24 October 2022

TIME Excellence Lecture

TIME Excellence Lecture

Please join us for a webinar on Tuesday the 25th of October 2022 at 13:00 Athens time. The speaker is Stefan Bechtold, ETH Zurich. The title of the talk is “On the Expressive Function of Open Source". This work-in-progress, using GitHub data, explores whether programmers adhere to open-source licenses or disregard them.

This webinar is free and open to all. The moderator is Dr. Andreas Panagopoulos. 

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 964 7954 1729

Abstract: Open-source software poses a conundrum: Open-source software licenses outline clear conditions under which licensed code can be reused. However, these licenses are rarely litigated, many open-source developers do not seem to care about the restrictions imposed by them, and developer communities are often widespread global networks with limited social ties. As a result, it is unclear what role open-source licenses play in governing and guiding software code re-use and cumulative innovation. In particular, the low-enforcement environment might suggest that compliance with software licenses could be low. Our study investigates whether developers comply with open-source software licenses. Analyzing a large network of code reuse hosted on GitHub, we present evidence suggesting that license compliance matters for cumulative innovation even in a low-enforcement environment. In particular, software governed by copyleft licenses is re-used less often than software governed by permissive licenses. We link our findings to the debate on the expressive function of law and discuss the implications for open-source software development and follow-on innovation.

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