Friday, April 11, 2014

If Intellectual Property Is Neither Intellectual, Nor Property, What Is It?

An interesting discussion on the concept of "intellectual property" by Mike Masnick (from

Continuing my ongoing series of posts on "intellectual property," I wanted to discuss the phrase itself. It's become common language to call it intellectual property, but that leads to various problems -- most notably the idea that it's just like regular property. It's not hard to come up with numerous reasons why that's not true, but just the word "property" seems to get people tied up. There are some who refuse to use the term, but it is handy shorthand for talking about the general space.
The main reason why I have trouble with... [read more]

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lawrence Lessig Settles Fair Use Lawsuit Over Phoenix Music Snippets

Liberation Music Will Fix Its Copyright Policies and Pay Compensation

San Francisco - Prof. Lawrence Lessig has settled his lawsuit against an Australian record label over the use of clips of a popular song by the band Phoenix in a lecture that was later posted online. Liberation Music, which represents Phoenix in New Zealand, claimed the clips infringed copyright, demanded YouTube take down the lecture, and then threatened to sue Lessig. Represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Jones Day, Lessig fought back, asserting his fair use rights in court.
"Too often, copyright is used as an excuse to silence legitimate speech," said Lessig, who serves as the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. "I've been fighting against that kind of abuse for many years, and I knew I had to stand up for fair use here as well. Hopefully this lawsuit and this settlement will send a message to copyright owners to adopt fair takedown practices—or face the consequences."
The settlement requires Liberation Music to pay Lessig for the harm it caused. The amount is confidential under the terms of the settlement, but it will be dedicated to supporting EFF's work on open access, a cause of special importance to Lessig's friend, Aaron Swartz, a technologist and activist who took his own life in early 2013. The parties also worked together to improve Liberation Music's methodology for compliance with the requirements of the DMCA in the United States. Going forward, Liberation Music will adopt new policies that respect fair use.
Neither party concedes the claims or defenses of the other. Liberation Music included this statement in the settlement agreement:
"Liberation Music is pleased to amicably resolve its dispute with Professor Lessig. Liberation Music agrees that Professor Lessig's use of the Phoenix song 'Lisztomania' was both fair use under US law and fair dealing under Australian law. Liberation Music will amend its copyright and YouTube policy to ensure that mistakes like this will not happen again. Liberation Music is committed to a new copyright policy that protects its valid copyright interests and respects fair use and dealing."
A co-founder of the nonprofit Creative Commons and author of numerous books on law and technology, Lessig has played a pivotal role in shaping the debate about copyright in the digital age. In June 2010, Lessig delivered a lecture titled "Open" at a Creative Commons conference in South Korea that included several short clips of amateur dance videos set to the song "Lisztomania" by the French band Phoenix. The lecture, which was later uploaded to YouTube, used the clips to highlight emerging styles of cultural communication on the Internet.
As a condition of the settlement, Liberation Music submitted a declaration explaining its takedown procedures. Liberation Music had allowed a single employee to use YouTube's automatic Content ID system to initiate the takedown process and then, when Lessig challenged the takedown, threaten a lawsuit. The employee, who did not have a legal background, did not actually review Lessig's video before issuing a threat of a lawsuit.
Liberation Music's new policy will still rely on YouTube's system, but it will ensure that no takedown notice is issued without human review, including fair use considerations. Liberation Music will also limit its copyright enforcement to jurisdictions where it actually owns or administers the copyright.
"This is the policy Liberation Music should have had from the beginning," EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry said. "Too many content owners are issuing takedowns and manipulating content filters without respect for the rights of users. This fight may be over, but the battle continues until every content owner embraces best practices that protect fair use."

For more on this case:

About Prof. Lessig:
Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and founder of Rootstrikers, a network of activists leading the fight against government corruption. He has authored numerous books, including The USA is Lesterland, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Our Congress—and a Plan to Stop It, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, Free Culture, and Remix.

Corynne McSherry
   Intellectual Property Director
   Electronic Frontier Foundation

Friday, February 28, 2014

Casserly steps down as CEO of Creative Commons. Now Paul Brest is interim CEO

You might remember the announcement a few months ago that Cathy Casserly will be stepping down as CEO of Creative Commons this year.
In fact, at the beginning of January CC officially opened the search for the new CEO. Today, at the end of February (exactly three years after the entry of Cathy in CC) the CC blog publish a farewell message by her, explaining that Paul Brest, CC board chair, has stepped up as interim CEO.
My journey with CC has had different segments, contexts, and textures. What I have found so rewarding during this leg as CEO is working closely with our deeply talented and dedicated staff, regional coordinators, affiliates, partners, and supporters.
Together, we have made tremendous progress to create a global footprint of sharing, legally. We continue to extend our reach into critical communities – learning, science, data, and culture – and educate the world about the power of open. And while we have not yet reached our collective mission, we have advanced, and will continue to do so. Here at CC, we have worked hard over the past months to ensure the CEO transition is smooth. The board has the search well underway and Paul Brest, CC board chair, has stepped up as interim CEO. My profound thanks to Paul, both personally and on behalf of the broader community, for his unyielding leadership and support.
So the search for the new CEO is still open. We have to wait some more time to know which direction CC will take in the next years.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Less may be more: Copyleft, -right and the case law on APIs on both sides of the Atlantic

Abstract: Like any relatively young areas of law, copyright on software is surrounded by some legal uncertainty. Even moreso in the context of copyleft open source licenses, since these licenses in some respects aim for goals that are the opposite of 'regular' software copyright law. This article provides an analysis of the inheritance effect of the GPL-family of copyleft software licenses (the GPL, LGPL and the AGPL) from a mostly copyright perspective as well as an analysis of the extent to which the SAS/WPL case affects this family of copyleft software licenses. In this article the extent to which the GPL and AGPL inheritance clauses have a wider effect than those of the LGPL is questioned, while both the SAS/WPL jurisprudence and the US Google case seem to affirm the LGPL's “dynamic linking” criterium.

A paper by Walter van Holst published in IFOSS Law Review.

