Tag Archives: Legal Issues

Top 10 FOSS legal stories in 2016 (opensource.com)

Post Syndicated from corbet original https://lwn.net/Articles/714719/rss

Mark Radcliffe surveys
the most important legal issues
surrounding free and open-source
software on opensource.com. “The challenge for the Linux community
is to decide when to bring litigation to enforce the GPLv2. What it means
in many situations is that to be compliant is currently left to individual
contributors rather than being based on a set of community norms. As
Theodore Ts’o noted, this issue really concerns project
governance. Although permitting individual contributors to make these
decisions may be the Platonic ideal, the tradeoff is ambiguity for users
trying to be compliant as well as the potential for rogue members of the
community (like McHardy) to create problems. The members of the Linux
community and other FOSS communities need to consider how they can best
assist the members of their community to understand what compliance means
and to determine when litigation might be useful in furtherance of the
community’s goals.

Dark Web Paying Corporate Workers To Leak Info

Post Syndicated from Darknet original http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/darknethackers/~3/zVyI8cb3Wrs/

This is not particularly new news, but the Dark Web paying corporate workers to leak info – especially pertaining to stock prices (earnings reports etc) is setting the mainstream news on fire at the moment. It’s also funny because people constantly contact us asking questions about the ‘Dark Web’ aka the ‘Dark Net’ which happens […]


Read the full post at darknet.org.uk

Ahashare ‘Disappears’ After Domain Name Suspension

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/ahashare-disappears-after-domain-name-suspension-170131/

ahasharelogoWith tens of thousands of visitors per day, torrent site Ahashare has built a decent sized community in recent years.

The site has an active team of uploaders and many regular visitors, or should we say had? For the past few days, the site has been unreachable on its regular Ahashare.com domain.

Roughly a week ago the site vanished without a trace. After some digging, it appears that the site’s domain name has been suspended by Public Domain Registry (PDR), with a “clienthold” status.

We have seen this status on suspended domains before. According to ICANN the clienthold tag is uncommon and “usually enacted during legal disputes, non-payment, or when your domain is subject to deletion.”



TorrentFreak contacted the site’s team via the publicly listed address hoping to find out more, but we have yet to hear back.

The site’s operators are quiet on social media as well. The Twitter account posted the last site update more than five years ago. Two weeks ago a new tweet was posted linking to what seems to be a counterfeit sunglasses site, suggesting that it’s compromised.

Generally speaking, domain name suspensions are easily countered if sites switch to a new domain. Thus far it looks like the Ahashare team hasn’t done this yet, so it’s possible that more is going on.

Ahashare.com in better times


Ahashare registered its domain through the Indian domain registrar PDR, which is no stranger when it comes to suspensions.

The company previously seized the domains of ExtraTorrent and several other popular torrent sites. However, in recent years there might have been less compliance. The MPAA now lists PDR as a non-cooperative registrar in a recent recommendation to the Government, but it’s possible this doesn’t apply universally.

Whether Ahashare will return in the future is unknown, but in the meantime, the site’s users will have to look elsewhere for their daily torrent fix.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Demonoid Suffers Extended Downtime Due to Hosting Issue

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/demonoid-suffers-extended-downtime-due-hosting-issue-170126/

demonoid-logoAs one of the oldest torrent communities online, the semi-private Demonoid tracker has had its fair share of troubles over the years.

The site has gone offline on several occasions in the past. Most notable was the 20 months downtime streak, which began in 2012 following a DDoS attack and legal troubles in Ukraine.

Since then Demonoid has slowly but steadily rebuilt its community up to a point where it now has millions of visitors per month, bringing it back into the range of the largest torrent sites once again.

However, to the surprise of many, the site went dark again earlier this week. People who try to access the latest Dnoid.me domain will see that nothing is coming up at all.

Initially, the downtime was little to worry about. On Tuesday the Demonoid crew announced that there was going to be a planned server change, cautioning users not to panic.

Don’t panic


Not everyone had seen the announcement though, and for those who did see it, an outage of two full days for a server move seemed a bit much.

