Open Source Software

Your expert guide to open source software law.

Open source software (OSS) offers real benefits in terms of flexibility, freedom and cost when compared to the lock-in approach used by major operating system developers. Most software code in development is now open source. OSS is subject to one of many hundreds of different licences, and because of the ease of incorporating OSS into development, typical applications can now consist of many thousands of different components, each of which needs to be licensed correctly.

Combining technical and industry knowledge with legal prowess, our team of Open Source Software legal experts possess a deep understanding of how businesses can effectively acquire, exploit, protect and optimise open source software assets, helping them to take advantage of the many opportunities and mitigate identifiable Open Source Software risks.

We were in the first tranche of Partners for the Linux Foundation’s OpenChain open source compliance project, and remain heavily involved in developing OpenChain’s practices and procedures, helping to guide OpenChain into a full ISO standard for open source software compliance in 2020. OpenChain was released as ISO/IEC 5230:2020 on 14th December 2020.

Your open source software legal partner.

As one of the foremost Open Source legal practices in Europe, we can provide unmatched expertise in compliance and advice to companies at all stages in the open source journey, and to open source projects worldwide.

Further, we have established a sister company, Orcro Limited, to provide compliance consultancy around Free and Open Source Compliance. Orcro specialises in software tooling such as Black Duck, and Fossology, and in partnership with our DevOps partners can tailor a compliance programme for your business. For more information, see

By employing novel and practical solutions, we can provide guidance to software companies, open source users, developers, licensors, projects, foundations, licensees and end-users on a range of issues including in-licensing and out-licensing, acquisitions and fundraising, intellectual property, risk mitigation and ways to integrate different open source licenses.

  • Licensing in and out
  • License development
  • Public sector contracts
  • Open source policies and procedures
  • Open source usage assessments
  • Open source transactions
  • Open source audits and remediation
  • Service level agreements
  • Termination and exit plans
  • Commercialising open source software
  • Negotiating open source licenses and collaboration arrangements
  • Open source audits
  • Open source software disputes
  • Open source risk avoidance
  • Open source usage rights and protections
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Open source liability issues
  • Dual licensing
  • Developing Open Source policies
  • Licensing source code under Open Source license
  • Joint ventures

Why choose Moorcrofts for open source software legal support?

Moorcrofts has a niche specialism in advising clients on all aspects of open source software. As a former software engineer (and qualified NeXT developer), Andrew Katz has himself released software under open source licences. So, you can be assured that you’re dealing with an experienced solicitor who has dealt with all manner of related issues himself, including:

  • Recommended by The Legal 500 and Chambers UK for our services.
  • Specialist knowledge and experience of all aspects of Open Source law.
  • A team led by a recognised leader in Open Source licensing in the UK.
  • Contributor to GPL Version 3 and a core member of the drafting team for the Eclipse License version 2.0 and the CERN Open Hardware Licence.
  • Regular speaker at Open Source Software events worldwide including FOSDEM, LinuxCon and the FSFE LLW.
  • Founder editor of the International Free & Open Source Software Law Review.
  • Visiting lecturer on Open Source Software at Queen Mary College, University of London and visiting researcher on Informatics at the Oxford Brookes University and the University of Skövde, Sweden.
  • Solicitors with market acumen who understand the commercial realities of business.
  • Professional and responsive approach, tailored precisely to your needs.
  • Access to an international network of lawyers with similar specialisms and approach.
For an initial consultation with a Free and Open Source specialist at Moorcrofts LLP, please contact Tim Astley.