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Michael Riskin


Michael Riskin specializes in open source governance and compliance, technology and software licensing, end user license agreements, website terms of use and privacy policies, content licensing, entertainment issues, and the DMCA. He also advises startups in entity formation, operating agreements, and business strategy. In addition, Michael advises clients on intellectual property issues arising in public and private mergers and acquisitions, asset purchases, and spin outs. Most recently before joining Fenwick & West, Michael was an attorney in the licensing and technology group at Cisco Systems, Inc. Prior to his legal career, Michael served technology-based businesses in various capacities including PR, business development, IT, and sales. While in law school, Michael received oral advocacy honors in the Sherman Minton Moot Court competition, served as research assistant to Professor Fred Cate, Director of Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, and worked in the Elmore Entrepreneurship Clinic advising technology startups.

Posts by Michael Riskin:


Is breach of the GPL license breach of contract?

There have been interesting developments on the GPL enforcement front of late. Earlier this year, a court in the Northern District of California (in the case of Artifex Software, Inc. v. Hancom, Inc., which was recently settled out of court) found that breach of the GPL license was also a breach of contract. Later, in the same matter, the court found that a plaintiff who dual-licenses software under both commercial and open source terms can base its monetary relief for breach of the open source license on the value of the commercial license fees it would have received from the defendant had defendant’s use of the software been licensed under the commercial license.

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