Thursday, February 23, 2006

This "Free Software" is Obviously all Just a Nefarious Plot

A representative of the Mozilla Foundation, distributors of the well-received (except in my law firm's IT department... sigh) Firefox browser, reports that representatives of the UK government recently seized a stash of illicit contraband. Copies of the Firefox browser were taken in from a business that was reselling them, and the government called to find out who would be the proper party to be involved with the prosecution of the malfeasors. The Mozilla representative tried to politely inform the officer that the activities were not only perfectly OK with them, but actually part of the plan. The response was one of dis-belief:
If Mozilla permit (sic) the sale of copied versions of its software, it makes it virtually impossible for us, from a practical point of view, to enforce UK anti-piracy legislation, as it is difficult for us to give general advice to businesses over what is/is not permitted.
The story goes on from there in predictable fashion, at least for those of us who deal with bureaucracy from time to time. Give it a read -- It's pretty amusing. (Props to Slashdot for pointing me towards this one.)

And, while you are pondering the changes sweeping across the world as Open Source, Free and other forms of software distribution continue to expand, be sure to look at two events with close ties to our own committee:
  1. Our member Prof. Jane Winn is spearheading a major seminar to be held next month at the Shidler Center for Law, Commerce & Technology in Seattle. Beyond the Basics: Advanced Legal Topics in Open Source and Collaborative Development in the Global Marketplace, will be held on March 21, 2006. The seminar will feature leading experts from around the country who will confront the most difficult issues facing attorneys advising clients on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) licensing issues in a formal debate and in roundtable discussions. This program will explore different open source development and licensing models, and their impact on global corporate IP strategies. More information is available here.

  2. The Committee is presenting a CLE seminar at the ABA Business Section Spring Meeting in Tampa entitled Another Technology Wrinkle in M& A Practice: Open Source and Free Software. This seminar, largely designed to help the corporate practitioner and those from the IT and IP world who assist those practices, will discuss risks (real and mythical) of open source that might be part of a targeted company's portfolio, as well as techniques for due diligence in such transactions. The program is on April 6 at the Section's meeting headquarters hotel. If you have not yet signed up for the meeting, it is not too late! Go here and get your start.

No comments: