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): Mark Lemley and Ziv Shafir
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

This is a small study in a single industry, one in which the users are not primarily computer programmers. Further research may reveal whether our conclusion is merely an artifact of our study universe, whether similar behavior exists in more traditional open-source software contexts, or whether the result is driven by the fact that users outside the central open-source community have not fully internalized the norms of open-source software. More study is required. But if our results are generalizable, they have a broader implication: to bring to bear the "law in action" literature to the opensource-proprietary divide. While the law—and the intent of the opensource movement—draws a sharp distinction between open-source and proprietary software, placing them effectively in different worlds, users of the software in bioinformatics appear to observe no such sharp distinction. They appear to employ a mix of open-source and proprietary software tools chosen for a variety of reasons, not merely or even primarily for their openness or appropriability. And they seem to use those software tools as they will—and not as the niceties of open-source contracts would suggest. Law may matter to makers of open-source software, but it does not appear to affect the behavior of software users.

Policy Implications as Stated By Author

This in turn inclines us to a policy of legal neutrality with regard to open-source and proprietary software. Open-source software is not “better” than proprietary software, nor the reverse. Users want— and should have—the freedom to choose the right software for their particular purposes. But legal scholars need to understand that those users are often less concerned with the niceties of software licenses than with using whatever tool seems best suited to the job at hand.

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