Table of content
  • Introduction
  • Legal framework as provided by the GPL family
    • Roles of the GPL family of licenses
    • Bare licenses based on copyright law
  • Analysis and application to libraries
    • Linking mechanisms
    • Transformation and derivation in case law
  • Conclusion


License and attribution
This paper was published in the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review, Volume 5, Issue 1 (MARCH 2013). It originally appeared online at
This article should be cited as follows:
Holst, Walter van  (2013) 'Less may be more: Copyleft, -right and the case law on APIs on both sides of the Atlantic', International Free and Open Source Software Law Review, 5(1), pp 5 – 14
DOI: 10.5033/ifosslr.v5i1.72

Copyright © 2013 Walter van Holst.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons NL (Netherlands) 2.0 licence, no derivative works, attribution, CC-BY-ND available at
As a special exception, the author expressly permits faithful translations of the entire document into any language, provided that the resulting translation (which may include an attribution to the translator) is shared alike. This paragraph is part of the paper, and must be included when copying or translating the paper.

Survey: Most Italian Internet Users Think Ignoring Copyright Harms Publishers, But Not Society As A Whole

One of the heartening recent developments in the world of digital copyright is that we have moved on from manifestly biased surveys about the evils of piracy and how the solution to everything is harsher punishment for infringement and longer copyright terms, to independent analyses that seek to understand rather than judge and lecture. There's also been a ... [continue]

An article by Glyn Moody for Read the article here.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Copyright 2.0: Interests and Rules

source of the pic
Let us think for a moment about the set of rules which would appear to be appropriate to meet the demands of creators operating along the short route.

1. The Interests.

In the market based model it was essential for creators and even more so for businesses to control and restrict access to works, as the monopoly granted by expansive exclusive rights enabled them to charge whatever price the market would bear.
However, this would not appear to be the goal of creators currently operating along the short route. The great majority of them, be it 9 out of 10 or 95 out of 100, do not make a living out of “sales” of “copies” of their works; they earn their livelihood in another activity or business and devote a portion – often a  very large portion – of their spare time to creating, in a way which may give them a bit of extra income, professional credit and recognition which may have positive spill - over effects in their main line or just fun (or a combination of the three).
Even when the creators operating along the short route are professionally engaged in the creation of works, which is usually not the case, their business model usually is based on income flows different from the sale of copies as such. It would appear that there is a shift whereby even singers and songwriters increasingly rely on performances, tours, endorsements, merchandising and their likes rather than sales of albums and tracks.
This is the business model which the Grateful Dead pioneered, possibly taking a clue from open source software and IBM, and is currently expanding to an increasing number of business. So that the eminent economist Paul Krugmann a few years ago made the case that the demise of reliance on income based on “hard” copies was being generalized and, making his case, quipped that in the long run we will all be the Grateful Dead.
What is important for creators engaged along the short route is, it would appear, that their work can be disseminated as widely as possible, on two conditions: first, that the work is correctly attributed to them, and second, that
the creators may, if they so choose, reserve the right to prevent third parties
to make a commercial profit out of their work unless this is agreed to by the creator herself.

2. The Rules.

If this is so, then what may currently be needed is a new kind of copyright, which we may, if you wish, label Copyright 2.0. I submit that the new system would have four basic features. Old copyright, or Copyright 1.0, would still be available; but it would have to be claimed for by the creator at the onset, e.g. by inserting the old copyright notice, ©, as the US did in the past, before accessing the Berne Convention.
If no notice was given, Copyright 2.0 would apply; and this would give creators just one right, the right to attribution.
The notice could also be added after creation, but then it would only have the effect of giving exclusivity against specified non authorized uses (in particular:
subsequent commercial uses).
The Copyright 1.0 protection given by the original notice could be withdrawn, and may be it should be deemed withdrawn after a specified period of time (e.g. the 14 years of the original copyright protection), unless an extension period (of another 14 years) is specifically requested.
What is the purpose of the exercise I just sketched out? Well, I confess that, even a couple of years after airing this proposal, I am not so totally sure after all that the four features I just described are really what is appropriate for the needs of our societies and their creators.
The point I am making, however, is that thinking along these lines at least allows us to conceptualize how the different sets of rules correspond to the specific needs of the creators who create works along the long and short route. We assumed that Copyright 1.0 should survive; and we may anticipate that this is likely to be resorted to by creators (and businesses) choosing to operate along the long route. Indeed, the ultimate goal is not to displace old copyright, which seems to be alive and well in many situations, but to add to the menu a second possibility, Copyright 2.0, which should be better tailored to the characters of production and distribution of works prevailing in the current digital environment.
This line of reasoning might also help us in asking the next question. Which set of rules would then operate in each given situation? Well, in some way I already replied to this question: creators should opt-in for Copyright 1.0 at the time of the original release of their work; otherwise the new and more flexible Copyright 2.0 would operate as a default set of provisions.
This is why in the past I characterized this approach as “Lessig by default” or, in a less personalized way, “Creative Commons by default”. The idea behind the approach is that the very successful uptake of Creative Commons licenses and other copyleft licenses by creators operating along the short route shows that out there, in the digital prairies and wilderness, there is a very large number indeed of crea tors who prefer to reserve only some rights rather than all rights; and that the time has come for legal systems to recognize this fact of life by creating a regime in which downstream freedom is the rule and a system under which creators may have the option to reserve some rights or, if they like, all the old Copyright 1.0 rights, only if they wish and say so, giving appropriate notice.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

This is an excerpt of "Consume and Share: Making Copyright Fit for the Digital Agenda" by Prof. Marco Ricolfi (2011); under a CC by license.
See the entire paper (with all the footnotes and references) here.

Open source alternatives for small businesses

Is it safe to use? What alternatives do I have? Is it easy to install?
These were some of the questions asked by Amandeep, a New Delhi based owner of a small scale clothing company, when I pitched to him a few open source solutions that could make his day-to-day operations more efficient. For someone without any IT background (but a sharp business sense), these were brilliant and relevant questions. The answers to these questions won't just help Amandeep, but if shared broadly may help reduce the apprehension of a significant number of small scale business owners, especially in India. My interactions have shown that a lot of these businesses are looking to grow, enhance their productivity, and most importantly, save costs.