To find out more, TorrentFreak reached out to the Demonoid team via the official Twitter account. They informed us that they’ve run into some unforeseen problems, but nothing that can’t be overcome.

The team is currently working on a fix and they hope to bring the site back online as soon as possible. But, depending now how things go, it may take a couple of extra days. The team made clear that there are no legal issues, but for now they prefer to keep the finer details in-house.

The above makes it clear that Demonoid users have no other option than to patiently wait until the site returns, or find an alternative for the time being.

This is easier said than done for some. While the active Demonoid community is a bit smaller now than it was at its height, it is still a prime location for users who are sharing more obscure content that’s hard to find on public sites.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

KickassTorrents Brought Back to Life by Original Staffers

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/kickasstorrents-brought-back-to-life-by-original-staffers-161216/

katA few months ago a criminal investegation by the U.S. Government brought down KickassTorrents, the largest torrent site at the time.

As a result, millions of people were left without their favorite torrent site. This included a very active community of admins, moderators and forum members.

Shortly after the shutdown, several KAT-crew members regrouped in an effort to get the community part of the site back up. They launched the Katcr.co forum as their new home and hinted that torrents could come back too, in the future.

Today is the big day as Katcr.co (KATcr) has now launched a fully operational torrent site, which looks identical to its predecessor. The site starts with a clean user database but many members of the original staff are on board.

“The majority of our original Staff, Admins and Moderation team joined us after Kat.cr went down – which is something we’re very proud of. This shows the loyalty, dedication and real love for KAT that we all share,” The KATcr team told TorrentFreak.

At the original KAT, site administrators and crew were clearly separated from those who technically and financially ran the place. This means that the people in charge of KATcr didn’t have access to the original code and data.

Still, they managed to put together bits and pieces to make it look identical, so former KAT users should feel right at home.

The new Katcr.co


Perhaps just as importantly, many of the site’s renowned uploaders are also back. As a result, the site will be populated with a lot of fresh content right from the start.

“We have all our major uploaders on board and they continued to share tirelessly even before the torrent engines returned. The torrent community can continue to expect to see uploads from all the names they know and trust,” the KATcr crew says.

Uploading to KATcr


Putting everything together took quite a bit of time, but the team wanted to make sure that everything is secure, which they are confident is the case now.

“In order to keep our members safe we chose to rebuild and keep only safe elements. Despite the fact that a rebuild took longer, the safety of our community comes first,” the KATcr crew told us.

While some might see it as a bold move to relaunch a site whose alleged operators are still wanted by the U.S. Government, the current staff sees no major legal issues ahead.

They point out that the site has a proper DMCA takedown procedure, just like YouTube, adding that they don’t store any copyrighted material on the site’s servers.

“KAT is a community-based forum and a torrent search engine. It’s the heart of who we are and that will never change. Despite opinions to the contrary, torrents are not illegal and we do not host any content.

“So long as Kickass Torrents continues to operate to the absolute letter of the law then we are most certainly not conducting criminal activities,” they note.

In a similar vein, the KATcr crew believes that the original operators of the site will walk free.

“We strongly believe the investigation carried out by Homeland Security and the IRS is unlawful in basis, targeting a foreign citizen and prosecuting them under US law. We have every confidence in the outcome of the pending legal action,” they say.

Over the past months, many KAT copies and mirrors emerged claiming to be the real reincarnation. In reality, the original site is still gone, but with many old staffers and uploaders onboard, KATcr might have some legs.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

UK Encryption Backdoor Law Passed Via Investigatory Powers Act

Post Syndicated from Darknet original http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/darknethackers/~3/mYvV-ZzHN1k/

The latest news out of my homeland is not good, the UK encryption backdoor law passed via Investigatory Powers Act or the IPA Bill as it’s commonly known. And itself was passed through a kind of backdoor route, which avoided the scorn of the public. Which was good for the lawmakers, but not for the […]

