Monday, October 30, 2006

Live Feeds from the Internet Governance Forum

Although time zone issues will probably impede many of us on this side of the world from participating live, this site:

is open for business and allows one to monitor the Internet Governance Forum taking place in Greece right now. If you register, you can monitor live feeds, read and participate in chats, and all that other good Web 2.0 stuff.

The Internet Governance Forum is the continuing discussion that arose out of the meeting in Tunisia last year, which itself was part of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) set up by the UN and the ITU. Many of our members have worked to understand the original mandate of the WSIS and its ongoing efforts through IGF.

Remember, our own members David Satola and Kristine Dorrain are live and on the ground at the Athens meeting, and will be presenting to the crowd on legal issues this coming Wednesday at 9:30 AM Athens time (which is, unfortunately, about 1:30 in the morning my own time, so I regret that I'll have to read about it in the papers the next day).

UPDATE: Dave Satola reports to me that all is going well at the Summit. Still, there are some troubles to be had apparently... United Nations "Internet" Summit held sans internet

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Open Source Continues to Come of Age

cNet notes that "OpenLogic, a provider of open-source software for enterprises, is offering indemnification against legal action for companies using its code." The company does note that its indemnity no longer applies if the indemnitee has modified the code in the OpenLogic code. And, the operating system used (e.g., Linux) is not covered by the OpenLogic indemnity (although there may be policies available from insurers, such as Lloyds, to cover that). So, the end user still has some degree of patching together risk-allocation tools in order to create a reasonably protected system.

Still, the days when lawyers in the know should just instantly panic when they hear about OS in their clients' houses should be deemed as officially over. Our own committee's members recently presented a very well-received program on how to assess open source as a risk during a corporate merger transaction -- materials available here (ABA Business Law Section members only).

Like everything else we do, there is still plenty of work to do to make sure the hatches are battened down. However, the coming of age of the OS industry means that the lawyers can start to add value by pointing out the risk management tools their clients can use, and help them to negotiate or assess actual risk versus falling into abject panic.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Wendy's Blog: Legal Tags: Coming Soon: Kitten with a EULA?

The title of Wendy's blog post (quoted above in this posting's own title) gets it slightly wrong. They don't require you to sign a "license agreement," but they do require that you agree to a rather lengthy contract before they'll allow you to purchase their specially bred hypoallergenic cat. The contract contains a rather broad indemnity clause, a restriction that you not let the cat wander outside or suffer a waiver of any warranties, restrictions on further sale, etc. They also claim patent rights in the cats. Whew.