Approximately 7,500 miles away from Amandeep in New Delhi lives Nabeel Hussain. Nabeel, a graduate of Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre, is a new product development and digital marketing specialist actively engaged in Waterloo, one of the top entrepreneurial ecosystems in the world. As an entrepreneur, he is always faced with the challenge of managing limited resources while building traction. He has a plethora of technology solutions at his disposal, and the technical know-how to utilize these solutions. Additionally, he has a robust support system to advise and guide him to the best available solution that fits his needs. For Nabeel, open source solutions provide an inexpensive alternative for crafting early stage prototypes for his ideas and validating them with customers. From using WordPress and its library of plugins, to venturing into OpenShift Origin and Joomla, he has the knowledge to make use of top notch technology to reduce risk, manager resources, and build traction for his venture.
These two different scenarios indicate a categorical gap in the knowledge of entrepreneurs when it comes to adopting open source solutions. Although there is some geographic gap between the entrepreneurs in the developed and the developing world, as well as a gap that spawns from business exposure/experience, the problem is wider than that. There is a difference in productivity and efficiency between entrepreneurs who utilize open source solutions and those who do not. The situation becomes clear when we look at those small scale business owners who are technology pros versus those who are not.
A significant number of businesses, in India in particular and in the developing world in general, are of a mom-and-pop business nature. Based on my recent interactions with these small scale business owners, I see widespread misconceptions pertaining to open source software. The questions that Amandeep from New Delhi asked me are critical in nature. In order for small scale businesses to adopt open source solutions, it is vital to address these misconceptions.

Is open source software really safe?

The question arises from the basic process that is followed to write code using open source way. If any hacker can read your code, then why can't they use the knowledge to their personal benefit? Most of those sorts of malicious attempts fail because there are a lot of committed people looking over the source code, finding problems, and fixing them. More eyes tame bugs quickly. And security by obscurity is no security at all. What strikes me at this point of time are the words of security expert Bruce Schneier, "Public security is always more secure than proprietary security…For us, open source isn't just a business model; it's smart engineering practice."
Developing code in an open source fashion is an expression of a technique. Software, in our world, should be treated as a service which can be customized based on the specific needs of a user, rather than merely as a product.
I know a lot of people involved at different levels of open source projects. All of them are driven by their commitment to reach technical and professional excellence, and to add to the existing body of technology knowledge. The entire ecosystem of open source is built on that commitment. The Linux operating system, for example, with its proven track record of stability and security, forms the backbone of complex infrastructures and data centers world over. The same benefits that help Linux and other open source tools succeed at the enterprise level can be reaped by small businesses, too.
A couple of months back, I read Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat. An otherwise helpful and insightful book, the author seems to host a thought process that open source is contrary to the developers' right to make a profit. A lot of people who think that way do not see the forest for the trees. They see free software, they see Linux, but they miss the multi-billion dollar ecosystem that surrounds open source. Its true that Brian Behlendorf, the person who orchestrated Apache web server, did not make a dime off it, but the immense value that this server has added to the economy and the legions of small to medium size businesses that use this infrastructure is an important contribution. Free software developed by a community is not tantamount to insecurity.

Are there quality alternatives available?

Gone are the days when open source was produced only by the engineers, for the engineers. From word processing to calendar applications to servers and to setting up telephone communication networks, small businesses can benefit hugely from open source solutions. Let us take the example of word processing, an activity that almost all small businesses, irrespective of their field, carry out.
Microsoft Word is the premium software in the area but it is cluttered with features that a lot of small businesses won't ever use. The bloating of Microsoft Word has cost its simplicity. There are easy to use, simple, free, and open source word processors available out their. A few of these that I have been using (and suggesting to small businesses) as an alternative to Microsoft Word are:
  1. Apache Open Office: This software primarily consists of six tools for managing office tasks, namely: Writer as a word processor, Calc as a spreadsheet tool, Impress for multimedia presentations, Draw for diagrams and 3D applications, Base as a database tool, and Math for creating mathematical equations.
  2. AbiWord: Developed in 1998 with the help of gtkmm, this open source word processor includes both simple word processing features to sophisticated features like multiple views, page columns, and grammar checking.
  3. LibreOffice:This is my favorite and always at the top of my recommendation list for anyone looking for a free and efficient word processing suite. Although the features are similiar to those of ApacheOpen Office, LibreOffice is better when it comes to community support.
There are dozens of other excellent alternative solutions to proprietary software and thousands of open source projects that can serve small businesses. It can sometimes be difficult to select the software which best matches specific needs, but there are plenty of people globally willing to help you make those decisions and help take small businesses down the path to an open and productive future.

Originally posted 17 Feb 2014 by Aseem Sharma under a CC by-sa license; see source.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A law about open geodata in Italy

On August 7, 2012 Italian parliament approved a new law (legge n. 135/2012) related to the socalled "public spending review" where we can find an interesting reform about open geodata.
Here is an English translation of the first part of Article 23, Paragraph 12-quaterdecies:
To support the development of applications and services based on geospatial data and to develop the technologies of Earth, including for environmental protection, risk mitigation and scientific research, all the data and information acquired from soil, air and satellite platforms and financed by public resources must be available to all the potential users, within the limits imposed by reasons of safeguarding national security.
It is a good piece of news in the field of openness for Italy. Now we have only to hope that this new rule become effective soon in all the Italian public administrations and not just a nice principle.
- - -
Second part of the paragraph includes some specific references to the Italian State apparatus and is hard to correctly translate in English. If you want to read also the second part of the paragraph and a few comments about it, a longer article by me is available here.

For more information about open data in Italy, see this presentation by Carlo Piana. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Louisiana State University faculty member supports student Wikipedia editing

