Legal issues for the use of free and open source software in government

Fitzgerald, Brian F. & Suzor, Nicolas P. (2005) Legal issues for the use of free and open source software in government. Melbourne University Law Review, 29(2), pp. 412-447.

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This article explains the notion of free and open source software (‘FOSS’) and the reasons why governments throughout the world are giving it close consideration. In particular, it highlights key legal issues facing the adoption and development of FOSS by governments. From the aspect of government procurement the article examines the models used by governments to create a level playing field for the supply of FOSS, intellectual property warranties and indemnities and the operation of the Trade Practices Act. In terms of government development of FOSS, the article considers the licensing mechanisms that will be implemented in the development and distribution of such software. In the final section, the article assesses the threat software patents and the current SCO litigation provide for FOSS. The article concludes by emphasising that governments need to be fully aware of this landscape to assess what is the most effective technology available.

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ID Code: 3620
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: free software, open source, dual licensing, gpl, copyleft, trade practices act, government, compatability, jurisdiction
ISSN: 0025-8938
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Melbourne University Law Review Association
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 19 Jul 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2017 14:39

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