Open Source Software Licenses – Common Questions

Businesss people and software developers have many legal questions about open source software:

  • What are the legal and practical risks if my company uses a particular piece of open source software?
  • My company already uses open source software in the servers at our data center, or in the products we distribute. How do we comply with the open source license requirements? Is it true that we must give out software to our customers for free?
  • My company has tough limits on using open source, but we really want to do a deal with a developer who uses a lot of open source. How can we proceed?
  • We want to open source one of our products, and don’t know what type of open source license to choose.
  • My company does not use it, but we are buying a company that uses open source . How do we reduce our risk?
  • We want to add open source software or open content to our business strategy, and we need to understand our legal options.
  • We’ve heard that we shouldn’t use the General Public License (GPL), but many great software programs are covered by it. How can we use GPL-licensed software, with the lowest risk?

Attorney Harry Boadwee has worked with clients on these questions, and many more. He’s a software contracts lawyer in Silicon Valley, California, with over 20 years of experience. He represents both large corporations and small startups, and over the years has negotiated with many of the largest U.S. and international technology companies.