Not Every Open Source Cloud Has A Silver Lining

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
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The use of open source software and cloud-based computing individually are growing at a rapid pace. The use of open source in cloud deployments is also growing. Until recently, the OSS license issues with cloud deployments have been fairly straightforward. It is well known that certain OSS licenses have some significant legal implications (detailed below) but that these implications are triggered when software programs that use OSS are distributed. Due to the fact that with most cloud-based deployments the software is not distributed, many developers are lulled into a false sense of security that there are no OSS implications with such deployments. The reality is there are a growing number of OSS licenses that have significant legal implications, even when the OSS is used in a cloud-based deployment. This article will address some of the relevant licenses and their legal implications.

Overview of Open Source Licenses and Their Legal Implications -

OSS refers to a type of license, not a type of software. Absent any prior contractual obligations, the developer of a new software program can distribute that software under a proprietary license, an open source license or both (referred to as “dual licensing”).

Originally published in Law360 on March 1, 2019.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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