Ambassador Becky Carmichael trains
a student during a Wikipedia workshop
If you teach in the science department at Louisiana State University and want to incorporate a Wikipedia assignment into your classroom, Becky Carmichael is the person to meet. She began volunteering as a Wikipedia Ambassador in the Wikipedia Education Program in the United States in 2011, during her graduate studies and work as a teaching assistant for a Conservation Biology course. Since she had taught the class many times and was familiar with the content, she said it was a great way to focus on “the nuances of Wikipedia.” Then Becky became the Science Coordinator with Communication across the Curriculum, a Louisiana State University program that helps undergraduates improve their writing and technological communication skills. She already understood the basics of editing Wikipedia and how to incorporate it into a classroom assignment, and now she could reach instructors in other areas of science.
To date, Becky has helped 13 classes use Wikipedia as a teaching tool. With so much experience as a Wikipedia Ambassador, she has developed her own training routine and learned the importance of communicating these assignments’ potential impact.
“For students, I like to introduce Wikipedia with a pre-workshop homework set,” she says. “The homework is very similar to the Wikipedia Ambassador training I received in 2010, with the addition of the online “training for students” — a truly valuable resource! During the workshop, we can get into details about what Wikipedia is, the importance of sharing information, and what they will gain from the experience. I emphasize that as members of the university, we have access to a wealth of information and resources the general public may not. We can give our research and exploration of a topic purpose by sharing with others.”
When instructors work with Becky to develop Wikipedia assignments, they get advice from someone who teaches with Wikipedia herself.
“I teach an honors-level course for non-science majors, Natural Disturbances and Society,” Becky says. “This is a course I developed to examine how natural disturbances (e.g., fires, hurricanes, invasive species) influence our lives and how society can influence disturbance events. My class is currently proposing creation of articles or the significant contribution to existing pages related to the course. It’s a great class, which encourages science literacy and exploration, with interesting connections to society, which may currently not be included in some disturbance or disaster articles.”
In Becky’s experience, in the beginning of the term, “students are initially uncomfortable with contributing to Wikipedia. They think it will break and become intimidated because of the global visibility. And who wouldn’t be nervous? Their work is going to be read by potentially millions of people, not just their instructor. I tackle this by having the students provide each other feedback on drafts in their sandboxes first. It is still intimidating to let classmates review their work, but I found that the students really put forth even better initial drafts. They also help each other learn better communication skills, sharing editing tricks and grammatical advice. It’s amazing how much the quality of contributions improved. The feedback exercise was also one of the aspects students really found useful stating they appreciated learning how to clarify and strengthen their writing.”
One of the great things about partnering with a university professional is that her Wikipedia Ambassador responsibilities fit so neatly into her job description.
“My focus as the Science Coordinator is to aid undergraduates in effectively disseminating scientific information through writing, speaking, visual, and technological means. Additionally, I assist faculty in course and assignment design that improves communication and critical analysis skills. Wikipedia can be the perfect way to achieve both of these skill sets because it is a cooperative writing process based in technology,” Becky says.
Her work as a Wikipedia Ambassador advances her mission within her career, and her role at the university gives her a great opportunity to influence students. By providing “one-on-one assistance to both faculty and students learning how to edit and navigate the site,” Becky makes sure assignments will not only achieve important learning objectives but also will positively impact Wikipedia.
As Becky has become a campus expert in teaching with Wikipedia, she has welcomed the opportunity to reach course goals creatively.
“I enjoy brainstorming ways to approach an assignment, make connections to real-world applications, and methods to excite the students,” Becky says. “I am passionate about improving science literacy and can truly ‘geek out’ over science topics. I like that Wikipedia represents sharing of knowledge and the increase of literacy in many topics in a friendly environment. The community involvement can be impactful on both student learning as well as inspiration for continual discovery.”
Jami Mathewson
Program Manager, Wiki Education Foundation

Originally posted by Jami Mathewson on February 10, 2014; text is released under a CC by 3.0 license (see original source).

Friday, February 7, 2014

Call to all open source communities: Emphasize inclusion

As a woman in open source, I have found that the values of community, open development, and flat organizational structure appeal equally to both men and women. The ability of local organizers to freely define what type of culture they are building allows them to adapt in order to appeal to the surrounding culture, while striving to improve access. 
The gender balance in the field of design is the opposite of the FOSS community, because the majority of visual artists are female. In art, gender is discussed openly as an aspect of the theory used to explain visual communication. For example, part of the typical peer-review process is critique, the goal of which is to contextualize visual communication by discussing the culture, gender, identity, economics, and psychological factors which influenced the artwork, so the artist can understand how they personally fit into the community in which they practice. I began as an outsider to both technology and the FOSS community, so it was both interesting and frustrating to realize that much of the communication and organization of FOSS communities was framed without acknowledgement to the diversity of communication styles and the backgrounds of potential community members.
In 2011, I was accepted to the OPW to work on high contrast icon themes for the GNOME desktop. This started my deep dive into the fascinating world of Linux. Having access to an open code base, sharing my work in the open, and receiving constant feedback from the community was overwhelming at first. The learning curve was steep, but the excitement I felt about having access to open knowledge, the support of a community dedicated to sharing knowledge freely, and to pushing the boundaries of what we did kept me coming back for more even on the most frustrating days.
My OPW internship brought me into the FOSS community. It also taught me to talk freely about my experiences as a woman in the computer science field, and sometimes that means knocking on the same doors over and over until you are let in. Sometimes it means acknowledging that communication styles needs to shift in order to emphasize inclusion. Other times it means speaking up about what your community values and how to allocate resources to benefit all participants equally. OPW was the first door to open for me, and my involvement showed me that persistence, hard work, and enthusiasm can bring success no matter who you are or where you start from.
As time went on I became involved in coding for GNOME. In 2012, I started to contribute to GNOME’s Documents application, which was the first application to be developed in the new GNOME 3 style. Because the style is still in its early stages, the themes and widgets are being prototyped in the applications before they are integrated into GTK+ (the widget library) and the standard desktop themes. Last summer I wrote my own GNOME application: a sound recorder for the desktop. I started by planning my code to fulfill the requirements of a series of mockups by a community member. I went on to code the application as a Google Summer of Code (GSoC) project.
During the initial development phase I worked with Reda Lazri (the original designer), Sebastian Dröge (a GStreamer core maintainer who mentored me), Hylke Bons, and Garrett LeSage (both of whom are community members and design for GNOME). GSoC allowed me to immerse myself in GNOME’s developer community and learn about the code base from core contributors.
When a fellow GNOME contributor, Jim Campbell, suggested that we start a group to focus on GNOME and GNU/Linux, I saw it as a way to give back to my community and work to increase diversity. The FOSS community in Chicago is small, and for the first year I was the only woman who attended our events. From the beginning we emphasized that our group was open to anyone who was interested in participating by adopting a code of conduct. As time went on our community began to grow and started to be more representative of the larger community here in the city. Engaging women has happened slowly but without any special intervention on our part.
We invite members to bring their projects to hackfests and share their knowledge by giving talks. People have come to work on GTK+ bindings for the Go programming language, documentation for Gedit, the fundraising campaign for MediaGoblin, and the website for the Open Science Framework, among other things. Talks have ranged from a recent SaltStack tutorial, which our members participated in using their own four-server demo environments running on server space donated by Rackspace—to talks on Wayland, Emacs, and personal data security. All of the projects and presentations center around the use of open source technologies. Our role as organizers is to encourage participation and free exchange of ideas and resources among participants.
Being a woman in computer science is both an exciting and challenging experience. To me it means being exposed to emerging technologies, solving new and difficult problems, and working to promote Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in my local community.
I think that outreach can be successfully addressed using the same template as other questions in open source: by recognizing diversity as a key element of success, by facilitating transparency and equal access to knowledge, and by letting the community organize itself around a shared vision. Having women who are visibly engaged in and promoting involvement in the community seems to be one way to send a clear message that women can participate and succeed in FOSS.


