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Public provision of a private good: What is the point of the BSD license?

Alexia Gaudeul ()

Industrial Organization from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: Software is a potentially excludable public good. It is possible, at some cost, to exclude non-paying users from its consumption by using copyright law or technological restraints. Licensing the software under proprietary license terms makes of it a private good, licensing it under the BSD does not change the economic nature of the software while licensing it under the GPL artificially makes of it a pure public good. A project leader will prefer one or the other of those license terms depending on her software project’s market potential and on the cost of developing it. The optimal licensing for a sequence of cumulative innovations and the impact of possible competition between rival software development teams are considered.

Keywords: Open Source Software; Public Goods; Information Goods; Non- Profit; Volunteer Organisation; Intellectual Property; Copyright; Licensing; Innovation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D23 D45 D71 H41 H42 K11 L31 L86 O31 O32 O34 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ino, nep-law, nep-pbe and nep-pub
Date: 2005-11-09
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 41
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