The post UK Encryption Backdoor Law…

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UK Teen Earned More Than US$385,000 From DDoS Service

Post Syndicated from Darknet original http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/darknethackers/~3/bDlQBstACiQ/

Another DDoS service down after the owner got busted, this time a UK teenager who created the service called Titanium Stresser when he was just 15. Not long ago we wrote about the two Israeli guys who got busted for running the VDoS-s.com DDoS Service. There seems to be a bit of a crack down […]

The post UK Teen Earned More Than US$385,000…

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Why Professional Open Source Management is Critical for your Business

Post Syndicated from mikesefanov original https://yahooeng.tumblr.com/post/152340372151

By Gil Yehuda, Sr. Director of Open Source and Technology Strategy

This byline was originally written for and appears in CIO Review

In his Open Source Landscape keynote at LinuxCon Japan earlier this year, Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation said that the trend toward corporate-sponsored open source projects is one of the most important developments in the open source ecosystem. The jobs report released by the Linux Foundation earlier this year found that open source professionals are in high demand. The report was followed by the announcement that TODOGroup, a collaboration project for open source professionals who run corporate open source program offices, was joining the Linux Foundation. Open source is no longer exclusively a pursuit of the weekend hobbyist. Professional open source management is a growing field, and it’s critical to the success of your technology strategy.

Open Source Potential to Reality Gap

Open source has indeed proven itself to be a transformative and disruptive part of many companies’ technology strategies. But we know it’s hardly perfect and far from hassle-free. Many developers trust open source projects without carefully reviewing the code or understanding the license terms, thus inviting risk. Developers say they like to contribute to open source, but are not writing as much of it as they wish. By legal default, their code is not open source unless they make it so. Despite being touted as an engineering recruitment tool, developers don’t flock to companies who toss the words “open source” all over their tech blogs. They first check for serious corporate commitment to open source.

Open source offers potential to lower costs, keep up with standards, and make your developers more productive. Turning potential into practice requires open source professionals on your team to unlock the open source opportunity. They will steer you out of the legal and administrative challenges that open source brings, and help you create a voice in the open source communities that matter most to you. Real work goes into managing the strategy, policies, and processes that enable you to benefit from the open source promise. Hence the emerging trend of hiring professionals to run open source program offices at tech companies across the industry.

Getting the Program off the Ground

Program office sounds big. Actually, many companies staff these with as few as one or two people. Often the rest is a virtual team that includes someone from legal, PR, developer services, an architect, and a few others depending on your company. As a virtual team, each member helps address the areas they know best. Their shared mission is to provide an authoritative and supportive decision about all-things open source at your company. Ideally they are technical, respected, and lead with pragmatism – but what’s most important is that they all collaborate toward the same goal.

The primary goal of the open source program office is to steer the technology strategy toward success using the right open source projects and processes. But the day-to-day program role is to provide services to engineers. Engineers need to know when they can use other people’s code within the company’s codebase (to ‘inbound’ code), and when they can publish company code to other projects externally (to ‘outbound’ code). Practical answers require an understanding of engineering strategy, attention to legal issues surrounding licenses (copyright, patent, etc.), and familiarity with managing GitHub at scale.

New open source projects and foundations will attract (or distract) your attention. Engineers will ask about the projects they contribute to on their own time, but in areas your company does business. They seek to contribute to projects and publish new projects. Are there risks? Is it worth it? The questions and issues you deal with on a regular basis will help give you a greater appreciation for where open source truly works for you, and where process-neglect can get in the way of achieving your technology mission.

Will it Work?

I’ve been running the open source program office at Yahoo for over six years. We’ve been publishing and supporting industry-leading open source projects for AI, Big Data, Cloud, Datacenter, Edge, Front end, Mobile, all the way to Zookeeper. We’ve created foundational open source projects like Apache Hadoop and many of its related technologies. When we find promise in other projects, we support and help accelerate them too, like we did with OpenStack, Apache Storm and Spark. Our engineers support hundreds of our own projects, we contribute to thousands of outside projects, and developers around the world download and use our open source code millions of times per week! We are able to operate at scale and take advantage of the open source promise by providing our engineers with a lightweight process that enables them to succeed in open source.

