From Red Hat
Richard Fontana is a lawyer who has specialized in open source legal issues for the past decade. He is currently Senior Commercial Counsel for Products and Technologies at Red Hat. Richard is a frequent public speaker on topics at the intersection of open source, law and policy.
Richard is also a board director of the Open Source Initiative.
In this session we will have an open discussion of the various legal issues faced by developers starting a new open source project or contributing to an existing project. Depending on interest, we may talk about copyright, license selection, license compatibility, trademarks, patents, CLAs, "work for hire", data protection, and perhaps other topics.
As we the transition to an internet of things society where software pervades all aspects of our lives, the consequences of faulty software are becoming more critical. There will be growing attention on who should be held accountable for harm caused by badly-designed code.
We will take a look at the near future of legal responsibility in software development. Will we see new, restrictive liability regimes imposed on IT vendors? Will individual developers be held criminally responsible for introducing bugs? Or can developers seize the initiative through codes of ethics and through technical solutions?
Open source licenses provide the basic legal tools used by developers to overcome barriers to collaboration and improvement imposed by copyright law. This talk will give an overview of some of the more interesting legal issues around the current state of open source licensing.
We will address the purported decline of the GPL and copyleft, the apparent trend of 'post-open source software' (public source repositories with no explicit license), the use of open source licenses to deal with software patents, and the controversy over projects requiring contributions to be made under non-open-source CLAs.