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Even 'Free' Codes Have Licenses, Court Finds Decision by a Federal Panel Is a Major Victory for Open Source Movement

Publication Date: 
August 14, 2008
Daily Journal
Lawrence Hurley

According to the Daily Journal, "supporters of open source copyright licenses hailed a major victory Wednesday when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that license holders can sue users for infringement if they don't comply with the terms of the license." Lecturer in Law Fair Use Project Executive Director Anthony Falzone and Professor Lawrence Lessig figured prominently in the case:

It was an important ruling for Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society.

He filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Creative Commons, the nonprofit founded by Stanford Law School professor Lawrence Lessig that has campaigned for increased use of open source licenses and makes them available via its Web site.

The core issue for Falzone and other open source advocates is that although such licenses allow for free distribution of creative works, it does not mean that the creator gives up his rights to the work entirely.