You can do the same at your company. Open source professionals who run program offices at tech companies share openly – it comes with the territory. I publish answers about open source on Quora and I’m a member of TODOGroup, the collaboration project managed by the Linux Foundation for open source program directors. There, I share and learn from my peers who manage the open source programs at various tech companies.

Bottom line: If you want to take advantage of the value that open source offers, you’ll need someone on your team who understands open source pragmatics, who’s plugged into engineering initiative, and who’s empowered to make decisions. The good news is you are not alone and there’s help out there in the open source community.

Police Confiscate Hundreds of Computers Over Movie Piracy Allegations

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/police-confiscate-hundreds-of-computers-over-piracy-allegations-161024/

During the summer, Poland became entangled in what is likely to be one of the world’s most important copyright battles. Alleged KickassTorrents founder Artem Vaulin was arrested in the country, where he continues to fight extradition to the United States.

Now Poland finds itself at the center of separate but related file-sharing controversy, this time related to the activities of copyright trolls and the authorities apparently working on their behalf.

Like most areas of Europe, Poland is being targeted by aggressive content owners. These companies trawl torrent networks for IP addresses in the hope they will lead to people prepared to pay a settlement amount to make legal issues go away. But while in the rest of the continent these matters are generally a civil legal matter, in Poland police are deeply involved.

According to several reports in local media, police have visited hundreds of homes across the country, seizing hundreds of computers alleged to have been involved in the sharing of a comedy movie titled “Screwed“.

“We have established 2,600 downloads of the film. This applies to about 900 computers,” the District Prosecutor’s Office in Szczecin told local news outlet TVN24.

The prosecutor’s office say that the seizures were made to protect evidence and stop infringement but the actions of the authorities are causing real concern. TVN24 reports that on a national scale as many as 40,000 people may have downloaded the movie and therefore risk being visited by the police.

Also raising eyebrows is the evidence authorities are acting upon. It is unclear who obtained the IP address-based evidence or whether it has been subjected to any independent scrutiny. Also controversial is the basis upon which computers are being seized.

The action is said to be primarily aimed at people who not only download but also redistribute content online. Of course, this describes most BitTorrent users perfectly, since downloading and simultaneous uploading is all part of the process.

However, the authorities say that their main targets are people cashing in on mass distribution, and that does not accurately describe the general public nor the hundreds, perhaps thousands of people getting caught up in this sweep.

Nevertheless, legal experts cited by local media insist that while downloading is a civil offense, uploading can be viewed as a criminal matter which could lead to fines or even imprisonment of up to two years. However, the wronged party – in this case a movie studio – can offer the alleged wrongdoer a way out if he or she pays compensation.

The action is just one of many similar operations to hit Poland in recent months. A year ago, police seized around 1,000 computers alleged to have downloaded and shared the same movie.

Somewhat worryingly, prosecutors later admitted that they did not verify the technical processes used by the distributors to identify the alleged infringers.

It was also claimed that in some cases police advised suspects to settle with their accusers rather than face legal action. While it’s not unusual for police to act as mediators in all kinds of disputes, critics felt that the advice was inappropriate in an unproven copyright case.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

AllMyVideos.net to Shut Down, No Longer Profitable

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/allmyvideos-net-to-shut-down-no-longer-profitable-161014/

allmyvideosFounded five years ago, AllMyVideos.net has become a household name in the video-hosting world.

With millions of users per month it is the go-to site for many, but this is about to change as a message on the homepage warns.

“We are sorry to inform everyone that effective October 23, 2016 Allmyvideos.net will stop accepting new uploads and the site will close fully at the end of the month,” the site announced.

The announcement coincides with a submission from the Hollywood industry group MPAA to the U.S. Government, which listed AllMyVideos as one of the top pirates sites.

