OSDL opens IP advice centre for Linux developers

Fight back against spurious legal action

The Open Source Development Lab (OSDL) is setting up a free legal centre to offer advice and legal help to Linux developers and users. OSDL aims to encourage Linux use in the enterprise, it is funded by various vendors including Alcatel, Ericsson, HP, IBM and Sun.

Backed by a $4m grant, the centre's first clients are the Free Software Foundation and Samba.

The Software Freedom Law Center will be run by Eben Moglen, professor of law at Columbia University. There will be two full-time attorneys, a chief technology officer and admin staff. The centre will not represent commercial Linux vendors. Moglen wants to raise $5m which will fund the centre for five years.

Other directors include Diane Peters, Lawrence Lessig (creator of the Creative Commons licence) and Daniel Weitzner.

The not-for-profit centre will offer more than defence against litigation. It will also advise how to avoid IP claims in the first place, licensing, legal consulting and lawyer training. It will also work on updating the GNU General Public License.

More here. ®

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