In August 2008 one of, if not the most, influential Intellectual Property courts in the USA known as the Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit upheld the validity of a free and open source software license known as the Artistic License. This case is significant because up until this point there has been little judicial discussion on the legal operation of this new type of copyright licensing that is sweeping the world fuelled by the ubiquity of the Internet.

The decision in Robert Jacobsen v. Matthew Katzer and Kamind Associates, Inc. 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 17161 (Fed. Cir. 2008) issued on the 13th of August, 2008 provides a unique and welcome insight into the legal operation of free and open source software licenses, and by analogy the Creative Commons styled open content licenses. This article analyses the judgment and provides commentary on its reasoning.