However, according to the operator of the site, prospective legal issues are not the reason why they’re pulling the plug. The site was forced to take this drastic step due to a lack of revenue.

“Honestly, the main reason why the site is closing is the fact that the video hosting business is not profitable any longer, not by any means. Over the years making the site break even has become a massive issue,” Bill from AllMyVideos tells us.

Like many other sites that are often associated with piracy, it’s hard to get decent paying ads that are not peddling malware. In addition, payment providers often refuse to work with these type of sites, while overall subscriptions revenues are dropping.

“It’s very difficult to get ads that will cover the bandwidth. And AllMyVideos sold maybe five premium subscriptions a week over the last few months, for a total of around $200,” Bill says.

The lack of revenue runs directly counter to a report that was published by the Hollywood-backed Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) two years ago. This report claimed that these hosting services are highly profitable with huge profit margins.

For example, DCA’s report estimated the site to have a yearly profit of $997,587, with a very healthy profit ratio of close to 85%.

Cyberlocker revenues, estimated by DCA


AllmMyVideos says that these figures don’t make any sense, which is evidenced by the fact that they are not shutting down due to a lack of profits.

“Honestly, I don’t know how the MPAA thinks people make money off hosting. The unreal $ values they come up with are insane. A profit margin of -20% is more like it,” Bill tells us.

The site is not the first to cite money issues as a reason to quit. Earlier this year other file-hosting services shut their doors for the same reason, and torrent site TorrentHound also cited financial problems as one of the main factors to throw in the towel.

In recent years, rights holders and industry groups have pushed hard to cut the money stream to pirate sites in any way they can, which appears to have had some effect.

DCA’s profit report, for example, was used to get payment processors to stop serving file-hosting services. Similarly, advertisers are also frequently warned not to do business with these and other “pirate” sites.

For AllMyVideos these reflections are moot. While they’ve enjoyed their ride, the team behind the site is ready to move on to new adventures.

“It’s been five years and it’s sad to see the site close. My team has met a lot of great people and wishes everyone the best of luck,” Bill concludes.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Massive Yahoo Hack – 500 Million Accounts Compromised

Post Syndicated from Darknet original http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/darknethackers/~3/r3NKnv_5YDI/

So if you are a Yahoo user (which most of us probably have been at some point) you will be aware of the Yahoo Hack – with 200 Million e-mail addresses being up for sale on the black market it seems up to 500 million have been compromised in one of the biggest hacks yet. […]

The post Massive Yahoo Hack – 500 Million Accounts…

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Two Israeli Men Arrested For Running VDoS-s.com DDoS Service

Post Syndicated from Darknet original http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/darknethackers/~3/omE-YkT-2F0/

DDoS or Booter services have been around for a while, but VDoS-s.com was a particularly slick (and shameless) one with a content marketing strategy and active social media accounts. Two Israeli men were arrested for running the service after ironically being hacked by a security researcher. They called their service a ‘Stresser’ and claimed to…

Read the full post at darknet.org.uk

Criminal Rings Hijacking Unused IPv4 Address Spaces

Post Syndicated from Darknet original http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/darknethackers/~3/kpnWMV__skk/

So apparently this Hijacking Unused IPv addresses has been going on for a while, but with quite a lot number of attempts recently it’s ramped up a LOT since the September announcement by ARIN about IPv4 depletion. There was only only 50 hijacking attempts between 2005 and 2015. Since September, ARIN has already seen 25 […]

The post Criminal…

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The Panama Papers Leak – What You Need To Know

Post Syndicated from Darknet original http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/darknethackers/~3/SPqd2S03BBo/

The HUGE news this week is the Panama Papers leak, a massive cache of 11.5 million documents leaked to a German Newspaper (Süddeutsche Zeitung) in August 2015. It’s one of the most significant data leaks of all time and Edward Snowden has labelled it as “the biggest leak in the history of data journalism”. It’s […]

The post The Panama…

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Panama Papers Endanger Anonymity of ‘Pirate’ Sites

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Torrentfreak/~3/-hSWqrh2tyE/

megaupload-logoThis weekend an unprecedented database of over 11 million files leaked from Mossack Fonseca, the world’s largest offshore law firm.

