|| ||New Law Center Founded to Assist Open Source Software Developers|
|| ||Tue, 01 Feb 2005 07:01:13 EST|
New Law Center Founded to Assist Open Source Software Developers
Software Freedom Law Center to be led by noted IP lawyer and professor Eben
Moglen of Columbia University initial funding support from Open Source
BURLINGAME, Calif. February 1, 2005 Columbia University Law Professor
Eben Moglen today announced the formation of the Software Freedom Law Center,
whose mission is to provide pro-bono legal services globally to eligible
non-profit open source software projects and developers.
"As the popularity and use of free and open source software increases and
proprietary software development models are threatened, providing necessary
legal services to open source developers is becoming increasingly important
to prevent liability and other legal issues from interfering with its
success," Moglen said. "The Law Center is being established to provide legal
services to protect the legitimate rights and interests of free and open
source software projects and developers, who often do not have the means to
secure the legal services they need."
Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), a global consortium dedicated to
accelerating the adoption of Linux®, has raised more than $4 million for a
newly-established IP fund that will provide the seed money for the new and
independent legal center based in New York. Last year OSDL announced a
separate $10 million Linux Legal Defense Fund to provide legal support for
Linus Torvalds and end user companies subjected to Linux-related litigation
by the SCO Group. The new Law Center announced today will be an independent
organization not affiliated with OSDL.
"OSDL is committed to supporting initiatives such as the Law Center to help
protect the legitimate development and use of Linux and open source
software," said Stuart Cohen, CEO of OSDL. "We encourage other companies and
organizations like OSDL who are dedicated to securing the future of open
source software to contribute to the Law Center and participate in its good
Overseeing the Law Center will be a distinguished board of directors
comprised of Moglen; Diane Peters, General Counsel at OSDL; Daniel Weitzner,
Principal Research Scientist at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial
Intelligence Laboratory; and Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law Professor and
"Both free and open source software face many emerging legal threats," said
Lessig. "We should be skeptical of legal mechanisms that enable those most
threatened by the success of open source and free software to resist its
advance. The Law Center will serve as important support for the free and open
source communities and for those that benefit from free and open source
Moglen, regarded as one of the world's leading experts on copyright law as
applied to software, will run the new Law Center from its headquarters in New
York City. The Law Center will initially have two full-time intellectual
property attorneys on staff and expects to expand to four attorneys later
this year. Initial clients for the Law Center include the Free Software
Foundation and the Samba Project.
"Free software projects often face legal issues that need expert advice, but
it can sometimes be difficult or prohibitively costly to obtain that advice
through traditional legal channels." said Andrew Tridgell, head of the Samba
project. "We are delighted that the Free Software Law Center is being setup
under Eben Mogeln's excellent guidance. I think this is an important
milestone in the maturity of the free software community."
Legal services provided to eligible individuals and projects include asset
stewardship, licensing, license defense and litigation support, and legal
consulting and lawyer training. The Law Center will be software license
neutral and intends to participate directly in work currently underway around
revisions to the GNU General Public License (GPL) with the Free Software
Foundation. The Law Center will also work on issues around the proliferation
of open source licenses.
The Law Center is dedicated to assisting non-profit open source developers
and projects who do not otherwise have access to necessary legal services.
For criteria on eligibility and to apply for assistance, please contact the
Law Center directly or visit it on the Web at www.softwarefreedom.org.
Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds. Third party marks and brands are the
property of their respective holders
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