Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is free to use and can be downloaded from the Internet. This paper argues that adaptations that combine community source licensed software with an organization’s own intellectual property can trigger “viral” terms of the community source licenses in unexpected ways. The author proposes a model framework for analyzing software combinations to determine whether the viral terms are triggered, and illustrate that analysis against various technical combinations of community-sourced and proprietary software. Author Footnote: Vice President and General Counsel, Serlio Software Development Corporation; J.D. MarquetteUniversity Law School; B.S. University of Washington.
Ron Phillips, Deadly Combinations: A Framework for Analyzing the GPL’s Viral Effect, 25 J. Marshall J. Computer & Info. L. 487 (2008)