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Intellectual Property Law

New Matter WINTER 2015, Volume 40, Number 4

Open Licensing: Good for the Community, Good for Business

Teri Karobonik
New Media Rights

What do SpaceX, Autodesk and Cards Against Humanity have in common?1 They are all private companies that have released some of their copyrighted content under an open license. This article will make a case for why open licensing can be a great business decision, if undertaken with proper care. This article will also give attorneys less familiar with open licensing some practical tools to help their clients openly license content.

First, this article will explore the different types of open licenses covering copyrighted content. Second, this article will discuss some of the benefits of open licensing. Finally, this article will explain common pitfalls of open licensing and practical tips on how to avoid them. While this article will not specifically focus on free and open software licenses (which are sufficiently complex to deserve an article of their own), some of the advice in the second and third sections may also be applicable to attorneys working in the free and open software license space.

WHAT KINDS OF OPEN LICENSES EXIST TO COVER COPYRIGHTED CONTENT?

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