neglected Torvalds straight-talk on how great software gets made, and by who

  6. MicroHub Sponsorplace

    one software store, many corporate faces

  7. Open Market for Open Software

    coders who can’t afford to do open source will revolutionize software

  8. Notice by Hyperlink

    can’t we just link to the licenses file for our JavaScript?

  9. Trademark Undefined Behavior

    the awkward hole in free and open IP

  10. EULAs Aren’t Inherently Evil

    proprietary done right can beat free and open for users

  11. FOSS Fundraiser for Ukraine?

    donors ask questions, panel of licensing lawyers answers

  12. The Open Source Initiative Did Not Win Neo4j v. PureThink

    everywhere it looks, OSI sees itself, and in triumph

  13. Switching Open Software Terms

    yes, you can switch from MIT to something else

  14. You And Whose GitHub?

    Russian tech source reports state mulling GitHub clone

  15. MIT for Noncommercial is Broken

    use a real noncommercial software license

  16. Payability, Form, and Substance

    getting company to pay you isn’t just about a legal entity

  17. AWS Contributor Licensing Blurb

    another mutation from the cauldron of CLA angst

  18. Single CLA

    taking back contributor licensing for developers

  19. Blue Oak Open Software Licensing Primer

    Theory of Operation, updated and expanded

  20. L. Peter Deutsch and Stig Hackvän

    cooperation, licensing, and money in 1998

  21. The Developer Certificate of Origin is Not a Contributor License Agreement

    dispelling magical DCO thinking to reveal the system below

  22. Creative Commons’ 2021-2025 Strategy

    a scene stalwart turns “ethical”

  23. Drafter’s Anxiety

    writing new licenses isn’t scary

  24. The Luck of Open Source

    open source without great men

  25. Sell Babel 8

    ask for the money you need so people can actually pay it

  26. Open Gaming Deja Vu

    a clear-eyed view of open from 1999

  27. You Can Still Use the Software

    Justin Colannino on what’s up with new software licenses

  28. The Origin of the “MIT License”

    how did those famous terms come about?

  29. Cross License Foundations

    decentralized stewardship of collaborative projects

  30. Code Credit License 1.0.0

    a code-for-credit software license

  31. Open Licensing Attacks on Specific Business Models

    an incomplete list

  32. Compliance Industrial Pulpit

    someone tell the enterprise about Open Source 2.0

  33. Where are the Goalposts?

    in response to Luis Villa on SSPL and OSI

  34. Reading AGPL

    a guided introduction for first-timers

  35. Open Source is Discrimination

    that’s the point, or at least it used to be

  36. Righteous, Expedient, Wrong

    OSI swings at Elastic, misses, and leaves a mess

  37. ml5.js Takes a Stand

    a code of conduct with teeth, in the wild

  38. Deprogramming the Programmer

    throw off your jargon and be free

  39. The War on License Notices

    managing uncertainty at the fringes of open licensing

  40. How Congress Sees Open Source

    a view from outside

  41. Copyright Notices Begone

    pointless costs of ancient licenses

  42. From Justice With Love

    the antitrust division groks open source strategy

  43. Mix Many Metaphors

    analogies galore in Oracle v. Google oral argument

  44. Oracle v. Google Oral Argument

    major league copyright lawyering at bat

  45. The Ethical Consequences of Our Collective Activities

    professional ethics as the missing root of entitlement?

  46. Working in Public

    now comes the coder-celebrity

  47. A Modest Trademark Proposal

    banish them from permissive open source

  48. Programmer Power

    prying open “software freedom”

  49. Anything to Everyone

    “defund the police” through the lens of “open source”

  50. Narrative Error

    that’s my hero story, and I’m sticking to it

  51. Free & Open Picture Book

    a conundrum in four panels

  52. Round Robin 1.0.0

    ready for the field

  53. Round Robin License

    new name, new terms, same great idea

  54. “Open Source” Is Nobody’s Property

    if OSI owned it, they wouldn’t be so touchy about it

  55. Antidote

    critical and alternative views on free and open source software

  56. Common-Pool Pushovers

    Elinor Ostrom without boundaries

  57. Locked-In Customers Anonymous

    stop buying software from assholes

  58. Site of Shame

    if you can’t negotiate, castigate?

  59. Sharetribe Community Public License 1.0, Line by Line

    another everything-but-SaaS license

  60. CERN OHL-S 2.0, Line by Line

    the open share-alike hardware license we actually need now?

