Open Source Development and Distribution of Digital Information: Economic, Legal and Social Perspectives
Substantial investments are being made by many individuals and firms in the development and distribution of open source software and other information artifacts. This seminar will consider economic and business rationales for adoption of open source modes of production and dissemination and will consider how open source projects might be made sustainable by looking into the social and organizational dynamics used to coordinate their activities. The seminar will examine licensing models widely used by open source developers, which generally grant rights to use and modify licensed information on condition that users agree to carry over to derivative works the same license restrictions imposed by the open source developer. For software, this includes free publication of source code. Open source licensing models are being adapted to apply to more than just computer software, such as databases of scientific information, certain biotechnology innovations, and music. Whether the metaphor of open source has wider social ramifications as a modality of community governance will also be given attention.