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on February 6, 2017
What distinguishes this book is context - it puts open source in the context of economics and real-life IP concerns. It isn't just about the legalese. It talks about the purposes of intellectual property and how we make agreements about how to share and sell that IP. No other book addresses concerns like employment agreements, contracts, and nonprofit organizations, all of which are essential to successfully working with open source today.
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on May 24, 2011
I am an attorney with a decent background in the basics of intellectual property. I bought this book because I wanted to learn more about IP issues related to open source licensing. While this book isn't really written for an attorney audience I still found it to be very useful. In addition to dealing with the important legal issues related to open source licenses the book also does a great job of discussing and analyzing the economics and community issues that are critical to understanding the open source movement in general. He also does an excellent job of discussing the various theories and philosophies behind the open source movement which I think are important to understand for those who are really interested in having a thorough understanding of open source. The author is an attorney and programmer and the book is geared more towards an audience who has a decent background or knowledge in computer programming. If you do not have a background in computer programming some of the examples and analogies the author uses are a bit hard to follow but in most cases I did not find it was critical to fully understand the examples to understand the author's point. Overall I think it is a great book for developers who work on open source platforms and for attorneys who are looking for an general overview or introduction to the legal issues which surround open source software.
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on October 14, 2016
Pithy read but lays out all of the facts on open source licensing with use cases.
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on May 6, 2015
A clear, concise read for anyone writing software. Required material for knowing basic definitions, and what you sign away in Proprietary Information Agreements.
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on November 19, 2010
The book goes through the various types of IP, explaining the difference between trademarks, patents, trade secrets and, of course, copyright. It does it in a language that is explicitly designed for software engineered (although at times I found the metaphors either too strained or too cute), and explains *open legal issues* well (clearly classifying things as an educated guess or an accepted precedent). If you do software, not just open source software, you owe it to yourself to understand the issues!
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on May 30, 2011
There really is no other book available that I can find to open your eyes to the legal stuff if you want to make some software, use some software, or run a web business.

It covers a lot of ground and options, most which you will not be needing. That type of basic reference and knowledge is just the beginning.

I would read this before I started talking to lawyers just to see if they know what they are talking about.
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on February 28, 2009
I've read quite a few books on this topic; so far this has been the best. First of all, the author doesn't only cover open source license (like previous books from O'Reilly did), he goes deeper, explaining how current IP's laws affect the whole software business. The chapters on patents, copyright, trade secrets and contracts bring more depth and make this a valuable book for anybody working in the IT industry, even for people not involved in developing or using open source projects
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on September 9, 2008
This book is an excellent resource for anyone involved in technology products. It is a first class primer on intellectual property and uses examples familiar to technical people. There is unavoidable legal discussions but they are presented in a manner that makes it easy to understand.

Anyone in a technology oriented field, especially the computer industry, should read this book.
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on October 27, 2014
A super helpful text. The section on the GPL is particularly helpful.
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on April 21, 2012
It seems like the publisher added "Open Source" to the title in order to sell the book. I wanted a book that would explain the differences between different types of Open Source licenses so I could read and negotiate a license. This book is a general treatise on Intellectual Property and other miscellaneous concepts. In fact, Chapter 14 is even devoted to how to create a non-profit entity.

Is it a bad book? For some who want to read 358 pages to get a rudamentary and general understanding of the goals of Intellectual Property, maybe not. For me and others who rely on the title and description to get an in-depth treatment of Open Source licenses, IMHO, it's a waste of time.
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