The database was initially leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source. The newspaper then shared it which the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), who involved hundreds of journalists around the world.

The reporting thus far has mainly focused on how some of the wealthiest people in the world used offshore companies to launder money and avoid tax. However, Mossack Fonseca is also frequently used as a privacy tool.

This explains why the names of two former Megaupload employees appear in the Panama Papers. As reported by Trouw, early 2010 Dutch programmer Bram Van der Kolk and Slovak designer Julius Bencko started a an offshore company with help from Mossack Fonseca.

Van der Kolk and Bencko are both wanted by the U.S. Government for their involvement with Megaupload. However, their British Virgin Islands-based company “Easy Focus Technology Limited” had nothing to do with the defunct file-sharing service.

In fact, Van der Kolk says that the reason to use an offshore company was to remain anonymous and hide their ties to Megaupload.

“The British Virgin Islands are for companies what Mega is for files: privacy, at least as long as the information does not leak from the trust office!” Van der Kolk says.

The pair didn’t want Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom to know about their side-project, as he might have objected to it. Nothing more than that.

“Not so much because our project was competing with Megaupload or that we could thus spend less time on Megaupload. More because Kim would never allow it in principle, and it would lead directly to an unnecessary escalation.”

This anonymity aspect is also crucial for a lot of names that appear in the Panama Papers. For example, many “pirate” sites use offshore companies to keep the owners out of the public view. This may help to avoid legal issues, for example.

This is believed to be one of the main reasons why several torrent sites, pirate streaming services and file-hosting companies are located in the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, Jersey, Panama and the Seychelles.

The Pirate Bay’s “parent company” Reservella, for example, is reportedly incorporated in the Seychelles. In fact, during a lawsuit in the Netherlands anti-piracy group BREIN showed evidence (pdf) listing Mossack Fonseca as Reservella’s registered agent.

Interestingly, Mossack Fonseca denied that they had anything to do with the company (pdf), suggesting that the report BREIN produced may have been fabricated.

TorrentFreak spoke with several Pirate Bay insiders who confirm that Reservella should not appear in the Panama Papers, nor do they expect any other TPB-info to turn up from the leaked documents.

Still, the privacy element will certainly have several other “pirate” sites worried that their owners may be exposed in the future. Thus far no public directory of names and companies have been released, but if that happens there is bound to be more panic.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

FBI Backed Off Apple In iPhone Cracking Case

Post Syndicated from Darknet original http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/darknethackers/~3/YOaaAx6weag/

So the big furore this week is because the FBI backed off Apple in the whole Apple vs the World privacy case regarding cracking the iPhone Passcode of the phone belonging to the San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook. If you’re not familiar with the case, catch up with it here: FBI–Apple encryption dispute. The latest […]

The post FBI Backed Off…

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The VMware Hearing and the Long Road Ahead

Post Syndicated from Bradley M. Kuhn original http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2016/02/29/VMware.html

[ This blog was crossposted
on Software Freedom Conservancy’s website
. ]

On last Thursday, Christoph Hellwig and his legal counsel attended a
hearing in
Hellwig’s VMware
that Conservancy currently funds. Harald Welte, world famous for
his GPL enforcement work in the early 2000s, also attended as an
observer and wrote
an excellent
. I’d like to highlight a few parts of his summary, in the
context of Conservancy’s past litigation experience regarding the GPL.

First of all, in great contrast to the cases here in the USA, the Court
acknowledged fully the level of public interest and importance of the case.
Judges who have presided over Conservancy’s GPL enforcement cases USA
federal court take all matters before them quite seriously. However, in
our hearings, the federal judges preferred to ignore entirely the public
policy implications regarding copyleft; they focused only on the copyright
infringement and claims related to it. Usually, appeals courts in the USA
are the first to broadly consider larger policy questions. There are
definitely some advantages to the first Court showing interest in the
public policy concerns.

