Source: Andy Updegrove: A Big Victory for F/OSS: Jacobsen v. Katzer is Settled Friday, February 19 2010
A long running case of great significance to the legal underpinnings of free and open source/open source software (F/OSS) has just settled on terms favorable to the F/OSS developer. The settlement follows a recent ruling by a U.S. Federal District Court judge that affirmed several key rights of F/OSS developers under existing law.
Significantly for the F/OSS cause, the court found in favor of Jacobsen (the F/OSS developer) on three key points:
1. The code in question was sufficiently original to be entitled to copyright protection. While not unique to F/OSS code, this was a legal issue on which Jacobsen had to prevail in order to assert claims under copyright law.
2. While the JMRI Project made its code available for free, there was "evidence in the record attributing a monetary value for the actual work performed by the contributors to the JMRI project," thus laying the basis for monetary damages.
3. The removal of the copyright and authorship data contained in the pirated code was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, thus providing a basis for suit for that action in violation of the JMRI license.
Point 2 is particularly important.