The European Union Public Licence (EUPL)

Abstract: The EUPL is an OSI-approved free or open source software licence, copyrighted by the European Union. It was drafted by the Commission as from 2005 and launched in January 2007 as a share alike (or copyleft) style licence. At the end of 2012, about 500 projects have been licensed under the EUPL by European institutions, Member States and the private sector. A new version 1.2 of the EUPL has been drafted in 2013 and the European Commission reported that it will be published before the end of the year 2013. What makes the EUPL unique is its multilingual working value, specific warranties, references to the Court of Justice of the European Union and its provisions related to licence compatibility, making its copyleft “variable” for facilitating interoperability.

A paper by Patrice-Emmanuel Schmitz published in IFOSS Law Review.

Table of content
1. Origin of the EUPL
2. EUPL and Licence Proliferation
3. The EUPL Used as a “Reference”
4. Rights Granted by the EUPL v1.1
5. What Made the EUPL v1.1 Specific?
6. Changes Planned in the EUPL v1.2
7 How is the EUPL's Variable Copyleft Implemented?
   a) The Normal Copyleft Reuse Under the EUPL
   b) Exception to the “Normal Copyleft” (Reuse in Other Copyleft Works)
   c) Exception to the Exception


Licence and Attribution
This paper was published in the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review, Volume 5, Issue 2 (December 2013). It originally appeared online at
This article should be cited as follows:
Schmitz, Patrice-Emmanuel (2013) 'The European Union Public Licence (EUPL)', International Free and Open Source Software Law Review, 5(2), pp 121 – 136
DOI: 10.5033/ifosslr.v5i2.91 

Copyright © 2013 Patrice-Emmanuel Schmitz.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons UK (England and Wales) 2.0 licence, no derivative works, attribution, CC-BY-ND available at 

As a special exception, the author expressly permits faithful translations of the entire document into any language, provided that the resulting translation (which may include an attribution to the translator) is shared alike. This paragraph is part of the paper, and must be included when copying or translating the paper.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Five guys to defend software freedom in Italy

A new concept law firm
...focused on openness
Italian Carlo Piana and Giovanni Battista Gallus, pre-eminent lawyers with more than 20 years of experience into the IT field, reinvented the concept of specialized law firm creating Array. Founded in 2009 as a group of independent lawyers (“Array is an array”), Array is reborn in 2014 as a loosely knit law firm composed by professionals with an outstanding profile in the fields of Information Technology, Media and Telecommunication (TMT), with long standing experience in consultancy as well as in litigation in civil, criminal, administrative and ADR procedures.
Members of Array have also a focus on Free and Open Source Software, Open Content, Open Data, which in recent years has become mainstream, the fastest growing trend in the IT sector and one of the most challenging legal fields.
Within Array are also Guglielmo Troiano, Simone Aliprandi and Alberto Pianon who are distributed across the Italian territory with offices in Milan, Vicenza and Cagliari but working throughout the European market by offering advice to clients ranging from small projects to large communities, from SMBs to Fortune 500 corporations.

Carlo Piana
Lawyer in Milan and member of the local bar, Carlo is a pre-eminent Italian IT Lawyer, working almost exclusively in the Information Technology and Telecommunication Law, a field where he begun consulting on 1994. Passionate about technology and Free Software (Open Source) he has been active in many battles for Digital Rights and against monopolization, as with the antitrust cases in the Software Workgroup Servers field (where he represented the Free Software Foundation Europe and the Samba Team) or with the standardization process of XML document formats (like DIS29500, also known as ECMA 376 or Office Open XML – OOXML), or again more recently in one of the largest IT acquisition ever, involving the World largest Free Software company as target.
General Counsel for the Free Software Foundation Europe, he is member of the Team of Freedom Task Force and approved legal expert in Italy and Europe on matters pertaining Free Software and Open Source. He is also President of the board of the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation.
[see also his Wikipedia biography]

Giovanni Battista Gallus
Copyright, Criminal, Data Protection/Privacy and IT and New Technologies law are his main areas of expertise. After a cum laude degree in Law in Italy, he moves to Great Britain for the Master of Laws in Maritime Law e Information Technology Law at the University College London – UCL. Afterwhile, he earns a PhD. In 2009 he obtains the European Certificate on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence (ECCE). He is ISO 27001:2005 Certified Lead Auditor (Information Security Management System).
Member of the Bar of Cagliari since 1996, admitted to the Supreme Court since 2009, he is a member of the Department “Informatica Giuridica” at the Università Statale of Milan and he is a teacher at the Post-Graduate Course in Digital Forensics, Privacy, Cloud e Cyber Warfare. Fellow of Nexa Center on Internet e Society and of the Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights. Author of several publications on the above mentioned areas and speaker at the main national and international congresses, he sides his legal profession an intense teaching activity, mainly in the field of copyright, Free/Open Source Software, data protection, IT security and digital forensics.

Read more on the official website

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Women of OpenStack talk outreach, education, and mentoring

Image credits: The U.S. National Archives
In the open source world, a women-only event seems counter-intuitive. Yet I am finding reasons for such events the more I attend them.
At the OpenStack Summit, a twice-a-year event where OpenStack contributors get together to plan the next release, the Women of OpenStack group has set up events where we invite the women first. Men aren't excluded, but our hope is to get more OpenStack women together. I can hardly capture the value of getting together with other women in OpenStack at the Summit, but here goes. 

Why do we get together apart from the rest of the conference?

