Open Locks

July 8, 2016 opensource , commentary 2 min read

The Shuttleworth foundation blogged about Open Locks: legal commitments that lock in trust:

If you’re a social entrepreneur building open knowledge resources – open software, open textbooks, open science – you need people to share their knowledge, code and data with you. Your success depends on it.

Contributors to your open project invest their time and energy because they trust you with their gift to the world. So the challenge is this: How can you keep their trust? Can you seal it in for the long term?

There are many successful projects that have managed this, notably in open-source software…

How Open Locks work

An Open Lock is a binding commitment in the foundational documents of an enterprise to share knowledge under open licenses. Sometimes it includes a commitment not to close knowledge in a certain way. For example, an Open Lock could state that an enterprise will not apply for software patents.

The legal effect of an Open Lock is that no one who acts for a company has the legal authority to lock knowledge down.

And, of course, the agreement templates are available in a GitHub repository.

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avatar of Brandon Keepers I am Brandon Keepers, and I work at GitHub on making Open Source more approachable, effective, and ubiquitous. I tend to think like an engineer, work like an artist, dream like an astronaut, love like a human, and sleep like a baby.