The Linux Foundation Sponsors Legal Summits
Published: September 18, 2007
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
While the originators of the concepts and implementations of open source software were interested in the advancement of software through a meritocracy and open distribution models, they were also interested in removing many legal issues from the distribution of software and in favor of using laws and licenses to open up technology. Several decades of open source software has stimulated innovation and put downward pressure on most software pricing. But legal issues still remain a bigger problem than technical ones.
This is why the Linux Foundation is hosting its first two LF Legal Summits. The first one will be in Boston on October 25 and 26, and all members of the Linux Foundation and the legal counsel will be invited to the event. Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Novell have already bought their plane tickets to attend the event. This summit is an invitation-only event and will help open source software providers to build a legal defense plan as they create and support their products. (You do not have to be a Linux Foundation member to attend, but you do have to ask nicely for an invitation at email@example.com
A few weeks ago, the Linux Foundation hired two legal experts to work on Linux intellectual property issues, and they will be hosting the first LF Legal Summit. Open source licensing expert Karen Copenhaver and standards and consortium expert Andy Updegrove joined the foundation back in August. Copenhaver is a partner in Choate, Hall & Stewart's business and technology practice, and she focuses on technology transfer and licensing of intellectual property with a specific emphasis on open source business models; prior to working at the firm, she was executive vice president and general counsel at Black Duck Software. Copenhaver began her career at IBM and has been a partner specializing in intellectual property at two firms prior to this work, at Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault and at Brown & Bain. Updegrove is a partner and founder of Gesmer Updegrove, a Boston-based technology law firm, and has represented and helped structure more than 80 worldwide standard-setting, open source, promotional and advocacy consortia over the past 20 years; his form is the Linux Foundation's outside council.
In the spring of 2008, the second LF Legal Summit will be hosted--exactly where has not been decided--and it will include presentations by and for a much larger range of open source companies and their lawyers. Starting next year, the LF Legal Summit will be an annual event, according to Jim Zemlin, the foundation's executive director.
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