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BusinessWire: 'Viral' Open-Source License Can Destroy Software's Value

Nov 25, 2003, 00:00 (36 Talkback[s])

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"'Your employee could grab a piece of open-source code off the Internet and you no longer have a proprietary product. Your $50,000 software package is now worth zero,' Steve Henry, a senior intellectual property lawyer with Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C., told the Software Business 2003 Conference in Boston.

"This 'time bomb' lurks because a popular license for open source, the GNU General Public License, (GPL) is 'viral.' The license attaches to any product with GPL-licensed code, including a derivative work, he said. The entire software package becomes open source and the company thus must distribute it freely and let anyone copy it. A widely used open-source utility, for instance, could 'infect' hundreds of software products and destroy their commercial value..."

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