Lemley and Shafir (2011)

From Copyright EVIDENCE

Advertising Architectural Publishing of books, periodicals and other publishing Programming and broadcasting Computer programming Computer consultancy Creative, arts and entertainment Cultural education

Film and motion pictures Sound recording and music publishing Photographic activities PR and communication Software publishing (including video games) Specialised design Television programmes Translation and interpretation

1. Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare 2. Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)? 3. Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors) 4. Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption) 5. Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)

A. Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right) B. Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction) C. Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing) D. Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability) E. Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts) F. Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)

Source Details

Lemley and Shafir (2011)
Title: Who Chooses Open-Source Software?
Author(s): Lemley, M. A., Shafir, Z.
Year: 2011
Citation: Lemley, M.A. and Shafir, Z., 2011. Who Chooses Open-Source Software?. The University of Chicago Law Review, pp.139-164.
Link(s): Definitive , Open Access
Key Related Studies:
Discipline:
Linked by:
About the Data
Data Description: The study uses data about one particular open source software, using a literature search to trace 178 publications citing usage of the software. The authors also used data from survey responses from 437 users of the software.
Data Type: Primary data
Secondary Data Sources:
Data Collection Methods:
Data Analysis Methods:
Industry(ies):
Country(ies):
Cross Country Study?: No
Comparative Study?: No
Literature review?: No
Government or policy study?: No
Time Period(s) of Collection:
  • 2007 to 2008
Funder(s):
  • We 
thank 
the
 National
 Human 
Genome 
Research
 Initiative 
for 
a 
generous 
grant 
supporting 
this
 work

Abstract

"Economists and legal scholars have debated the reasons people adopt open source software, and accordingly whether and to what extent the open source model can scale, replacing proprietary rights as a primary means of production. In this study, we use the release by a biotechnology company of similar software under both proprietary and open source licenses to investigate who uses open source software and why. We find that academic users are somewhat more likely to adopt open source software than private firms. We find only modest differences in the willingness of open source users to modify or improve existing programs. And we find that users of open source software often make business decisions that seem indifferent to the norms of open source distribution. Our findings cast some doubt on the penetration of the open source ethos beyond traditional software markets."

Main Results of the Study

  • Although the law and the open source movement draw a sharp distinction between open source and proprietary software, users in bioinformatics do not seem to draw such a sharp distinction.
  • Users in bioinformatics use a mix of open-source and proprietary software tools that they choose for various reasons. Users in bioinformatics seem indifferent to the openness or appropriability attached to the software they use.
  • The authors also find that a quarter of users (which includes both open-source and proprietary software users) do improve the software and release their improvements to others.
  • Improvers appear to be indifferent to the distinction between open-proprietary software to the extend that many of them seem ignore the fundamental constraint attached to open-source software.
  • The authors point out that it is unclear whether users are aware of the limitations imposed by an open source license on their behavior.
  • It is to be noted that, the authors underline the fact that this study is limited to a single industry and therefore more studies are required.


Policy Implications as Stated By Author

The authors note that their findings should encourage a policy of legal neutrality when it comes to open-source and proprietary software. They write that “Open-source software is not ‘better’ than proprietary software, nor the reverse”. Therefore, users should have the freedom to choose the software that fit their needs. The authors conclude that legal scholars need to understand that users are more concerned with using software tools that fit their needs than with the 'niceties' of software licenses.

Coverage of Study

Coverage of Fundamental Issues
Issue Included within Study
Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare
Green-tick.png
Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)?
Green-tick.png
Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors)
Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption)
Green-tick.png
Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)
Coverage of Evidence Based Policies
Issue Included within Study
Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right)
Green-tick.png
Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction)
Green-tick.png
Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing)
Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability)
Green-tick.png
Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts)
Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)

Datasets

Sample size: 1
Level of aggregation: Open Source Software
Period of material under study: 2007 to 2008


Sample size: 178
Level of aggregation: Publications
Period of material under study: 2007 to 2008


Sample size: 437
Level of aggregation: Software Users
Period of material under study: 2007 to 2008