Do you have the right to copy source code written and developed by someone else? The answer to this question depends on the situation; however, even in the context of open innovation, intellectual property rights will be the starting point for any analysis required to obtain such an answer. In the software industry, open-source licences allow anyone to access the source code of corresponding software, free of charge and with few restrictions. The goal is generally to promote the improvement of this code by encouraging as many people as possible to use it. Linus Torval, the programmer of the Linux kernel (certainly one of the most well-known open-source projects) recently stated that without the open-source approach, his project would probably not have survived.1 However, this approach has legal consequences: Vizio was recently hit with a lawsuit alleging non-compliance with an open-sourceGPL licence used in the SmartCast OS software embedded in some of its televisions. It is being sued by Software Freedom Conservancy (“SFC”), an American non-profit promoting and defending open-source licences. As part of its lawsuit, SFC alleges, among other things, that Vizio was required to distribute the SmartCast OS source code under the above-mentioned open-source GPLlicence, which Vizio failed to do, thereby depriving consumers of their rights2. In Canadian law, section 3 of the Copyright Act3 gives the author the exclusive right to produce or reproduce all or any substantial part of an original work. This principle has been adopted by all signatories of the 1886 Berne Convention, i.e., almost every country in the world. A licence agreement, which may inter alia confer the right to reproduce the work of another person, can take different forms. It also establishes the extent of the rights conferred and the terms and conditions of any permitted use. However, not all open-source licences are equivalent. Many allow creators to attach various conditions to the right to use the code that has been made available. Under these licences, anyone may use the work or software, but subject to the following constraints, depending on the type of licence in effect: Obligation to display: An open-source licence may require disclosure of certain information in the software or in the source code itself, such as the following: The author’s name or pseudonym, or even maintaining the anonymity of the author, depending on their wishes, and/or a citation of the title of the work or software; The user licence of the redistributed open-source work or software; A modification note for each modified file; and A warranty disclaimer. Contribution obligations: Some licences require the sharing of any modifications made to the open-source code, with said modifications being under the same licence conditions. In some cases, this obligation extends to any software that incorporates the open-source code. In other words, code derived from open-source material can itself become open-source. This obligation to contribute can generally be categorized as follows: Any redistribution must be done under the original licence, making the result open-source as well; Any redistribution of the code, modified or not, must be done under the original licence, but other code may be associated or added without being subject to the open-source licence; or Any redistribution is done without any sharing constraints. Ban on commercialization: Some licences prohibit any use for commercial purposes. Apache v2 Level of obligation to contribute upon redistributionAny redistribution of the software, modified or not, or with added components, must be done under the terms of the original licence. Mandatory elements to display Licence of the redistributed open-source software Identification of any changes made to the code Copyright notice Warranty disclaimer Commercial use permittedYes BSD Level of obligation to contribute upon redistributionAny redistribution of the software can be done without any obligation to share. Mandatory elements to display Copyright notice Warranty disclaimer Commercial use permittedYes CC BY-NC 4.0 Level of obligation to contribute upon redistributionAny redistribution of the software can be done without any obligation to share. Mandatory elements to display Licence of the redistributed open-source software Identification of any changes made to the code Copyright notice Warranty disclaimer Commercial use permittedNo CC0 1.0 Level of obligation to contribute upon redistributionAny redistribution of the software can be done without any obligation to share. Mandatory elements to display Licence of the redistributed open-source software Commercial use permittedYes GPLv3 Level of obligation to contribute upon redistributionAny redistribution of the software, modified or not, or with added components, must be done under the terms of the original licence Mandatory elements to display Licence of the redistributed open-source software Identification of any changes made to the code Copyright notice Warranty disclaimer Commercial use permittedYes, but sub-licensing is not allowed LGPLv3 Level of obligation to contribute upon redistributionAny redistribution of the software, modified or not, must be done under the terms of the original licence. New components can be added, but not integrated, under other non-open-source licences Mandatory elements to display Licence of the redistributed open-source software Identification of any changes made to the code Copyright notice Warranty disclaimer Commercial use permittedYes MIT Level of obligation to contribute upon redistributionAny redistribution of the software can be done without any obligation to share. Mandatory elements to display Licence of the redistributed open-source software Copyright notice Warranty disclaimer Commercial use permittedYes It is important to make programming teams aware of the issues that can arise when using modules governed by what are known as “viral licences” (such as the CC BY-NC 4.0 licence) in the design of commercial software. Such software could lose significant value if such modules are incorporated, making it difficult or even impossible to commercialize said software. In the context of open innovation where developers want to share their code, in particular to encourage collaboration, it is important to understand the scope of these different licences. The choice of the appropriate licence must be made based on the project’s objectives. Also, keep in mind that it is not always possible to change the licence used for the distribution of the code once said distribution has commenced. That means the choice of licence can have long-term consequences for any project. David Cassel, Linus Torvalds on Community, Rust and Linux's Longevity, The NewStack, Oct. 1, 2021, online: https://thenewstack.io. See the SFC press release: https://sfconservancy.org/copyleft-compliance/vizio.html. RSC 1985, c. C-42.
