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Worldwide, governments and businesses are recognizing the value of open source and free software. Unlike other software, this software is developed and continuously improved by volunteers in communities on the Internet. How are these communities able to continuously develop innovative software in a world dominated by markets, companies and laws? Protecting the Virtual Commons discusses the surprisingly creative solutions that explain the long-lasting stability of these communities. It identifies the threats that the communities are faced with and discusses the amazingly innovative strategies developed to neutralize these threats. This book has been written with a clear focus on intellectual property rights. In their analysis, the authors provide answers to, among others, the following questions: Why have open source and free software communities created so many different licenses to protect their intellectual property? What influence do licenses have on the organization of the communities and their ability to innovate?