Companion website for Dan Bricklin's Video:
A Developer's Introduction to Copyright and Open Source
This material supplements the video we sell, "A Developer's Introduction to Copyright and Open Source". It lists the source of some of the material shown as well as material for additional learning. For more information about the video, see the main product page. There is also ongoing related material on the Software Garden Training Video Blog.

At different points in the video there are screens with text from various documents. Here is where you can find more complete versions of those documents:


Here are some books that are related to material in the video (this is by no means an exhaustive list):


Here are a variety of links to related material:

  • Open Source Initiative:

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to managing and promoting the Open Source Definition through the OSI Certified Open Source Software certification mark and program. The website has a list of many Open Source licenses that meet their definition of Open Source, including the text of those licenses.

  • Free Software Foundation:

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) promotes the development and use of Free Software, particularly the GNU operating system, used widely in its GNU/Linux variant. It developed the GNU General Public License, the GPL. This website has much material about the GPL and discussions about of the ethical and political issues surrounding freedom in the use of software.

  • Groklaw:

    The award-winning website that most closely follows the SCO lawsuits against IBM and others. Groklaw has frequent blog-postings, with comments, as well as copies of as many of the publicly available documents related to the cases as they can get. Required reading for anyone interested in the SCO lawsuits. In addition, there is material related to the GPL, Linux, and other Open Source issues.

  • US Copyright Office:

    Website of the US Copyright Office with a large amount of material about copyright, including the text of the major copyright laws.

  • US Department of Justice Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section:

    Material used when dealing with IP-related crimes, including the Prosecuting Intellectual Property Crimes Manual which has a Section III with many details about criminal copyright infringement.

  • Quick Reference Chart -- Open Source Licenses:

    A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet listing many Open Source licenses and their attributes, such as "Can freely copy and distribute? Y/N", "Can charge royalty for distribution of modified program", etc. From the Massachusetts State Information Technology Division,


The video only scratches the surface on most of the issues discussed. Here is further information on some of the areas discussed or left out (as usual, this is NOT LEGAL ADVICE):

  • Works Made For Hire

    The video briefly touches on the area of "Works made for hire" when an employer ends up with the rights to works authored by an employee. There is a lot to this area. One thing to look out for is when the "employee" is really a contractor (by some definition, and there are more than one). The company commissioning the work needs to be sure that the legal papers are in order to make sure that they get the rights they think they do. Employees need to be careful about work they may think is outside of the scope of their employment and that they think they own the rights to (for example, work done at home on some other project). They may not know that work they are doing is covered under an implicit "Work Made For Hire" assumption by some laws. In general, it's worth checking with your own attorney to see what the exact situation you are in does to your author's rights.

  • More Emphasis On Copyright Now

    There are many additional reasons for the increasing emphasis on copyrights and licenses. One thing I've heard multiple times is that the Internet is making it so much easier for developers to get source code themselves without going through normal corporate channels. In the "old days", getting software in a corporation often involved paying money and that brought in the purchasing department (often associated with the finance people who were involved with the legal people) that kept track of licenses, etc. Today, with open source software that is free of charge, the purchasing people (and all those others) are cut out of the loop without knowing it.

  • Tools

    The video briefly mentions tools that can scan source code to try to identify use of Open Source and other code from elsewhere. One company that makes such tools (and that Dan has a small financial relationship with) is Black Duck Software. There are other companies that are developing tools in this area, including Padamida.

  • LGPL

    The video briefly mentions the LGPL license, the GNU Lesser General Public License (formerly the "Library GPL"). This was developed by the Free Software Foundation to handle cases where they wanted to allow certain types of close connections between code covered by a Free license and code covered by other, incompatible licenses. Some companies, such as JBoss, use this, too, for their non-library products. See and

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