We have a couple of themes for our meetups. We talk about outreach to more women, especially in education as early as elementary school and definitely through college. Also, we meet our GNOME Outreach Program for Women interns in person for the first time! That’s a huge reason for these in-person gatherings: getting to know each other personally. But we also want to find concrete ways to make our meetings meaningful, so we talk about a few tracks for our goals: outreach, education, career planning, and mentoring. We come up with ideas for our goals, and we keep discussing them at each Summit. It’s like a design summit session for women of OpenStack. And, in between Summits we stay in touch via LinkedIn.

We look for speaking opportunities for women in the cloud. We have held workshops geared towards outreach to women, introducing lots of technical women to OpenStack. For example, this past year Iccha Sethi, Jessica Lucci, and I ran a workshop at the Grace Hopper Open Source Day, and Anita Kuno, Lyz Krumbach Joseph, and Ryan Lane ran a CodeChix workshop. We generally forge the bonds that hold together a common minority by talking about schools, parenting, gin as a vegetable, shoes, traveling wardrobes, and how does this OpenStack Neutron plug-in work, anyway?

We get to know each other. I sat down across from a woman who mentioned she works at IBM in Austin. I said, "Oh, I work at Rackspace in Austin." She said, "Where do you live?" I said, "Oh, in northwest Austin." She said, "Wait, where do you live!?" As it turns out, we both have fourth graders who go to the same neighborhood school! It’s a small world with tight connections in Austin for high-tech women. It seems impossible with the numbers game we’d know each other’s schools, streets, neighborhoods, and so on, but in reality we’re rare enough birds of a feather that it is natural for us to get together and get know each other well. We can talk about families, parenting, all in a technology setting, without any concerns for: "Is it okay to talk about this here?" We are glad to share. There are so few of us that we need to be diligent about our outreach and staying connected.

This year we had a question at the OpenStack Summit related to under representation of minorities in a panel with the OpenStack Technical Committee. I couldn't quite gather my thoughts to talk about it on the panel, but I blogged about it later because it's vitally important as we grow as a community. We need to be hyper-vigilant about impostor syndrome, uncovered by researchers who found that many high-achieving females believe they are not intelligent and that others over-evaluate them. Believe me, I have to fake it to make it daily. This is part of the reality of questioning whether you belong in open source, whether you have leadership potential, and whether you have the technical chops.

Our culture as a community may reward the most confident, but in reality as we grow as a community it’s important to understand that some cultures do not view confidence in the same way, and some people do not naturally exude confidence. We’re also looking at English-as-a-second-language (ESL) increasing in prevalence in our community, and a former Outreach Program for Women intern, Anita Kuno, recently edited our Technical Committee charter to be gender-neutral. These efforts matter. These gatherings give us a chance to question the normal in a safe arena. We are also able to track numbers of women attending OpenStack Summits. We won't know if we're improving if we don't track it, and we can't improve if we don't start somewhere.

The best way I can think to describe why it matters for women to network with other women is there's an establishment of trust, that this community is also your community. We don't tend to walk into a room full of all-women in open source events. More often you walk into a room, try to figure out just where to sit, try to find someone else you recognize and can talk to, and see if you know any regulars from other areas. With small networks of women in open source, my vision is that we'll walk into the room and just know we belong. Then we won't ask questions like: "How can we get more women in open source?" We'll ask: "How can we get more people in open source?"


Monday, February 3, 2014

The free software definition (What is free software?)

The Free Software Definition

The free software definition presents the criteria for whether a particular software program qualifies as free software. From time to time we revise this definition, to clarify it or to resolve questions about subtle issues. See the History section below for a list of changes that affect the definition of free software.

