The current legal climate does not yet provide sufficient clarity on the workings, limits and rights conferred through licences granted on Free Open Source Software (FOSS). Generally, copyright is accepted as applying to FOSS and therefore the granted licence; by contrast, whether patents on the computer implemented invention (CII) encompassed in the software are implicitly licensed as well, is less clear. In terms of copyright, this article will examine
the lack of clarity and unison concerning certain definitions in the most commonly used licenses, including the scope of the concepts of “distribution” and “derivative” work with GNU’s General Public License (GPL) as a guideline. Patent inclusion within the grant will be set out against the nature of patent protection within the field; as well as complications
as concerned implied license grants or the lack thereof.