Contributing to law.MIT.edu Open Source Projects and Activities

Contributions to law.MIT.edu open source projects and activities are welcome and encouraged!   MIT Media Lab software default is FLOSS (free/libre/open-source software) and therefore that is our starting point.  In 2009 the MIT faculty adopted a powerful open access policy and in April 2017, MIT announced a new “opt-in” open access license for all MIT authors, including students, postdocs, and staff.  If you are a past or current collaborator on open source projects and if you are considering contributing in the future, please just keep the following parameters in mind.  

Private individuals, commercial entities, governmental agencies and other external organizations are permitted - and encouraged - to contribute to MIT open source projects on an informal basis or in an organized way.  Provided all conduct is in compliance with applicable law, regulation and internal policies, external organizations and people who contribute to MIT open source projects may do so without being formally associated with MIT in any way.  

You might be wondering: what if I really do want to be formally associated?  Unless otherwise noted, law.MIT.edu operates under and as part of the MIT Human Dynamic Group, which is part of the MIT Media Lab.  Media Lab Membership provides remarkable value.  For more information and contact details to set up a discussion about becoming a Media Lab Member, please consult this informal fact sheet

Truthful attribution, credits and recognition to external individuals and organizations for their contributions to MIT open source projects are customary. Section 12.3 of the MIT Policies and Procedures governing "Use of Institute Name" is perhaps the most relevant policy to be aware of and to scrupulously avoid violating.  Contributions to MIT open source projects does not constitute a formal relationship with MIT or any endorsement by MIT.  If you have an idea or proposal for the use of MIT's name or other identification in advertising, sales literature and videos, and commercial publicity, please submit it to the Technology Licensing Office of MIT (here: http://tlo.mit.edu). 

The MIT License is our default choice for any kind of machine readable computer code.   For non-computer code contributions like documentation, blog posts and other written works, our default license is the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.  We use web-based forms to receive content of this type and include a checkbox on the form to ensure the Creative Commons license clearly and validly applies to the contributed content.  The check box provides an explicit and conspicous user action to ensures we do not receive content that is proprietary, secret or has any other strings attached. For example, the registration form for attending and contributing to the MIT Legal Forum on AI & Blockchain includes agreement to license contributions under Creative Commons up front, setting expectations about the common base-line in favor of open access.  

Within these simple parameters, a world of creativity and potentiality is available.  To inquire about projects that may be a good fit for you to join, please contact us.  Whether with us or elsewhere, we wish you happy hacking!