  61. Medtronic’s PB560 Ventilator License, Line by Line

    medical device company devises copyleft license

  62. Open Source for Business 3e

    new edition of an oft-recommended book

  63. Sustain Podcast

    business models, licenses, role playing

  64. Name Calling Isn’t Precise

    “neo-closed” will come and go

  65. Copyleft Has No Posse

    war is over, want it or not

  66. This Mess We’re In

    ethics, open source, and free riding

  67. Data Under Universal Share-Alike

    limits on effective data copyleft

  68. Reduce, Reuse, Reconsider

    if you wish to make a great hacker from scratch, let them reimplement the universe

  69. Scratch Other People’s Itches

    achieve more meaning and feel less alone

  70. Copyleft Should be Scary

    if the virus wasn’t scary, would we wash out hands?

  71. Open Source Should Come With Warranties

    (from the companies who use it)

  72. What did I just agree to?

    Marc Jones on oddities in OSI-approved licenses

  73. Luis Villa’s Licensing Year in Review

    harassment made the list, and should have

  74. Few-Maintainer Projects

    reality-driven expectations

  75. Renaming API Copyleft

    naming for purpose, not implementation

  76. API Copyleft 2.0.0-pre.1

    bringing the best of Parity to API Copyleft

  77. The Main Event

    Amazon versus Startups and the New York Times

  78. npm fund

    new subcommand and metadata standard

  79. Talking Points: Ethical Licenses

    collecting points and counterpoints

  80. Venture Capital Shill

    scapegoating free software’s failures

  81. MulanPSL

    a new riff on the Apache patent bargain from China

  82. Heather Meeker on “Ethos Licensing”

    free and open is ethos licensing, too

  83. “BSD with PATENTS” and “BSD-2-Clause Plus Patent” are Not the Same

    similar licenses, very different receptions

  84. Love this License

    law brut with ASCII art

  85. Blue Oak Test Suite

    test cases for new public licenses

  86. Blue Oak Reading List

    reading list for lawyers new to open source

  87. Cross-License Collaboratives

    decentralizing contributor license agreements

  88. Standards, Patents, Open Source

    towards constructive collaboration across practice communities

  89. Blue Oak Guidance on Mergers and Acquisitions

    please stop paying me so much to fix reps and warranties

  90. No LICENSE

    they won’t see your funding plea if they never look

  91. Our Ethics, Not Yours

    in defense of Seth Vargo and morality-first licenses

  92. The Tyranny of Time

    licensing gives developers much-needed flexibility

  93. Open Core is Not a Good Story

    three better ways to express yourself and your company

  94. Open Legal Podcast?

    considering an open legal podcast

  95. Is this conference a good idea?

    forthcoming talk at a conference

  96. The Great Open Source Shake-Up

    more mandatory reading from Kate Downing

  97. Changeblog

    a few thoughts on a friend’s podcast appearance

  98. Require Credit For Your Software

    a general-purpose legal tool to require credit for open work

  99. Get In, Get Out

    open source advice for new programmers breaking into the industry

  100. Dark Arts at Daybreak

    the end of club rule in open source law

  101. Operating Environment

    essential industry background for reading open software licenses

  102. SSPL Was Not Commons Clause

    how open licensing blew its biggest opportunity of the 2010s

  103. Mortarboard Licenses

    graduate to new public license terms

  104. Schools of Cohesion

    exploring the crosswise policy biases we learn from open software

  105. Tyranny of Permissionlessness

    open source’s narrow focus further empowers those with other ways to exclude

  106. Don’t Rely on OSI Approval

    activist approval does not track practical needs

  107. AFL-3.0 versus OSL-3.0

    a redline (diff) with important network terms highlighted

  108. #wontfix

    endorsements can’t fix the Open Source Definition

  109. Calls to Sustainability Action via package.json

    a new proposal, schema, and tools

  110. Enterprise Ready Open Software License Supplement

    the status quo, plus money for devs

  111. Stairway to Heaven

    repairing broken steps to software license Nirvana

  112. The Diachronic Treadmill License

    automatically reward supporters with copyleft exceptions

  113. License Utopia

    just four licenses for all of open source

  114. Ethical Subcommons Starter Kit

    bringing openness to software of moral concern

  115. Weak or Strong is Wrong

    towards selective or consistent copyleft

  116. Deprecation Notice: MIT and BSD

    it’s time to retire thirty-year-old academic licenses

  117. Back to IP

    the copyright giant has a policy

  118. Indie Open Source

