cearta.ie

the Irish for rights

What’s the big deal?

Photo of Larry Lessig, via his site.Lessig (left) writes:

huge and important news: free licenses upheld

So for non-lawgeeks, this won’t seem important. But trust me, this is huge. … the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (THE “IP” court in the US) has upheld a free (ok, they call them “open source”) copyright license, explicitly pointing to the work of Creative Commons and others. … the Court has held that free licenses such as the CC licenses set conditions … on the use of copyrighted work. When you violate the condition, the license disappears, meaning you’re simply a copyright infringer …

The decision in Jacobsen v Katzer is excellent news, to be sure; but isn’t it obvious? It may be “huge”, in the sense that this is the first time that a court has actually said this; but this has always seemed obvious to me (which is why I use a Creative Commons licence on this site). What am I missing?

2 Responses to “What’s the big deal?”

  1. TJ says:

    It wasn’t so obvious to the trial court, which went the other way. :)

    My take on it is here:
    http://www.tjmcintyre.com/2008/08/us-court-upholds-free-open-source.html

  2. Eoin says:

    Yes, I know the trial court went the other way, but it was the wrong decision, which is why we have appeals :-)

    For what it’s worth, here are a few more links to comments on the case. First, another similar “local” link: Memex 1.1. Second, another blogger who thought the case “was a no-brainer”: CyberTech Rambler. Third, a good practical assessment from a US perspective: Reasonable Balance. Finally, a very interesting analysis from an antipodean perspective: Brendan Scott’s Weblog.

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Welcome

Me in a hatHi there! Thanks for dropping by. I’m Eoin O’Dell, and this is my blog: Cearta.ie – the Irish for rights.

“Cearta” really is the Irish word for rights, so the title provides a good sense of the scope of this blog.

In general, I write here about private law, free speech, and cyber law; and, in particular, I write about Irish law and education policy.

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Eoin.

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