Quimbee logo with url
From our private database of 14,300+ case briefs...

Jacobsen v. Katzer

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
535 F.3d 1373 (2008)


Facts

Robert Jacobsen (plaintiff), through an open-source software group called Java Model Railroad Interface (JMRI), created a computer program called DecoderPro. DecoderPro was an open-source program that allowed enthusiasts to program model-train decoder chips. It was available on a site known for open-source software collaboration called SourceForge. The DecoderPro was free to download, but its use, distribution, and modifications to the code were subject to the terms of the artistic license (the license). If a user did not want to meet one of the specified terms for allowing modification of the code, such as making the modifications freely available to others, the user could negotiate other arrangements with Jacobsen. Matthew Katzen (defendant), through his company Kamind Associates, Inc., downloaded the DecoderPro source code and modified a portion for use in another computer program, Decoder Commander. Katzen’s program did not meet any of the listed terms stated in the license to allow modification, and Katzen did not negotiate alternate terms with Jacobsen. Jacobsen sued Katzen for copyright infringement. Katzen argued that he had a license to use DecoderPro, because it was open-source software, and that Katzen therefore could not be liable for copyright infringement. The district court found in favor of Katzen. Jacobsen appealed the decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hochberg, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 256,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,300 briefs, keyed to 191 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.