cathyr19355: Stock photo of myself (Default)
posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 10:21pm on 17/07/2008 under ,
A few months ago, I was entertained to notice that a catalog of Continuing Legal Education programs which I receive was featuring a seminar on "Open Source Software Licensing." A quick read of the description confirmed that they were using the term correctly. Because I was curious (and because I need 9.5 credit hours of CLE by the end of August to keep my law license), I signed up.

The seminar was today, and was surprisingly good. Like most CLE programs, it featured a panel of people with different areas of expertise in the field who take turns addressing topics that cover their particular areas of knowledge. It turns out that the presenters are based in Pittsburgh. Two of them were formerly associated with TimeSys, a company with a Linux product for whom a close friend of mine formerly worked. The course materials include a copy of all the major licenses and a good summary of recent case law relating to the enforceability of the GPL, which I plan to use the next time *I'm* asked to participate in a presentation on the subject.

The presenters made three interesting points in addition to their discussion of the various legal issues. One is that they are all convinced that open source software is here to stay (with the corollary that IP lawyers should be competent at helping clients incorporate open source into their business models). A second, which surprised me slightly because it conflicts with what was the common wisdom among IP lawyers several years ago, is that the GPL is likely to be found enforceable in the US if the issue ever is decided by a court. The third point is that American judges seem to like the GPL and are willing to develop the law in a direction that will support it and foster its use.

The presenters also appeared to think that licenses for non-open source code are now more likely to include at least some limited warranties, while open source continues to disclaim all warranties. This wasn't true 5 years ago, and is an interesting development in my opinion.

Overall, the seminar confirmed what a solid job [livejournal.com profile] esrblog has done over the past 10 years in making a niche for the concept of open source in the business world. I was vastly amused to listen to the businessman on the panel giving an only slightly altered explanation of some of the economic justifications [livejournal.com profile] esrblog has preached for years.

On the minus side--there were a total of 16 attorneys in the room attending the seminar, including me. Sigh.
Mood:: 'impressed' impressed

June

SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
        1
 
2
 
3
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8 9
 
10
 
11 12
 
13
 
14
 
15 16
 
17
 
18 19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30