Historically, MIT Media Lab students who released their work under free/open licenses had to get approval from a committee (that always granted it).
Media Lab director Joi Ito writes that in changing the system to allow students to free their code without approval, they're not just doing away with a bureaucratic formality, they're also aligning the Lab with core values of scholarship and academia, which requires that knowledge be shared, tested and validated.
This change is a reflection of preferences within our community, as well as an acknowledgement of our position in an increasingly interconnected world. Encouraging free and open source software realigns our policies with our mission. As an academic institution, we believe that in many cases we can achieve greater impact by sharing our work.
MIT Media Lab Changes Software Default to FLOSS*
(Image: MIT Media Lab, Knight Foundation, CC-BY-SA)