“Free software” means software that respects users' freedom and community. Roughly, it means that the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Thus, “free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer”.
We campaign for these freedoms because everyone deserves them. With these freedoms, the users (both individually and collectively) control the program and what it does for them. When users don't control the program, we call it a “nonfree” or “proprietary” program. The nonfree program controls the users, and the developer controls the program; this makes the program an instrument of unjust power.
A program is free software if the program's users have the four essential freedoms:
  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
A program is free software if it gives users adequately all of these freedoms. Otherwise, it is nonfree. While we can distinguish various nonfree distribution schemes in terms of how far they fall short of being free, we consider them all equally unethical.
The rest of this page clarifies certain points about what makes specific freedoms adequate or not.
Freedom to distribute (freedoms 2 and 3) means you are free to redistribute copies, either with or without modifications, either gratis or charging a fee for distribution, to anyone anywhere. Being free to do these things means (among other things) that you do not have to ask or pay for permission to do so.
You should also have the freedom to make modifications and use them privately in your own work or play, without even mentioning that they exist. If you do publish your changes, you should not be required to notify anyone in particular, or in any particular way.
The freedom to run the program means the freedom for any kind of person or organization to use it on any kind of computer system, for any kind of overall job and purpose, without being required to communicate about it with the developer or any other specific entity. In this freedom, it is the user's purpose that matters, not the developer's purpose; you as a user are free to run the program for your purposes, and if you distribute it to someone else, she is then free to run it for her purposes, but you are not entitled to impose your purposes on her.
The freedom to redistribute copies must include binary or executable forms of the program, as well as source code, for both modified and unmodified versions. (Distributing programs in runnable form is necessary for conveniently installable free operating systems.) It is OK if there is no way to produce a binary or executable form for a certain program (since some languages don't support that feature), but you must have the freedom to redistribute such forms should you find or develop a way to make them.
In order for freedoms 1 and 3 (the freedom to make changes and the freedom to publish the changed versions) to be meaningful, you must have access to the source code of the program. Therefore, accessibility of source code is a necessary condition for free software. Obfuscated “source code” is not real source code and does not count as source code.
Freedom 1 includes the freedom to use your changed version in place of the original. If the program is delivered in a product designed to run someone else's modified versions but refuse to run yours — a practice known as “tivoization” or “lockdown”, or (in its practitioners' perverse terminology) as “secure boot” — freedom 1 becomes a theoretical fiction rather than a practical freedom. This is not sufficient. In other words, these binaries are not free software even if the source code they are compiled from is free.
One important way to modify a program is by merging in available free subroutines and modules. If the program's license says that you cannot merge in a suitably licensed existing module — for instance, if it requires you to be the copyright holder of any code you add — then the license is too restrictive to qualify as free.
Freedom 3 includes the freedom to release your modified versions as free software. A free license may also permit other ways of releasing them; in other words, it does not have to be a copyleft license. However, a license that requires modified versions to be nonfree does not qualify as a free license.
In order for these freedoms to be real, they must be permanent and irrevocable as long as you do nothing wrong; if the developer of the software has the power to revoke the license, or retroactively add restrictions to its terms, without your doing anything wrong to give cause, the software is not free.
However, certain kinds of rules about the manner of distributing free software are acceptable, when they don't conflict with the central freedoms. For example, copyleft (very simply stated) is the rule that when redistributing the program, you cannot add restrictions to deny other people the central freedoms. This rule does not conflict with the central freedoms; rather it protects them.
“Free software” does not mean “noncommercial”. A free program must be available for commercial use, commercial development, and commercial distribution. Commercial development of free software is no longer unusual; such free commercial software is very important. You may have paid money to get copies of free software, or you may have obtained copies at no charge. But regardless of how you got your copies, you always have the freedom to copy and change the software, even to sell copies.
Whether a change constitutes an improvement is a subjective matter. If your right to modify a program is limited, in substance, to changes that someone else considers an improvement, that program is not free.
However, rules about how to package a modified version are acceptable, if they don't substantively limit your freedom to release modified versions, or your freedom to make and use modified versions privately. Thus, it is acceptable for the license to require that you change the name of the modified version, remove a logo, or identify your modifications as yours. As long as these requirements are not so burdensome that they effectively hamper you from releasing your changes, they are acceptable; you're already making other changes to the program, so you won't have trouble making a few more.
Rules that “if you make your version available in this way, you must make it available in that way also” can be acceptable too, on the same condition. An example of such an acceptable rule is one saying that if you have distributed a modified version and a previous developer asks for a copy of it, you must send one. (Note that such a rule still leaves you the choice of whether to distribute your version at all.) Rules that require release of source code to the users for versions that you put into public use are also acceptable.
A special issue arises when a license requires changing the name by which the program will be invoked from other programs. That effectively hampers you from releasing your changed version so that it can replace the original when invoked by those other programs. This sort of requirement is acceptable only if there's a suitable aliasing facility that allows you to specify the original program's name as an alias for the modified version.
In the GNU project, we use copyleft to protect these freedoms legally for everyone. But noncopylefted free software also exists. We believe there are important reasons why it is better to use copyleft, but if your program is noncopylefted free software, it is still basically ethical. (See Categories of Free Software for a description of how “free software,” “copylefted software” and other categories of software relate to each other.)
Sometimes government export control regulations and trade sanctions can constrain your freedom to distribute copies of programs internationally. Software developers do not have the power to eliminate or override these restrictions, but what they can and must do is refuse to impose them as conditions of use of the program. In this way, the restrictions will not affect activities and people outside the jurisdictions of these governments. Thus, free software licenses must not require obedience to any nontrivial export regulations as a condition of exercising any of the essential freedoms.
Merely mentioning the existence of export regulations, without making them a condition of the license itself, is acceptable since it does not restrict users. If an export regulation is actually trivial for free software, then requiring it as a condition is not an actual problem; however, it is a potential problem, since a later change in export law could make the requirement nontrivial and thus render the software nonfree.
Most free software licenses are based on copyright, and there are limits on what kinds of requirements can be imposed through copyright. If a copyright-based license respects freedom in the ways described above, it is unlikely to have some other sort of problem that we never anticipated (though this does happen occasionally). However, some free software licenses are based on contracts, and contracts can impose a much larger range of possible restrictions. That means there are many possible ways such a license could be unacceptably restrictive and nonfree.
We can't possibly list all the ways that might happen. If a contract-based license restricts the user in an unusual way that copyright-based licenses cannot, and which isn't mentioned here as legitimate, we will have to think about it, and we will probably conclude it is nonfree.
When talking about free software, it is best to avoid using terms like “give away” or “for free,” because those terms imply that the issue is about price, not freedom. Some common terms such as “piracy” embody opinions we hope you won't endorse. See Confusing Words and Phrases that are Worth Avoiding for a discussion of these terms. We also have a list of proper translations of “free software” into various languages.
Finally, note that criteria such as those stated in this free software definition require careful thought for their interpretation. To decide whether a specific software license qualifies as a free software license, we judge it based on these criteria to determine whether it fits their spirit as well as the precise words. If a license includes unconscionable restrictions, we reject it, even if we did not anticipate the issue in these criteria. Sometimes a license requirement raises an issue that calls for extensive thought, including discussions with a lawyer, before we can decide if the requirement is acceptable. When we reach a conclusion about a new issue, we often update these criteria to make it easier to see why certain licenses do or don't qualify.
If you are interested in whether a specific license qualifies as a free software license, see our list of licenses. If the license you are concerned with is not listed there, you can ask us about it by sending us email at <>.
If you are contemplating writing a new license, please contact the Free Software Foundation first by writing to that address. The proliferation of different free software licenses means increased work for users in understanding the licenses; we may be able to help you find an existing free software license that meets your needs.
If that isn't possible, if you really need a new license, with our help you can ensure that the license really is a free software license and avoid various practical problems.


Beyond Software

Software manuals must be free, for the same reasons that software must be free, and because the manuals are in effect part of the software.
The same arguments also make sense for other kinds of works of practical use — that is to say, works that embody useful knowledge, such as educational works and reference works. Wikipedia is the best-known example.
Any kind of work can be free, and the definition of free software has been extended to a definition of free cultural works applicable to any kind of works.

Open Source?

Another group has started using the term “open source” to mean something close (but not identical) to “free software”. We prefer the term “free software” because, once you have heard that it refers to freedom rather than price, it calls to mind freedom. The word “open” never refers to freedom.


