SCO -- reaping the litigation whirlwind

It's Spring 2003.  I'm the Red Hat general counsel.  Total Red Hat revenues the prior year were less than $100 million.  Red Hat's loss on continuing operations was $17 million.  Only the year before did Red Hat launch its Advanced Server offering, the predecessor to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.  SCO Group is offering both its proprietary UNIX operating system and open source Linux operating system.  SCO's total revenues in their prior fiscal year were over $60 million, and their loss on operations was $24 million.  One could argue that based purely on their » Read more

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Law.Gov -- opening up primary legal materials

In the technical world, we long ago came to understand, thanks to Larry Lessig, that code is law. The way we build our systems and protocols defines how the Internet and our operating systems work. If we turn to the real world, we see that the reverse holds and that law is code. The way we structure our legal system defines how we as a society operate. » Read more

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A community of FOSS lawyers?

There is a fairly common perception among FOSS hackers that there is no community of FOSS lawyers. Scratch the surface, though, and it turns out that- despite our handicaps- the FOSS legal community is there and growing. Since this question recently came up in the context of Mozilla's decision to revise the MPL, I thought it might be a good time to talk about this community here at opensource.com. » Read more

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Updating the MPL

Updating the MPL

The Mozilla Foundation has announced its process for updating the Mozilla Public License.  While Mozilla's substantive goals for the new version of the MPL (which will probably be numbered 2.0) are quite different from the FSF's objectives in drafting GPLv3, Mozilla is adopting some of the features of the GPLv3 process, including a series of public drafts accompanied by rationale documents, the use of a collaborative commenting system, » Read more

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Baseball Cards and Prior Art

Patent decisions are usually pretty dry stuff, but In Media Technologies Licensing, LLC v. The Upper Deck Co. is a patent lawsuit about sports trading cards. This is what a patent claim for a trading card looks like: » Read more

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Indonesia: the IIPA is "Watching" you.

If you use open source, you have no respect for intellectual property. Or at least, that’s what the International Intellectual Property Alliance seems to think. According to this article, the lobbying group is asking the US Trade Representative to put Indonesia on its "Special 301 Priority Watch List,” in part because of its policy encouraging the adoption of open source software by government agencies. » Read more

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Looking out for Bilski: software patents v. FOSS

Users of free and open source software (“FOSS”) have little to gain and much to fear from the patent system. The patent system poses two major threats to users: First, the software itself can be burdened or extinguished altogether by “software patents', that is, claims over basic techniques used in computer programs or common features of programs. Second, the use of computers to perform basic business functions traditionally performed in other ways, can be monopolized as a result of patents on computer enabled “business methods”. » Read more

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Our social lives as art

The mashup and the meme aren't new, but there is an interesting video on YouTube about "stage 2" video mixes and their creative and social implications.  The narrator describes  how a group of friends in Brooklyn spent an afternoon creating a video tribute to a "stage 1" remix of 80's Brat Pack movies, which itself was an homage to those works.  A second group in San Francisco then made another video that was a recreation of the Brooklyn video. » Read more

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Calling a troll a troll

At the Linux Foundation counsel meeting in Palo Alto last week, I had a chance to talk with attorneys for some leading tech companies about the threat to open source software from patent trolls. Some still politely avoid calling a troll a troll and substitute the more anodyne “non-practicing entity.” I find the uglier term more fitting, because it's an ugly business. » Read more

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Promoting free software license understanding and compliance: the International FOSS Law Review

Last Thursday the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review (IFOSS L. Rev.) released its second issue on-line in HTML and PDF format. This was not on the front of Slashdot or The Register, but it was one of the more significant developments so far this year in Free Software governance.  IFOSS L. Rev. » Read more

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