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Open source and the First Amendment

Where in the First Amendment does open source fall under? How is it protected?

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There is obviously no specific provision within the First Amendment to the United States Constitution that applies to open source software. More generally, software has been characterized as expression subject to the protections of the freedom of expression clause within the First Amendment and this would apply to open source software as well as proprietary software. I am unaware of any appellate court rulings that would treat open source differently, either more or less expansively, than proprietary software in this context.

This was first published in October 2005

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