(By You Yunting) We could find no regulation in China’s Copyright Law and Regulation on the Protection of Computer Software with regard to the open source software. In a dispute judged by Haidian People’s Court in the 1st instance and Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court in the 2nd instance, though both courts determined the validity of the open source agreement, they supported those violating the GNU GPL as failed in disclosing newly added source code could claim the copyright over the new work. To our understanding, the case, on the one hand, had showed the pragmatism of China courts, and on the other hand, it also demonstrated that the open source software organization is necessarily to be seen in the right protection on the OSS software.
(By Luo Yanjie) Abstract: In software infringement lawsuits, the plaintiff shall demonstrate itself as the rights holder of the software involved and the “substantial similarity” of the defendant’s software with its own. On the opposite side of the coin, once a defendant counters by claiming that no infringements have been made, it shall present relevant evidence; otherwise, it shall bear any disadvantages resulting from the failure to present proof of a lack of infringement. As for the case described in this essay, although it involves open source software, no definitive solution has yet been made to solve this particular legal program, to our disappointment.
Q&A on Open Source Software
Our lawyers are consulted by netizens of the open source software issue, and the following is the detail of the consultancy:
1. A question about the lawsuit object. Why the lawsuit concerning the open source software as a joint works shall be the necessary colitigation, and demands the participation of all the authors?
A: Please check the following regulation, several opinions on the application of China Civil Litigation Procedure Law by supreme people’s court.
Highlight: Although the OSS is the legal works protected by Copyright Law in China, there has promulgated few legal regulations on it. In this essay, you could know the method to protect the OSS by the current laws and regulations.
It has shown up an increasing trend to open the source code in the intellectual property practices of the world software industry, which is remarked in China by Microsoft’s decision to open part of its operating system code to China government. The protection over open source software is still a legal practices field with little specified regulations in China. However, on the other hand, most important software of China’s own intellectual property is developed on the opened source code and subject to the restriction of the OSS License. Bridge IP Commentary will introduce you the protection over the OSS under current legal environment in China and its legal status.