Strange Loop

Sept 30 - Oct 2, 2021


Union Station


St. Louis, MO

Register for 2021!

The Basics of Copyright and Licensing for Software Developers

Whether you realise it or not, copyright flows through every element of the software that you build and use. Every line of code or documentation you write, every external library you import, every UI element you design, are all covered by copyright.

If software development were a map, the region for copyright and licensing would be labeled "Here Be Dragons." Without a basic understanding of the concepts of copyright and licensing, you could be putting yourself and your employer at risk of crushing intellectual property lawsuits.

In this talk I'll present the basics of copyright and licensing as it relates to software development in general and free and open source software in particular. Some of the topics I will cover:

When is your work copyrightable?
 Who owns the copyright to what you create?
 What is a license and why does it matter?
 What's so special about free and open source licenses, anyway?
 When do you have to hire a lawyer?

VM (Vicky) Brasseur

VM (Vicky) Brasseur

VM (aka Vicky) spent most of her twenty-plus years in the tech industry leading software development departments and teams, providing corporate strategy, technical management, and leadership consulting for businesses, helping companies understand, use, release, and contribute to free and open source software in a way that’s good for both their bottom line and for the community. She is the author of Forge Your Future with Open Source, the first and only book to detail how to contribute to free and open source software projects. The book is published by The Pragmatic Programmers and is available at Vicky has been a moderator and author for, an author for Linux Journal, the Vice President of the Open Source Initiative, and is a frequent and popular speaker at free/open source conferences and events. She’s the proud winner of the Perl White Camel Award (2014), the O’Reilly Open Source Award (2016), and two Moderator’s Choice Awards (2018, 2019). She blogs about free/open source, business, and technical management at {anonymous => ‘hash’};.