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Le logiciel libre : une nouvelle approche de la propriété intellectuelle


  • Nicolas Jullien
  • J.-B. Zimmermann


[eng] Though software intellectual property could not satisfactorily fall into any existing legal framework, all countries have taken the decision to range it under the category of copyright. Then the double objective of intellectual property protection is not satisfied, which consists, on the one hand, to grant to the inventor a provisional monopoly for exploiting his invention and, on the other hand, to oblige him to disclose the principles of his invention. To resort to the patents system as it became more and more usual in the US and which is in debate in Europe, raise other kind of problems. Now the alternative model of Open Source Software, based on a very peculiar juridical tool called GPL « General Public Licence », tends to take a growing importance. Its main principle is to impose to its adopters to disclose the source-code of the concerned programs and of any further improvement, as well as the free circulation of the code under the sole condition to maintain its « open » character. A growing number of enterprises began to « free » part of their software products, by joining the GPL status or introducing their own « hybrid » licences, in order to control the extent of their openness. By doing that they introduce a totally different approach of intellectual property within their industrial strategies. [fre] Bien que, tant sur le plan juridique que sur le plan économique, la propriété intellectuelle du logiciel ne trouve une solution satisfaisante dans aucun des cadres existants disponibles, la totalité des législations a pris le parti de la classer dans la catégorie du droit d'auteur. Aussi, le double objectif de la protection de la propriété intellectuelle qui consiste, d'un côté, à accorder à l'inventeur un monopole temporaire pour l'exploitation de son invention et, de l'autre, à exiger de sa part qu'il dévoile les principes de son invention, n'est pas satisfait. Le recours aux brevets, qui est devenu de plus en plus courant aux États-Unis et qui se pose à la législation européenne, soulève quant à lui d'autres problèmes. Or le modèle alternatif des logiciels libres, fondé sur un outil juridique particulier dit GPL « General Public Licence », tend dans le même temps à prendre une importance grandissante. Le principe essentiel en est d'imposer, à celui qui l'accepte, de dévoiler le code-source des programmes concernés et de toutes les modifications qui pourraient lui être apportées, mais aussi la libre circulation du code sous la seule condition de conserver son caractère « ouvert ». Un nombre croissant d'entreprises ont commencé à « libérer » une partie de leurs programmes, en ralliant le statut des licences GPL ou en introduisant leurs propres licences « hybrides », afin de contrôler la portée de leur ouverture. Elles introduisent par là une approche fondamentalement différente de la propriété intellectuelle au cœur de leurs stratégies industrielles.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Jullien & J.-B. Zimmermann, 2002. "Le logiciel libre : une nouvelle approche de la propriété intellectuelle," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 99(1), pages 159-178.
  • Handle: RePEc:prs:recind:rei_0154-3229_2002_num_99_1_3021 Note: DOI:10.3406/rei.2002.3021

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Marie CORIS (E3i, IFReDE-GRES), 2005. "Free software opportunities for developing countries (In French)," Cahiers du GRES (2002-2009) 2005-03, Groupement de Recherches Economiques et Sociales.
    2. Fabienne Orsi & Jean-Benoît Zimmermann, 2011. "Propriété intellectuelle et globalisation: des TRIPS au modèle open-source. Les exemples des médicaments et du logiciel," Working Papers halshs-00561477, HAL.

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