Legal Release of Closed Source under Open Source License

Cinly Ooi cinly.ooi at
Mon Aug 9 16:29:39 UTC 2010

Dear Andrrew et al,

On 9 August 2010 08:56, Andrew Cutler <andrew at> wrote:

> What is the generally accepted method of obtaining legal release for
> existing closed-source code?
Through your legal department. Period.

They disagree, you don't release. They agree, then there is a whole set of
formality and investigation needed, including, particularly in your case,
checking whether you have a written agreement with your client to release it
under an open source license, or you do not need their consent at all.

At the mean time, you need to establish what you think is the ownership
chain of the software. This means looking at the current code, tracking all
ownership all the way up to and including the first revision, or if the code
comes from third parties, what license you obtain the code under. You might
be surprise to find hidden skeletons in the closet.

After you know you have the rights to release the code, select your open
source license based on the constrain imposed onto you by your employer,
client or third party software you used.

This is not legal advise and I am not a lawyer.

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