    developing resource for indie-ready business models

  119. Open Source Software License Reading List

    a comprehensive curriculum for new license wonks

  120. First Thoughts on the Redis Source Available License Agreement

    evident demand for license rules on API boundaries

  121. API Copyleft License 1.0.0

    first release of API-boundary copyleft form

  122. API Copyleft

    functionality, interfaces, and line drawing in a new copyleft paradigm

  123. Shared Component License

    first shot at a short, plain license in the vein of Mongo’s SSPL

  124. Outer Source

    open software by closed methods

  125. Apache-2.0 versus ECL-2.0

    a redline (diff) showing substantive changes

  126. Open Source is Not About You

    a minimal, functionalist view of open source

  127. Open Handicaps

    Did permissive used to advantage open work like copyleft does today?

  128. Selective Openness

    making money by choosing what to give away

  129. The Open Source Definition as Copyleft Regulation

    an in-depth review of commonly cited criteria

  130. The Copyleft Bust Up

    loopholes, licenses, and realpolitik in open source

  131. How to Speak Copyleft

    the missing vocabulary of copyleft design

  132. Elsewhere: Mapping Open Business Models

    crosspost from the License Zero blog

  133. Seeking Comment: Copyright Notice Recommendation

    first stab at a pragmatic best-practice guide

  134. Indirect Licensing

    dispensing software licenses in the Internet era

  135. Contributor Councils

    relicensing without foundation, BDFL, or unanimity

  136. Patents for Software Freedom

    gun-shy insurgents and the heavy weapons of IP law

  137. Bilking Angels

    celestial finance for earth-bound developers

  138. Crowd Hiring

    assurance contracts for short-term open software maintenance

  139. Quick Read of Tidelift’s Lifting Agreement

    nits picked in the developer terms for a new pay-the-devs company

  140. Private Changes in Free Software Copyleft Licenses

    Where’s the fifth freedom?

  141. Enforce Open Source Licenses with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

    takedown power for DIY developers

  142. Unhappy Coincidences

    marriages of licensing convenience, and changed circumstances

  143. Selective Mythology

    defining open source for fun and profit, in the shadow of the enterprise

  144. The Posterity Public License

    a strong-attribution open source license

  145. MPL-2.0 versus OPL-2.1

    a redline (diff) showing changes

  146. I Have Another Blog

    you may want to subscribe on License Zero, too

  147. Licence Libre du Québec – Réciprocité versus - Réciprocité forte

    a redline (diff) showing changes

  148. CLAs are Not a Sham

    licensing with friends, improved and improving

  149. Debian Free Software Guidelines versus the Open Source Definition

    a redline (diff) showing changes

  150. Mercenary Rapport

    moral blindness in open source on social media

  151. Unsustainability at Scale

    today’s tools for yesterday’s problems tomorrow

  152. Feed this Bear

    indie coder, promote thyself!

  153. Overkill

    doing IP law wrong, and getting away with it

  154. The License Zero Manifesto

    sustainable software in the open

  155. Null Value

    against demise of the hacker public license

  156. Switchmode Developer Agreement

    an open form contract for open source contractors

  157. Open Software Service Terms

    legal terms for paid web apps, now available in the English language

  158. It’s Not About Community

    another view of Open Source

  159. Open Source: Theory of Operation

    a short, practical guide to open source software for programmers at work

  160. Open Source License Business Perception Report

    the pain and confusion of common open licenses, roughly quantified

  161. Against Legislating the Nonobvious

    short-order feedback on the default contributor license in GitHub’s draft terms of service

  162. The Mendicant Maintainerati

    no holy fools for Open Source

  163. The MIT License, Line by Line

    171 words every programmer should understand

  164. I Don’t Want to Know What “Open Source” Means

    I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all on GitHub.

  165. License from Who?

    Safe open-source licensing means more than a LICENSE file.

  166. The Berneout Pledge

    Sucks less than CLAs!

  167. First Read: The Fair Source License

    Text and my first thoughts on a new, non-open source form license

  168. Startup Unix

    An open legal operating system for start-up technology companies

  169. React Patent Redline

    Changes to Facebook’s patent grant for React, Flux, Immutable, &c.

  170. Blind Patches

    What if open-source contributors could submit patches anonymously and choose to claim credit later?