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OSS Production and Licensing Strategies of Software Firms

15 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2008  

Heli A. Koski

ETLA, Research Institute of the Finnish Economy


This study sheds light on the relatively recently emerged new business models employing open source activities in the software industry. We analyze data from 73 Finnish OSS companies' product type (i.e. proprietary vs. OSS product) and license type (i.e. the copyleft vs. non-copyleft licenses)choices. Our data indicate that firm ownership structure has a major influence on software firms' business strategies. Family owned firms tend to rely on the traditional proprietary software in their product selection, whereas diffusely held companies are more likely to supply OSS products. We also find that more service oriented firms are likely to offer more complementary products and further supply their products more often under the OS licenses. Moreover, the market trends concerning a firm's software products affect the license type decisions of the software firms. Consistent with the international data on the dominance of the Apache server that is released under the non-copyleft license, we find that servers are more likely to be licensed under the non-copyleft license. Our estimation results further suggest that a more restrictive form of open source licenses, the copyleft license, is used more often in those companies that have participated in open source software development projects. This finding is consistent with earlier studies that have found that more than 70% of the OSS development projects employ the GPL copyleft license.

Keywords: Licensing

Suggested Citation

Koski, Heli A., OSS Production and Licensing Strategies of Software Firms. Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 111-125, 2005. Available at SSRN:

Heli A. Koski (Contact Author)

ETLA, Research Institute of the Finnish Economy ( email )

Lonnrotink. 4 B
FIN-00120 Helsinki
358 9 60990 250 (Phone)
358 9 601 753 (Fax)

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