Legal Primer: Using Free and Open Source Software

by Nathan Kumagai | at MinneBar 10 | 9:15 – 10:05 in Zeke Landres | View Schedule

“Free” and “open source” software forms the core building blocks of major business platforms and software distributions everywhere. Open source software is available under a range of licenses that give you freedom to obtain, use and distribute the software in your own programs; but with this freedom come some conditions, ranging from simple attribution for some licenses to providing source code and patent licenses in others. Some of these conditions might be incompatible with your business model, and making a mistake can cause problems when you bring your software to market or if your business is acquired. This session will discuss foundational issues about the world of open source, including:

  • What is open source software? Why is it so important?
  • Understanding open source licenses in the context of real life issues
  • Basic development process guidelines for using open source software

Armed with this information, you will be better able to make intelligent choices and decisions about how to take advantage of the benefits and manage the risks presented by open source software.

All levels

Nathan Kumagai

Nathan Kumagai is an attorney who works with software companies on open source, privacy and other software and technology matters. Nathan is a member of the intellectual property/information technology practice group at Stinson Leonard Street in Minneapolis. Nathan worked as a software developer before becoming an attorney.