When engaged in Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) development, it is nearly impossible to avoid legal issues and concerns. Every few lines of code written become subject to copyright. Patents seem to cover nearly any code a developer can write. Trademarks may already exist on potential project names for your exciting new codebase.
In FLOSS development, we’d all rather ignore these legal systems that impact our work, but we cannot. In this talk, a lawyer and a software developer team up to introduce the basics of what every developer should know about these legal systems. This presentation helps FLOSS hackers understand the parts of these legal systems that are most likely to effect them, in hopes that they can go about their work armed with the right knowledge and keep the legal details from getting in their way.
This talk will cover:
Bradley M. Kuhn is the president and distinguished technologist at Software Freedom Conservancy, on the board of directors of the Free Software Foundation, and editor-in-chief of copyleft.org. Kuhn began his work in the software freedom movement as a volunteer in 1992, when he became an early adopter of the GNU/Linux operating system, and began contributing to various free software projects. He worked during the 1990s as a system administrator and software developer for various companies, and taught AP Computer Science at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati. Kuhn’s non-profit career began in 2000, when he was hired by the FSF. As FSF’s executive director from 2001-2005, Kuhn led FSF’s GPL enforcement, launched its Associate Member program, and invented the Affero GPL. Kuhn was appointed president of Software Freedom Conservancy in April 2006, was Conservancy’s primary volunteer from 2006–2010, and has been a full-time staffer since early 2011. Kuhn holds a summa cum laude B.S. in computer science from Loyola University in Maryland, and an M.S. in computer science from the University of Cincinnati. Kuhn’s Master’s thesis (an excerpt from which won the Damien Conway Award for Best Technical Paper at this conference in 2000) discussed methods for dynamic interoperability of free software programming languages. Kuhn received an O’Reilly Open Source Award in 2012, in recognition for his lifelong policy work on copyleft licensing. Kuhn has a blog, is on pump.io and co-hosts the audcast, Free as in Freedom.
Karen M. Sandler is the Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation. Prior to joining GNOME, she was General Counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center. Karen continues to do pro bono legal work with SFLC and serves as an officer of both the Software Freedom Conservancy and SFLC. Before joining SFLC, she worked as an associate in the corporate departments of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in New York and Clifford Chance in New York and London. Karen received her law degree from Columbia Law School in 2000, where she was a James Kent Scholar and co-founder of the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review. Karen received her bachelor’s degree in engineering from The Cooper Union.
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