Unfortunately legal issues, specially patents lawsuits, are much in the news. From Yahoo suing Facebook to the ongoing battles surrounding Apple and other mobile device providers, my RSS and social media feeds seem to have more and more articles about legal issues everyday.
Wired published a great article today from an ex-Yahoo developer on how his work was weaponized for a patent war.
He writes: “I thought I was giving them a shield, but turns out I gave them a missile with my name permanently engraved on it.” This case, among other similar ones, points out the need quite urgently for reform of our software patent system. When companies struggle, especially large ones, it’s often easier to litigate than innovate.
But amid the patent wars there has been some good news. OIN last week announced they are expanding their patent pool to cover other important projects such as KVM, Git and others projects.
As SVN writes: “Patents owned by Open Invention Network are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the OIN’s broad Linux Definitions.” Keith Bergelt of OIN will be speaking at our upcoming CollaborationSummit on this Linux definition. Keith will take people through the changes in the definitions, as well as the updating of the 1000s of packages already included in their coverage. This is important stuff and I’m very happy to feature Keith as a speaker.
We are continuing our active role in the legal landscape by marshaling the power of collaboration with our members. Before next month’s Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, we will be holding our Linux Foundation Legal Summit, where counsels and attorneys from our members come together with our legal experts and others from around the industry to plot the best defense for Linux and free software. There is power in collaboration; certainly with software but also with legal issues. It’s a core part of our mission to enable this legal collaboration and spear head programs, like our Open Compliance program, that simplify and improve legal matters in our community. And as mentioned above, we also have a track on legal and compliance issues at the Collaboration Summit. This year Bradley Kuhn was kind enough to assist me in creating the track and I’m happy to say we have a who’s who of leaders in the open source legal industry.
We are featuring
— Aaron Williamson of the SFLC on the Evolving Form of Free Software Organization
— Bradley from the Software Freedom Conservancy on GPL Compliance
— Richard Fontana from REd Hat will talk about the Decline of the GPL and what to do about it
— Karen Sandler from the GNOME Foundation will talk about real world trademark management for free software projects
And on day one of Collaboration Summit we will have a keynote on the SPDX project, one of the best examples of collaborative legal issues. You can read details about full the schedule of Collab Summit.
I hope to see many of you there.