Open Source

As a public university with a research mission and dedication to public service, the philosophies of open source software are natural for campus developers to follow where applicable.

Software is Special

Please note: The following text was copied from http://research.ucdavis.edu/industry/ia/researchers/copyright/distributing-work/#special on January 30, 2017.

Software may be protected by both patent and copyright. Because copyright ownership is based on authorship, and because software is often developed by multiple programmers, copyright ownership of software developed in the course of research at UC Davis can be quite complex, as it can include faculty, current and past graduate students, undergraduates, and staff as well as visitors. For more information, see the UC Policy on Copyright Ownership. Depending on the nature of the software, it may be more appropriate to complete a Record of Invention than a Proposal to Distribute (both forms here).

A common question is about “open source” (OS) licenses, which means simply that source code is available in some way, including under a secrecy agreement or at a cost. In the spirit of sharing our research for the public good, the concept is a good one. University policy is to encourage use of its intellectual property freely for academic and scholarly research, and to get a “fair return” when appropriate, such as on commercial distributions. However, there are hundreds of OS licenses, including some which don’t actually do what their reputation says. Therefore, some OS licenses are prohibited for use on Regents’-owned code.

For example, rather than encouraging broad, open use of source code, the “GPL” (GNU General Public License) and the Apache 2.0 put strict, permanent limits on redistribution. On the opposite end, the BSD (Berkeley Software Development), one of the original OS licenses, allows pretty much any use by anyone including allowing someone to commercialize code they didn’t write. That’s not acceptable for reasons related to research grants and the public university licensing principles which the University of California endorses.

The most common OS license used at UC Davis is a variation of the BSD, which allows free use by nonprofit research institutions without requiring a formal individual license, but directs potential commercial users to ask first in the event there should be limits or shared revenue is appropriate.

If you have used any code that you obtained elsewhere in your own code, even if you modified it heavily for your own use, you must know the license that applied to that code when you obtained it, as it may dictate/limit your distribution rights. As a general rule, while you may obtain and use code obtained under these OS licenses (except for the MPL), you may not (re)distribute code obtained under or using the following OS licenses without advance approval:

Apache 2.0 on Common Public License (CPL) Eclipse Public License 1.0 GNU General Public License 3.0 on (GPL) Lesser General Public License (LGPL) Mozilla Public License 2.0 (MPL) There are other OS licenses which allow sharing of source code without violating university policies.

A Material Transfer Agreement is not the right way to transfer software, as it does not use the proper legal copyright or proprietary protection language and can permanently damage our ability to share it.

For more information, contact copyright (at) ucdavis (dot) edu.

Modified BSD License

The following license example has been used to open source UC Davis software previously but is not necessarily the license you can or should use. Please consult the materials above. This license example is only reproduced here as convenience.

PROJECT_NAME is the proprietary property of The Regents of the University of California ("The Regents") and is copyright © YEAR The Regents of the University of California, Davis campus. All Rights Reserved. 

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted by nonprofit educational or research institutions for noncommercial use only, provided that the following conditions are met:

* Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer. 
* Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution. 
* The name or other trademarks of The Regents may not be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.

The end-user understands that the program was developed for research purposes and is advised not to rely exclusively on the program for any reason.

THE SOFTWARE PROVIDED IS ON AN "AS IS" BASIS, AND THE REGENTS HAVE NO OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE MAINTENANCE, SUPPORT, UPDATES, ENHANCEMENTS, OR MODIFICATIONS. THE REGENTS SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE REGENTS BE LIABLE TO ANY PARTY FOR DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, EXEMPLARY OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO  PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES, LOSS OF USE, DATA OR PROFITS, OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, HOWEVER CAUSED AND UNDER ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE AND ITS DOCUMENTATION, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

If you do not agree to these terms, do not download or use the software.  This license may be modified only in a writing signed by authorized signatory of both parties.

For license information please contact copyright@ucdavis.edu re T11-005.