Monday, 22 January 2007

Open Source Licensing and other perplexing issues

We have started to look at all the licensing and Intellectual Property Right (IPR) issues that surround the project. This is all leading up to the writing of the consortium agreement and the future open source release of WebPA.

I never imagined that choosing the potential licence that we would use could be so difficult. Deciding on one licence from over 50 different availabe types is so difficult. So far we have narrowed the choice down to five, which we will ultimately pick from after checking with the consortium and receiving legal advice. This is really a legal mine field for us, selecting the wrong one will have an effect on the project and the WebPA system for the rest of its life.

But there are other issues as well. We have to make sure that we have any potential third party agreements drawn up and ensure that they are in line with the consortium agreement. This is not the end, the list of potential agreements and licences goes on. Trying to anticipate what we might do with WebPA now, and in the foreseeable future is mind blowing. We are going to end up with a mass of agreements covering all possibilities, and whether they all get used or not is a completely separate issue again.

As of yet we still have not decided on how we are going to deal with all the WebPA users who will become part of the group that research is carried out on. All bets are off as I foresee having to write agreements with them on what data will be collected and how it will all be handled. At the moment I can see no end of licences and agreements blossoming out of the project, but as they say it is better to be safe than sorry, so we may as well be well informed from the beginning, and not get bitten further into the project.

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