Share – /SHer/ verb; To enjoy or use something together: He shared his open source software solution with his community.
Steal – /stl/ verb; To take someone’s property without permission: The big corporation stole his open source software solution.
Two things can happen to your open source software:
a) You can share it with your community or
b) You can have it blocked or stolen by a large corporation
Creating and distributing open source software makes it freely available to the masses. Sharing advanced, capable software with people across the globe powers your open source community and provides innovation to all – but it also puts your open source project – and your open source startup – at risk.
Even if your open source software is available to anyone for free, you should be able to enjoy recognition for your work, and to reclaim it when it is threatened. Worse, you don’t want a large corporation to steal your software and sell it at a high price (open source developers need to be especially careful ? click here for more information).
Yet official protection of your intellectual property, such as an open source license, may not be enough for you to gain the upper hand in court.
How Does Court Sound?
To prevent thieves from passing your software as their own, you can either claim copyright infringement, or patent infringement.
If you don’t have a patent, you can only claim copyright infringement. To immediately block someone who has stolen your software, you need a preliminary injunction but judges have made that much harder for simple copyright claims.
And if someone steals your idea but not your code, only a patent can save you and your community. An open source patent is the best way to protect your open source startup.
Are you an open source developer? Get in touch & speak with an expert in both software and IP. Click here to learn more.