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Developers Continues To Worry Over Facebook's Open Source React JavaScript Library License Controversy

By Kachi Ojieh Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Are you a developer but never heard of React? Then here is a chance.

React (also known as React.js or ReactJS) is an open source javaScript library which was initially released to the public in May 2013 under the standard Apache License 2.0 but later opt-in for 3-clause BSD license in October 2014 thereby ditching the former. This development brought a lot of trouble and controversy because of a clause added to the new license which ought not to be.

Maybe I forgot to mention, Jordan Walke, a software engineer at Facebook, was the brain behind React. The React JavaScript library which is managed by Facebook helps programmers in a lot of unimaginable ways to build front-end applications.

Back to the controversial part, due to React being open source and maintained by Facebook, the social media giants decided to inject a few strange clause into the BSD license which resulted to a lot of questions and doubts from developers (not excluding organizations) if they should continue to make use of the library.

The cause of the whole problem lies in the paragraph below:

"The license granted hereunder will terminate, automatically and without notice, if you (or any of your subsidiaries, corporate affiliates or agents) initiate directly or indirectly, or take a direct financial interest in, any Patent Assertion: (i) against Facebook or any of its subsidiaries or corporate affiliates, (ii) against any party if such Patent Assertion arises in whole or in part from any software, technology, product or service of Facebook or any of its subsidiaries or corporate affiliates, or (iii) against any party relating to the Software. [...] A "Patent Assertion" is any lawsuit or other action alleging direct, indirect, or contributory infringement or inducement to infringe any patent, including a cross-claim or counterclaim."

To breakdown it down into understandable English, all what you just read above means that you better not take Facebook to court over patent dispute else your entitlement to use React may end up being Revoked. Also, in the event that you counter-sue Facebook in a patent suit, the same applies – your right could be revoked!

The unbelievable part is that companies fight each other over patent rights from time to time and that’s why many of them are kicking against this clause. For example, if you have spent five years developing a web application using Facebook’s React.js library and a patent dispute ensued between you and Facebook, it means your five years effort may end up being trashed in the recycle bin all because of a controversial license clause that empowers them.

ReactJS open source community is not happy with this and they hope that something is done about it.

Are you a developer but never heard of React? Then here is a chance.

React (also known as React.js or ReactJS) is an open source javaScript library which was initially released to the public in May 2013 under the standard Apache License 2.0 but later opt-in for 3-clause BSD license in October 2014 thereby ditching the former. This development brought a lot of trouble and controversy because of a clause added to the new license which ought not to be.

Maybe I forgot to mention, Jordan Walke, a software engineer at Facebook, was the brain behind React. The React JavaScript library which is managed by Facebook helps programmers in a lot of unimaginable ways to build front-end applications.

Back to the controversial part, due to React being open source and maintained by Facebook, the social media giants decided to inject a few strange clause into the BSD license which resulted to a lot of questions and doubts from developers (not excluding organizations) if they should continue to make use of the library.

The cause of the whole problem lies in the paragraph below:

"The license granted hereunder will terminate, automatically and without notice, if you (or any of your subsidiaries, corporate affiliates or agents) initiate directly or indirectly, or take a direct financial interest in, any Patent Assertion: (i) against Facebook or any of its subsidiaries or corporate affiliates, (ii) against any party if such Patent Assertion arises in whole or in part from any software, technology, product or service of Facebook or any of its subsidiaries or corporate affiliates, or (iii) against any party relating to the Software. [...] A "Patent Assertion" is any lawsuit or other action alleging direct, indirect, or contributory infringement or inducement to infringe any patent, including a cross-claim or counterclaim."

To breakdown it down into understandable English, all what you just read above means that you better not take Facebook to court over patent dispute else your entitlement to use React may end up being Revoked. Also, in the event that you counter-sue Facebook in a patent suit, the same applies – your right could be revoked!

The unbelievable part is that companies fight each other over patent rights from time to time and that’s why many of them are kicking against this clause. For example, if you have spent five years developing a web application using Facebook’s React.js library and a patent dispute ensued between you and Facebook, it means your five years effort may end up being trashed in the recycle bin all because of a controversial license clause that empowers them.

ReactJS open source community is not happy with this and they hope that something is done about it.

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Kachi Ojieh
Kachi Ojieh

"Tech Is Before Anything Else since 2017". Kachi Ojieh is the CEO and Founder of Tech Is Bae. An enthusiastic blogger with the heart to unify all tech lovers across the globe. Currently working to make sure readers keep coming back for more.

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