However, beyond this initial point, I was struck that Harald’s summary
sounded so much like the many hearings I attended in the late 2000’s and
early 2010’s regarding Conservancy’s BusyBox cases. From his description,
it sounds to me like judges around the world aren’t all that different:
they like to ask leading questions and speculate from the bench. It’s
their job to dig deep into an issue, separate away irrelevancies, and
assure that the stark truth of the matter presents itself before the Court
for consideration. In an adversarial process like this one, that means
impartially asking both sides plenty of tough questions.

That process can be a rollercoaster for anyone who feels, as we do, that
the Court will rule on the specific legal issues around which we have built
our community. We should of course not fear the hard questions of judges;
it’s their job to ask us the hard questions, and it’s our job to answer
them as best we can. So often, here in the USA, we’ve listened to Supreme
Court arguments (for which the audio is released publicly), and every
pundit has speculated incorrectly about how the justices would rule based
on their questions. Sometimes, a judge asks a clarification question
regarding a matter they already understand to support a specific opinion
and help their colleagues on the bench see the same issue. Other times,
judges asks a questions for the usual reasons: because the judges
themselves are truly confused and unsure. Sometimes, particularly in our
past BusyBox cases, I’ve seen the judge ask the opposing counsel a question
to expose some bit of bluster that counsel sought to pass off as settled
law. You never know really why a judge asked a specific question until you
see the ruling. At this point in the VMware case, nothing has been
decided; this is just the next step forward in a long process. We enforced
here in the USA for almost five years, we’ve been in litigation in Germany
for about one year, and the earliest the Germany case can possibly resolve
is this May.

Kierkegaard wrote that it is perfectly true, as the philosophers say,
that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other
proposition, that it must be lived forwards. Court cases are a prime
example of this phenomenon. We know it is gut-wrenching for our
Supporters to watch every twist and turn in the case. It has taken so
long for us to reach the point where the question of a combined work of
software under the GPL is before a Court; now that it is we all want this
part to finish quickly. We remain very grateful to all our Supporters
who stick with us, and the new ones who will join
. That
funding makes it possible for Conservancy to pursue this and other
matters to ensure strong copyleft for our future, and handle every other
detail that our member projects need. The one certainty is that our best
chance of success is working hard for plenty of hours, and we appreciate
that all of you continue to donate so that the hard work can continue.
We also thank the Linux developers in Germany, like Harald, who are
supporting us locally and able to attend in person and report back.

FaiFCast Release, and Submit to FOSDEM Legal & Policy Issues DevRoom

Post Syndicated from Bradley M. Kuhn original http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2011/12/16/faif-fosdem.html

Today Karen Sandler and I
released Episode 0x1E of
the Free as in Freedom oggcast
in ogg
and mp3
formats). There are two important things discussed on that oggcast that
I want to draw your attention to:

Submit a proposal for the Legal & Policy Issues DevRoom

, Richard
, Karen Sandler, and I are coordinating
the Legal
and Policy Issues DevRoom

at FOSDEM 2012.
The Call
for Participation for the DevRoom is now available
. I’d like to
ask anyone reading this blog post who has an interest in policy and/or
legal issues related to software freedom to submit a talk by Friday 30
December 2011, by
emailing <fosdem-legal@faif.us>.

We only have about six slots for speakers (it’s a one-day DevRoom), so
we won’t be able to accept all proposals. I just wanted to let everyone
know that so you don’t flame me if you submit and get rejected.
Meanwhile, note that our goal is to avoid the “this is what
copyrights, trademarks and patents are” introductory talks. Our
focus is on complex issues for those already informed about the basics.
We really felt that the level of discourse about legal and policy issues
at software freedom conferences needs to rise.

There are, of course, plenty of secret membership
clubs 0, even some with their own
private conferences, where these sorts of important issues are discussed.
I personally seek to move high-level policy discussion and debate out of
the secret “old-boys” club backrooms and into a public space
where the entire software freedom community can discuss openly important
legal and policy questions in the community. I hope this DevRoom is a
first step in that direction!

