Quanli Zhao

Date of Award


Author's School

School of Law

Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)

Degree Type



Intellectual property right, an exclusive right with a strong monopoly manner, has been involved in the contradiction between incentive for innovation and free competition for a long time. In the 21st century, the rapid development of information and Internet technology holds enormous progress for accelerating the social and economic revolution and also brought criticism and development of intellectual property theory. In this context, open source movement has developed critical and distinct norms under the “free” and “sharing” concepts to promote the progress and dissemination of software. Notably, open source software has achieved impressive success technically and commercially under the spirit of the open source movement. Conversely, the success has initiated the author to reconsider and reconstruct the current copyright framework.

This dissertation has five chapters. The first chapter introduces the development of open source software and open source movement for the preliminary understanding of the research background. The second chapter analyzes the contractual features of open source license from three dimensions, including the general feature of open source license, the specific open source license provision, and the analysis of GPLv3. The third chapter examines the copyright issues in enforcing open source licenses and the potential inconsistency between the copyright system and open source software. The fourth chapter elaborates on the technology applications of open source software including static linking, dynamic linking, and API in accordance with the copyright theories. Eventually, the fifth chapter has constructed the moral rights regime to reconcile the contradictions between the current copyright law and open source software.

Chair and Committee

Dissertation Examination Committee: John Drobak, Kevin Collins, Gerrit De Geest

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