Book: Intellectual Property and Open Source – the solution to IANAL

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I’m reading Intellectual Property and Open Source by Van Lindberg at the moment, and despite being about a relatively dry topic, I must admit that it’s a fascinating read. Van Lindberg introduces the book by talking about the comments that end up on Slashdot.org, almost certainly prefixed by the expression IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer) where people defend, discuss, and rip people up about the legalities of open source and the various licenses. Van Lindberg also talks about how he spends much of his time translating the contents of various legal documents into engineer speak and back again. Despite being a proponent and long time user of free software and open source for the best part of my working life, I’ll admit to being completely ignorant of many of the issues. This isn’t through lack of interest, but I’d rather leave those discussions and decisions to people who know, and it’s clear that Van Lindberg not only knows the subject, but he also knows how to make it interesting to those of us who actually have to work within the confines of rules and regulations. I’m still reading and learning a lot of the ins and outs of copyright, company agreements, and individual licenses and details. There’s a lot of material and detail included here. I’ll have a full review when I’ve finished. Until then, if you have even a passing interest in the various licensing, legal and IP issues with open source, check out the book for a proper read.