An Economically Efficient Model for Open Source Software License Compliance


“The Compliance Industrial Complex” is a term that evokes dystopian imagery of organizations engaging in elaborate and highly expensive processes to comply with open source license terms. As life often imitates art, many organizations engage in this practice, sadly robbing them of the many benefits of the open source model. This article presents an economically efficient approach to open source software license compliance.

Open source licenses generally impose three requirements on a distributor of code licensed from a third party:

  1. Provide a copy of the open source license(s)
  2. Include copyright notices
  3. For copyleft licenses (like GPL), make the corresponding source code available to the distributees