University of California recently issued guidance on open source licensing, and provided resources on understanding open source licenses, particularly with a view to informing professors and other UC personnel about the process of releasing open source code developed at the university or using university resources.
Kudos to UC for doing this (go, Bears) — more university offices of technology licensing need to understand the open source paradigm and how it benefits their professors, students and staff. Historically, universities have been laser focused on patents, and so there is a spectrum of sophistication among universities on software copyright alone, not to mention open source licensing.
These materials should be helpful to professors who — during or after their time in academia — want to start companies leveraging software and other technology developed at the university. That can be a bit of a puzzle, as the rights of the university, the individual professor, and a newly formed company need to be sorted into buckets, and sometimes licensed from the university. (If you want to know more about university technology transfer generally, see this article.)
The UC system promulgates some policies system-wide, and there are also policies for each campus.
(Thanks to Angus MacDonald, Senior Counsel, Intellectual Property at University of California for the heads-up on this information.)
The guidance below also provides information on common open source licenses and various UC IP policies.
- OSS Chart (pdf)
- OSS Chart Companion (pdf). Great flow chart on page 5 about using the red/green/yellow chart for license decisions.
- Guide to Managing Open Source Software at UC (pdf). This also contains links to lots of IP information and policies for the UC and various campuses.