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A Big Victory for F/OSS: Jacobsen v. Katzer is Settled

At 9:00 AM EST today, the parties to Jacobsen v. Katz filed a settlement agreement with the U.S. Federal District Court for the Northern District of California. In doing so, they brought an end to one of the most important legal cases to date affecting the continued success of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). The terms of the settlement mark a complete victory for Jacobsen.

More importantly, the rulings in the case establish several important FOSS license terms and remedies for the first time in the U.S.: the right to prevent a developer’s copyright and authorship acknowledgements from being removed from their code, and the right to collect damages if the terms of a FOSS license are violated. Absent the ability to collect damages, as a practical matter there would be little to prevent commercial software vendors from incorporating FOSS software into their proprietary products in violation of FOSS license terms.

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