March 22, 2007

ChangeLog: Canadian law school hosts open source conference April 9

Author: JT Smith

Why would a university's law school host an open source conference? Why not the computer science or engineering department?In fact, it looks like the University of Western Ontario's Law School (Western Law) is sponsoring not one open source-related conference, but two.

The first one, on April 9, is titled Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) as Democratic Principle and has as its emphasis (quoting here), "the role of Free/Libre and Open Source Software in enhancing participation, accountability, transparency and security in core democratic software infrastructure. The conference will also explore the economic and social potential of Free and Open Source Software by considering its implementation and adoption throughout the world, in both the business and government sectors."

The second conference will be held the next day, April 10, and will focus on Digital Copyright in a User Generated World. The one-paragraph description of this one says, "This conference will examine the challenges copyright law faces in an increasingly user generated environment. New legislation in Australia and New Zealand, as well as forthcoming amendments in Canada, present new challenges to all stakeholders. Recent litigation against YouTube and MySpace will be considered, the application of safe harbour provisions to these new intermediaries, fair use/dealing issues, as well as voluntary open content licensing models such as Creative Commons."

You can read the full two-conferences-in-one (PDF) brochure here.

These conferences focus on philosophy, policy, and legalities, not technical intricacies. I suppose that's what makes it appropriate for a law school to host them. That's fine with me. We can use more lawyers on our side. The proprietary software people certainly seem to have plenty of them on their side.

Click Here!