The number of different open source licenses is growing and the variation in their terms and complexity is increasing. A number of licenses that appear to be, or are commonly referred to as “open source” do not actually meet the Open Source Initiative (OSI) definition of “open source.” Thus, they do not appear on the OSI list of approved open source licenses. We like to say that these licenses are open source-ish! The lack of standard definition of “open source” can lead to potential legal issues and business problems, particularly in connection with investments or acquisitions in companies that use software covered by such licenses. This is relevant to both companies that use open source software (OSS) and potential investors in or acquirors of those companies.
A controversial new open source license designed for use with decentralized applications was recently approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). The Cryptographic Autonomy License (CAL) claims to be the first open source license specifically designed to protect end users’ rights and ownership of data and control of their cryptographic keys. Continue Reading
Microsoft has announced a partnership with Enjin to offer a blockchain based recognition program. Azure Heroes aims to reward individuals for verifiable acts of impact such as coaching, creating demos, building sample code, blogging about Azure or completing certain challenges. Community members that have demonstrated their contributions will be recognized with badges across a number of categories. Azure Heroes is branded as a new and fun way to earn digital collectibles for meaningful impact in the technical community. Continue Reading
For the first time since 2007, the Recording Industry Association of America is reporting that the United States retail music market is on its way to becoming a $10 billion market. Streaming royalties account for a majority of this growth along with new use cases entering the marketplace. New technologies and content offerings have and continue to drive this growth. Innovation in the music production and distribution spaces lowered the barriers to entry, allowing unsigned artists to create professional recordings and distribute their music worldwide. This changing landscape ⸺ including the proliferation of music streaming and new licensing schemes ⸺ has underscored the need for advancements to streamline licensing processes, track, collect and pay royalties, and facilitate more efficient contractual processes. Continue Reading
The leaders of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Agencies”) issued a joint statement to remind persons engaged in activities involving digital assets of their anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). This joint statement provides further clarity on some of the many laws potentially applicable to crypto currency and other digital assets and highlights the need for anyone operating in the space to obtain legal advice to understand their legal compliance obligations. According to the statement, AML/CFT obligations apply to entities that the BSA defines as “financial institutions,” such as futures commission merchants and introducing brokers obligated to register with the CFTC, money services businesses (MSBs) as defined by FinCEN, and broker-dealers and mutual funds obligated to register with the SEC. Among those AML/CFT obligations are the requirement to establish and implement an effective anti-money laundering program (AML Program and recordkeeping and reporting requirements, including suspicious activity reporting (SAR) requirements.) Continue Reading
We previously reported on how popular open source has been under attack from patent assertion entities. The attacks continue. The GNOME Foundation recently acknowledged that it was sued for patent infringement by Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC. The allegedly infringing product is Shotwell, a free and open source personal photo manager. Neil McGovern, Executive Director for the GNOME Foundation says “We have retained legal counsel and intend to vigorously defend against this baseless suit.” The suit alleges infringement of a single patent 9,936,086 titled “Wireless Image Distribution System and Method.” Continue Reading
According to a recent report, the new chair of the CFTC, Heath Tarbert, has declared that he believes that ether is a commodity. He also anticipates ether futures trading on U.S. markets in the near future. The CFTC has previously taken the position that bitcoin also is a commodity. He further indicated that he agrees with the SEC that bitcoin and ether are not securities. He also opined that similar assets should be treated similarly. Continue Reading
Where does my prescription come from? Has it been altered or diluted? Can I trust the label? With millions of prescriptions filled each year, quality control and security across the pharmaceutical supply chain seems like a herculean task. In an attempt to slay this proverbial hydra, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developed a new pilot program – the DSCSA Blockchain Interoperability Pilot (the “Blockchain Pilot”) – which aims to use blockchain to create a secure electronic, interoperable system that tracks and traces certain prescription drugs as they are distributed in the United States. Continue Reading
Recent developments in the energy sector indicate that blockchain technology is being embraced to address a range of issues including network security and improved integration of renewable generation and demand response resources. This emerging technology continues to have the potential to become a disrupter in the energy industry. Continue Reading
The chances are high that your company uses open source software (“OSS”) in some capacity. While the benefits of OSS are clear, it is also clear that OSS can pose significant legal risks that must be addressed. The best way to manage these risks is to have a clearly written and enforced OSS policy. To understand why these policies are necessary, it is first necessary to understand the risks of not having one. Our recent paper identifies some of the key legal issues to understand when using OSS followed by some of the elements to consider in such a policy.