As we wrote in last year's year-in-review, patents are a big focus at the intersection of open source and law. This year was no different--2011 saw Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Limited Partnership go before the Supreme Court. It was affirmed, 8-0 on June 9, rejecting Microsoft's request to change the burden of proof on patent invalidity from clear-and-convincing evidence to the preponderance standard.
One of the big patent stories of 2010 had good effects in 2011 as we saw first year of decisions applying Bilski to software.
Even the FTC weighed in on patent reform. But there's a lot more to open source legal issues than just patents. This year saw a lot of work on the Mozilla Public License 2.0 as well as potential international changes in Creative Commons 4.0 licenses.
Occasionally in the Law channel, we took a break to talk about the history of open source legal questions--even going back to St. Columba and sixth century Ireland.
In May, we interviewed Pamela Jones, "PJ," when she decided to stop publishing Groklaw, the site that served for years as a place for commentary on the legal issues facing Linux and open source. And from Groklaw, we learned more about the power of collaboration.
And as the year wrapped up, we discussed the issues around the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), similar proposals, and what it could mean for you. That discussion will continue in 2011 as SOPA and others like it potentially pass, and we'll be here to keep you informed in 2012 on these and other issues.