OpenLogic recently conducted a survey to determine whether companies have a full understanding of the activities that constitute distribution per the terms of common open source licenses. Highlights of the survey include:
Bottom line, many of these companies may be distributing open source without realizing it, thereby risking violation of copyleft clauses of the GPL and other open source licenses.
Distribution is a critical factor, since it triggers additional obligations in open source licenses and therefore additional compliance requirements. Clearly there is a disconnect here. Companies often don't fully realize that their activities constitute distribution under open source licenses.
There are several reasons for this disconnect:
The good news is that there are clear steps that organizations can and should take to ensure they are complying with open source licenses.
The survey was conducted in June 2010 by OpenLogic and had a total of 82 respondents including members of developer, architect and legal and compliance teams. Respondents came from a mix of small, medium and large companies: 35% were from companies with more than 1,000 employees; 29% had between 50 and 1,000 employees and 29% had fewer than 50 employees.
You can access a full set of survey results here.
Kim Weins is the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Products at OpenLogic, an open source provider focused on helping enterprises successfully and safely use open source software. Kim works with large enterprises to share open source governance and compliance best practices and to evangelize the benefits of using open source software.
Kim helps to shape OpenLogic’s pioneering open source offerings, including an aggregated support model backed by open source developers, open source scanning and governance tools and services that guide companies through compliance with GPL and other open source licenses.