Catherine Voyer Lawyer
- Québec, 2020
Catherine Voyer practises primarily in Business and Labour Law. She joined the Lavery team in 2019 as a student, for her second co-op placement. Me Voyer completed her Bachelor of Laws in Co-operative Studies from the Université de Sherbrooke in 2019.
Me Voyer worked at a law firm for her first co-op internship. In the fall of 2019, she also conducted a clinical activity at the Court of Quebec in Sherbrooke with the Honourable Judge Gagnon.
- Dean’s Honour Roll of the Faculty of Law at the Université de Sherbrooke, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019
- LL.B., Université de Sherbrooke, 2019
On February 6, 2023, Agendrix, a workforce management software company, announced that it had achieved certification in two globally recognized data security and privacy standards, ISO/IEC 27001:2013 and ISO/IEC 27701:2019. This made it one of the first staff scheduling and time clock software providers in Canada to obtain these certifications. The company is proactively engaging in all matters related to the security and confidentiality of the data processed by its web and mobile applications. The ISO/IEC 27001:2013 standard is aimed at improving information security systems. For Agendrix’s customers, that means its products comply with the highest information security standards. ISO/IEC 27701:2019 provides a framework for the management and handling of personal information and sensitive data. This certification confirms that Agendrix follows best practices and complies with applicable laws. A Lavery team composed of Eric Lavallée, Dave Bouchard, Ghiles Helli and Catherine Voyer supported Agendrix in obtaining these two certifications. More specifically, our professionals assisted Agendrix in the review of their standard contract with their customers, as well as in the implementation of policies and various internal documents essential to the management of personal information and information security. Agendrix was founded in 2015, and the Sherbrooke-based company now has over 150,000 users in some 13,000 workplaces. Its personnel management software is a leader in Quebec in the field of work schedule management for small and medium-sized businesses. Agendrix’s mission is to make management more human-centred by developing software that simplifies the lives of front-line employees. Today, the company employs more than 45 people.
On June 18, 2021, Avril Supermarché, an independent, Quebec-based health food store chain, announced the closing of a transaction under which Desjardins Capital became a minority shareholder in order to support the chain’s growth in Quebec. The financing obtained will support Avril’s development plan, which includes opening a dozen more supermarkets over the next five years. The transaction was preceded by a major corporate reorganization. Lavery Lawyers feels privileged that Avril Supermarché, a long-standing client, reaffirmed its confidence in the firm by allowing it to contribute to Avril’s growth and support its founders and managers, Sylvie Senay and Rolland Tanguay, in all stages of the transaction. The Lavery team that worked with Avril Supermarché was led by Christian Dumoulin and composed of Jean-François Bilodeau, Dave Bouchard, Sophie Goulet, Katy Pelletier and Catherine Voyer.
Lavery is pleased to announce that it has hired nine of its articling students as lawyers. Marc-Antoine Bigras joins the Administrative Law group. Before beginning his legal studies, Marc-Antoine completed a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Certificate in German, which allowed him to study in Germany and Austria. During his legal studies, Marc-Antoine developed a passion for constitutional and administrative law. As part of his professional training, Marc-Antoine had the opportunity to work at the Mile End Legal Clinic as an articling student. Frédéric Boivin Couillard joins the Business Law group. He also holds a Bachelor of Commerce with a specialization in Finance from the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University. Upon completing this degree, he participated in an academic exchange at the University of New South Wales in Australia. As a student, he worked in portfolio management for an independent firm in Montréal. Frédéric passed all three levels of the CFA Program and may be awarded the charter upon completion of the required work experience. Laurence Clavet joins the Business Law group. During her law studies, Laurence was involved as an articling student at the Mile End Legal Clinic. Prior to her legal studies, Laurence developed expertise in communication and worked in a post-production studio specializing in advertising, dubbing and original music composition. Renaud Gravel joins the Litigation and Conflict Resolution group. During these studies, he also worked as a clinician at the Clinique juridique corporative de l’UQAM. Being committed to diversity and inclusion, Renaud served for over two years on the executive committee of Fier Départ/Start Proud as chair of the Montréal chapter. Emma-Sophie Hall joins the Labour and Employment Law group. Concurrently with her university studies, Emma-Sophie was coordinator of the Centre d’entraide à l'étude in the Sherbrooke law faculty. In the fall of 2017, she conducted a clinical activity at the Court of Québec in Sherbrooke with the Honourable Justice Aubé. Étienne Laplante joins our Taxation group. The research he participated in during his studies and the passion he developed for tax policy issues have led him to give a lecture at the graduate level in law, since 2018, on the Quebec refundable tax credit system. Solveig Ménard-Castonguay joins the Administrative Law group. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in international relations and foreign policy from Université Laval. During her law studies, she had the opportunity to volunteer with the national Pro Bono Network. Solveig has also been a speaker for the SEUR project, which promotes student retention among high school students. Louis Morin joins the Litigation and Conflict Resolution group. Before beginning his legal studies, he completed a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Political Studies, which allowed him to complete a semester of study at the University of Vilnius in Lithuania. Catherine Voyer joins the Business Law group. She joined Lavery’s team in 2018 for her second co-op placement. In the fall of 2019, she conducted a clinical activity at the Court of Québec in Sherbrooke with the Honourable Justice Gagnon.