No decent writer would blatantly steal a fellow author’s piece of work and call it their own, as that would be plagiarizing or intellectual property theft. Not only does this deceptive act have major legal repercussions—such as hefty lawsuits—but it also undermines the potential for future collaboration between two creators.

In this same vein, members of the open source community must abide by certain regulations so that the free flow of ideas and innovation can continue without facing potential controversy. For example, an open source Web developer can modify previously established open source code, but only if it adheres to the code’s licensing guidelines and always originates back to the base source code. In doing so, Web developers credit the individual that originally created the code, just as writers must quote and include citations for words taken from another authors piece of work.

In order to standardize a sound collaboration, members of the open source community employ what’s called “copyleft”. This is a policy which states that software can be used, modified and distributed but only so long as it is in compliance with an established set of ground rules and conditions. As such, developers can easily add their own contributions to existing code and integrate it with other software.

Additionally, the policy allows companies to distribute software that contains this source code. This is how open source code could easily land within a business’s IT infrastructure without them ever being aware, which raises another issue. When organizations use open source software they might not be fully aware of the many components of that particular technology. For instance, the software may contain several third-party elements that couldn’t initially be detected. As such, businesses run the risk of becoming incompliant with a particular code’s licensing or intellectual property agreement.

To mitigate the risks associated with noncompliance in open source licensing agreements, organizations must make it their standard operating procedure to utilize intellectual property software audit services.  By using this advanced auditing service organizations can raise the awareness of potential vulnerabilities and hightlight risks.

So, it’s a Web developer’s duty to ensure they aren’t acting as the plagiarists of the technology world and it’s a business’s duty to ensure they are compliant with open source rules and regulations.

open source compliance, security