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Legal aspects of the Information Society


Legal aspects of the Information Society is a fundamental module for those who want to understand Free Software and how to contribute and benefit from it in a safe and legal way. Concepts like existing legal systems of software protection - copyright, patents, trademark and key concepts like Copyleft and free licenses - will provide a general background upon which practical skills for different contexts can be built.

This module aims to provide the knowledge and tools that are needed to assess the possible legal issues that can arise in a Free Technology environment. After completing this module, learners will be able to answer common questions and doubts, and to take the right decisions from a legal perspective.

Learning Outcomes


  • Know and apply the legal and operational aspects of the use of Free Software
  • Understand the concept of software licensing, the character of the contract between two parties and analyze the range of possible licenses


  • The different licensing models for free software
  • The actors that may be involved in the process of creation and distribution of a work
  • The different kinds of authorship
  • The main aspects of copyright theory
  • The legal measures of protection of works and reactions to possible copyright infringement
  • Understand the concept of software patent, its object of protection, procedures for patent application and how they are reflected in official documents
  • Understand the relationship between free software licenses and other areas of law such as trademarks, fair competition and the formal process of standardization

European e-Competence Framework

  • A.3 (Business Plan Development) level 3
  • D.4 (Purchasing) level 3
  • D.5 (Sales Proposal Development) level 2
  • D.7 (Sales Management) level 4
  • D.8 (Contract Management) level 2

ACM Computing Classification System

  • K.1 (The Computer Industry)
  • K.5 (Legal Aspects of Computing)
  • K.6.3 (Software Management)
  • K.7.3 (Professional Ethics)

Teaching Staff

See the FTA tutors page.

Academic Requirements

No special requirements for this course.


If you want to enroll into this course, please follow the instructions in the main Courses page.


Book cover

This material is part of the module: "Legal Aspects of Information Society".

Legal Aspects of the Information Society

  • Author: Malcolm Bain
  • Contributions: Manuel Gallego, Manuel Martínez Ribas, Judit Rius
  • Licenses: GNU Free Documentation License
  • Information: 301 Pages; 2.5 Mb