Open-source coders rejoice: the Ninth Circuit Federal Circuit has released a decision based upon Ninth Circuit law, Jacobson v. Katzer, No. 2008-1001 (9th Cir. Aug. 13, 2008), that expands the control that authors of open-source software have regarding future distribution and modification of that work. In particular, the panel held that rather than being limited to breach-of-contract claims, the suit may go forward on a theory of copyright — along with the concomitant statutory damages and potential for attorney fees.  This decision will undoubtedly be well-cited, as open-source software continues its march to ubiquity.

Decision and coverage.