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Open Source Software Licences: Exposing the Legal Bogeyman

4:00pm 17 September 2010

Don Holborow
Don Holborow

Partner, Simpson Grierson

Lawyers will often advise that open source software is riskier than other models of licensing. This advice is based on the belief that open source software comes with no guarantees and might expose users to liability, and that unconventional licence terms may trap users into having to part with their intellectual property.

Is this sound advice, or is it excessively cautious and the concerns overstated?

Because of a more diverse developer base, many argue open source software can provide advantages over proprietary software, however licensing issues are often cited as a major concern.

This presentation asks whether any risks associated with open source licence terms can be satisfactorily addressed, whether guarantees on usability are comparable to those for proprietary software (where, for instance, licence terms invariably limit such guarantees), and considers the terms of open source software licences.

About Don Holborow

Don Holborow is a Partner at Simpson Grierson and a leading adviser on ICT outsourcing and procurement.

Don heads up Simpson Grierson’s Wellington ICT team, which has a strong record of achievement in ICT procurement – from assisting in procurement process design and RFI/RFP stages to contract negotiations and finding commercial solutions to project problems.