US appeals court confirms that conditions of a liberal FLOSS license are enforceable

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (considered THE US court for patent, copyright, trademark and related law) ruled on August 13'th (08-1001.pdf , Jacobsen v. Katzer) that the FSF and OSI approved "Artistic License" was enforceable. This license is best known for its use by the PERL language.

Plaintiff Robert Jacobson was using this license for JMRI: A Java Model Railroad Interface, and Matthew Katzer operating as KAM Industries incorporated parts of the JMRI in their software without adhering to the conditions of the Artistic License. The license is conditional on attribution (the authors names, JMRI copyright notices, references to the COPYING file, an identifcation of SourceForge or JMRI as the original source of the definition files, and a description of how the files or computer code had been changed from the original source code). A district court had misinterpreted the license and suggested that the defendant didn't need to adhere to the terms, requiring the case to go to the appeals court to be correctly interpreted.

Details about the case are offered on the JMRI website.

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