Issues & Questions List for the Software Freedom Non-Profits Debate

I’ve made
to debates about the value of non-profit organizations for software
freedom projects.
In FaiFCast 0x1E,
Karen and I discuss the debate in depth. As part of that, as you’ll see
in the show notes, I’ve made a list of issues that I think were fully
conflated during the recent debates. I can’t spare the time to opine in
detail on them right now (although Karen and I do a bit of that in the
oggcast itself), but I did want to copy the list over here in my blog,
mainly to list them out as issues worth thinking about in a software
freedom non-profit:

Should a non-profit home decide what technical infrastructure is
used for a software freedom project? And if so, what should it be?

If the non-profit doesn’t provide technological services, should
non-profits allow their projects to rely on for-profits for
technological or other services?

Should a non-profit home set political and social positions that
must be followed by the projects? If so, how strictly should they be

Should copyrights be held by the non-profit home of the project, or
with the developers, or a mix of the two?

Should the non-profit dictate licensing requirements on the
project? If so, how many licenses and which licenses are

Should a non-profit dictate strict copyright provenance
requirements on their projects? If not, should the non-profit at least
provide guidelines and recommendations?

This list of questions is far from exhaustive, but I
think it’s a pretty good start.

0 Admittedly, I’ve got a
proverbial axe to grind about these secretive membership-only groups,
since, for nearly all of them, I’m persona non grata. My frustration
level in this reached a crescendo when, during a session at LinuxCon
Europe recently, I asked for the criteria to join one such private legal
issues discussions group, and I was told the criteria themselves were
secret. I pointed out to the coordinators of the forum that this wasn’t a
particularly Free Software friendly way to run a discussion group, and
they simply changed the subject. My hope is that this FOSDEM DevRoom can
be a catalyst to start a new discussion forum for legal and policy issues
related to software freedom that doesn’t have this problem.

BTW, just to clarify: I’m not talking
about FLOSS Foundations as
one of these secretive, members-only clubs. While the FLOSS Foundations
main mailing list is indeed invite-only, it’s very easy to join and the
only requirement is: “if you repost emails from this list
publicly, you’ll probably be taken off the mailing list”. There
no “Chatham
House Rule”
or other silly, unenforceable, and
spend-inordinate-amount-of-times-remembering-how-to-follow rules in
place for FLOSS Foundations, but such silly rulesets are now common with
these other secretive legal issues meeting groups.

Finally, I know I haven’t named publicly the members-only clubs I’m
talking about here, and that’s by design. This is the first time I’ve
mentioned them at all in my blog, and my hope is that they’ll change
their behaviors soon. I don’t want to publicly shame them by name until
I give them a bit more time to change their behaviors. Also, I don’t
want to inadvertently promote these fora either, since IMO their very
structure is flawed and community-unfriendly.

Update: Some
have claimed incorrectly
that the text in the footnote above somehow indicates my unwillingness to
follow the Chatham House Rule (CHR).
I refuted that
on identi.ca, noting that the text above doesn’t say that, and those who
think it does have simply misunderstood. My primary point (which I’ll now
state even more explicitly) is that CHR is difficult to follow,
particularly when it is mis-applied to a mailing list. CHR is designed
for meetings, which have a clear start time and a finish time. Mailing
lists aren’t meetings, so the behavior of CHR when applied to a mailing
list is often undefined.

I should furthermore note that people who have lived under CHR for a
series of meetings also have similar concerns as mine. For
example, Allison
Randal, who worked under CHR
on Project

The group decided to adopt Chatham House Rule for our
discussions. … At first glance it seems
quite sensible: encourage open participation by being careful about what
you share publicly. But, after almost a year of working under it, I have
to say I’m not a big fan. It’s really quite awkward sometimes figuring out
what you can and can’t say publicly. I’m trying to follow it in this post,
but I’ve probably missed in spots. The simple rule is tricky to apply.

I agree with Allison.