Copyright vs. Copyleft Licencing and Software Development
AbstractThis article aims at clarifying the role played by licenses within the increasingly relevant Open Source Software (OSS) phenomenon. In particular, the article explores from a theoretical point of view the comparative properties of the two main categories of OSS license--copyleft and non-copyleft licenses--in terms of their ability to stimulate innovation and coordination of development efforts. In order to do so, the paper relies on an incomplete contracting model. The model shows that, in spite of the fact that copyleft licenses entail the enjoyment of a narrower set of rights by both licensors and licensees, they may be preferred to non-copyleft licenses when coordination of complementary investments in development is important. It thus provides a non-ideologically-based explanation for the puzzling evidence showing the dominance, in terms of diffusion, of copyleft licenses.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, University of Siena in its series Department of Economics University of Siena with number 510.
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
intellectual property rights; open source; copyright; copyleft; GPL license; incentives to innovation.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
- O34 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-08-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-HRM-2007-08-18 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-ICT-2007-08-18 (Information & Communication Technologies)
- NEP-INO-2007-08-18 (Innovation)
- NEP-IPR-2007-08-18 (Intellectual Property Rights)
- NEP-KNM-2007-08-18 (Knowledge Management & Knowledge Economy)
- NEP-PPM-2007-08-18 (Project, Program & Portfolio Management)
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- Engelhardt, Sebastian v. & Freytag, Andreas, 2013.
"Institutions, culture, and open source,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 90-110.
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