Presentation OSS licenses

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Presentation on OSS licenses by Maurits Westerik (Presenting at the BioAssist programmers meeting on 19 February, 2010).

There's a discussion page for this article --Pieter van Beek

Maurits is a member of the Intellectual Property and Information Technology Groups of Bird & Bird in The Netherlands. He specialises in intellectual property, especially in technology-related IP and life sciences-related patent cases. Maurits studied law at the University of Leiden and is a graduate of the international programme of the Institute for Political Sciences (SciencePo) in Paris. He has been an IP/IT lawyer in Amsterdam since 2004, before joining Bird & Bird in 2007. Maurits is an active speaker on IP strategy and also teaches IP law as guest lecturer at the Universities of Amsterdam, Leiden and Delft.

As a member of Bird & Bird’s Open Source Knowledge Group, Maurits has translated the popular open source GPLv3 software licence into Dutch. The translation is available on the GNU site.

Requested Topics for this talk:

  • Role of copyright in licensing
  • What is the difference between copyright/auteursrecht/intellectual property?
  • What about all this code people gave to me over the years that has no copyright statement or license?
  • Who is the 'owner' of my work ? Me, the company I work for, or the financing party ?
  • Dual licensing
  • License compatibility

Additional questions to be addressed:

  • Can I use open-source platforms to develop commercial software? (like Eclipse, MySQL, ...) (added by Dmitry Katsubo)
  • Can I re-use the parts of the source code (e.g. method, algorithm implementation) covered by LGPL licence in GPL project or in commercial project? (added by Dmitry Katsubo)
  • Can I use optional dependency to GPL library in commercial project? [1] (added by Dmitry Katsubo)

Please, prove/disapprove the statements with references to corresponding license (or laws) chapters.


  1. optional dependency is a run-time dependency (in contrast to compile-time), that does not block the general program execution, but makes some functions (that depend on that library) unavailable, if library is missing