skip to Main Content

Open Source – what are the legal risks for companies?

Open Source is very widely used within companies, but it is poorly understood and managed from a legal perspective.

The main legal risk of Open Source is the non-compliance with Open Source licenses.

There is a wide variety of Open Source licenses – some are very permissive, while others require significant obligations on users. Copyleft licenses can have a « viral effect », which means that proprietary and confidential source codes may have to be revealed to the public.

Under French IP law, non-compliance can lead to both civil and criminal sanctions.

In the context of an acquisition, for example, the seller has to show that its policies are followed and prepare materials, in order to provide the buyer with a clear vision of its use of Open Source components. On the buyer’s side, the key is to identify the risks associated with the use of Open Source by the target and to insert Open Source-related provisions in the agreement terms.

Solutions Lawways provides to its clients include:

  • Legal audit of the licenses governing the source code
  • The drafting and implementation of an Open Source Policy
  • The drafting and implementation of an Open Source Contribution Policy
  • The organisation of training sessions for developers

For more information, please contact Gilles Rouvier :


Back To Top