From time to time we revise this Free Software Definition. Here is the list of substantive changes, along with links to show exactly what was changed.
  • Version 1.122: An export control requirement is a real problem if the requirement is nontrivial; otherwise it is only a potential problem.
  • Version 1.118: Clarification: the issue is limits on your right to modify, not on what modifications you have made. And modifications are not limited to “improvements”
  • Version 1.111: Clarify 1.77 by saying that only retroactive restrictions are unacceptable. The copyright holders can always grant additional permission for use of the work by releasing the work in another way in parallel.
  • Version 1.105: Reflect, in the brief statement of freedom 1, the point (already stated in version 1.80) that it includes really using your modified version for your computing.
  • Version 1.92: Clarify that obfuscated code does not qualify as source code.
  • Version 1.90: Clarify that freedom 3 means the right to distribute copies of your own modified or improved version, not a right to participate in someone else's development project.
  • Version 1.89: Freedom 3 includes the right to release modified versions as free software.
  • Version 1.80: Freedom 1 must be practical, not just theoretical; i.e., no tivoization.
  • Version 1.77: Clarify that all retroactive changes to the license are unacceptable, even if it's not described as a complete replacement.
  • Version 1.74: Four clarifications of points not explicit enough, or stated in some places but not reflected everywhere:
    • "Improvements" does not mean the license can substantively limit what kinds of modified versions you can release. Freedom 3 includes distributing modified versions, not just changes.
    • The right to merge in existing modules refers to those that are suitably licensed.
    • Explicitly state the conclusion of the point about export controls.
    • Imposing a license change constitutes revoking the old license.
  • Version 1.57: Add "Beyond Software" section.
  • Version 1.46: Clarify whose purpose is significant in the freedom to run the program for any purpose.
  • Version 1.41: Clarify wording about contract-based licenses.
  • Version 1.40: Explain that a free license must allow to you use other available free software to create your modifications.
  • Version 1.39: Note that it is acceptable for a license to require you to provide source for versions of the software you put into public use.
  • Version 1.31: Note that it is acceptable for a license to require you to identify yourself as the author of modifications. Other minor clarifications throughout the text.
  • Version 1.23: Address potential problems related to contract-based licenses.
  • Version 1.16: Explain why distribution of binaries is important.
  • Version 1.11: Note that a free license may require you to send a copy of versions you distribute to the author.
There are gaps in the version numbers shown above because there are other changes in this page that do not affect the definition or its interpretations. For instance, the list does not include changes in asides, formatting, spelling, punctuation, or other parts of the page. You can review the complete list of changes to the page through the cvsweb interface.


Copyright © 1996-2002, 2004-2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 Free Software Foundation, Inc. This page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License. Taken from

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Like Arduino? Miniaturize your project with TinyCircuits

When you walk into the cavernous, old tire plant of Canal Place in Akron, Ohio, the last thing that you'd expect to find in this big building is such a "tiny" treasure. Unexpected though it may be, this is where Ken Burns and the TinyCircuits team has set up shop, and it's where they make tiny open source hardware treasures: miniaturized Arduino compatible circuits.
Ken Burns is the founder of TinyCircuits and has always been fascinated with computers. He first got access to a computer, an Apple 2, when he was six years old at a local library, for only 15 minutes a week. He continued working with computers, earned a degree in electrical engineering at the University of Akron, and eventually began working at AVID Technologies, Inc., a company that does product design in Twinsburg.
At AVID, he says, "I noticed a common thread—smart sensor modules people would want put into their products." Eventually, he had the inspiration for TinyCircuits and started a business around open source hardware and electronics.
The TinyDunio won them the Internet of Things Award for Open Source Project of the Year in 2012.
TinyCircuits makes products exactly like what their name implies. The TinyDuino is the size of a quarter but is as powerful as the Arduino Uno. There are many different types of low cost, open source boards that are made at TinyCircuits. The most popular product is the TinyDuino starter kit (includes the processor board, USB board, and proto boards). TinyCircuits' electronics also have the expandability of an Arduino board. Using TinyShields, you can snap on capabilities like an accelerometer, WiFi, and GPS.
"The difference is the miniaturization of it while maintaining the expandability of the core Arduino platform. We have a miniature platform that you can still expand on. It is fairly easy to add WiFi, GPS, motor control. It keeps the simplicity of the Arduino and keeps it useful for projects that need to be small."
TinyCircuits got its start in 2011 with a lot of help from the open source community. The team was able to raise over $100,000 in donations from their Kickstarter campaign to start manufacturing and distributing TinyCircuits. This also kickstarted a community of followers, users, and supporters, particularly those who were already users of Arduino boards. Because TinyCircuit products are compatible with the Arduino products, the company fulfills the need of a niche market and leverages the Arduino community. 
"The traditional view of open source is about software. Open source hardware has been around for about 7 to 10 years. Making hardware open and building a community around it is a huge advantage in hardware like in software," Burns said. "The community behind it keeps it alive, keeps it useful."
Many users have come up with exceptional uses for TinyCircuits due to their low power usage, customability, and size. For example, a PhD student from England was better able to observe climate data over large expanses of land. He used his TinyCircuits to measure the basic environmental factors of an African game preserve for a year, and thus he had more data points and all for a much lower cost than the typical, expensive equipment.
TinyCircuits can also "stir a kid's imagination and make them use their engineering mind even though they might not think they have one yet," said Burns. Users tend to primarily be hobbyists and students who are already somewhat familiar with the Arduino board and other open source electronics, but who have a need to 'miniaturize' their projects.

Original source posted 29 Jan 2014 by Lauren Egt; license: CC by-sa

Friday, January 31, 2014

Thoughts on Open Innovation: a book edited by Shane Coughlan

The book “Thoughts on Open Innovation” was launched at the Digital Agenda Summit in Dublin in June 2013. The book aims to address the challenges surrounding Open Innovation; its precise scope, its impact on daily life and the policy measures needed to sustain it continue to be heavily discussed and debated. Its predecessor was “The First Openforum Academy Conference Proceedings” from September 2012 which also was a collection of essays mainly considering Open Innovation in the context of economics, society and global affairs, and this new book, on the other hand, covers openness more as it relates to software, data and access.

The introduction to the book is by Karel De Vriendt, a retired IT expert who worked for the European Commission for twenty years being actively involved in initiatives such as the Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR). He attempts to explain the basic concept of Open Innovation by first referring to the definition introduced by Professor Henry Chesbrough of University of California Berkeley but, however, today, the book claims, Open Innovation has a broader meaning and is part of the other “open” concepts, including Open Knowledge, Open Data and Open Source Software. The basic idea, the introduction continues, is that “by collaborating with others, by re-using (and by being allowed to re-use) the results of the efforts of others and by allowing others to use and improve the results of our efforts, we all get better.”

The book is introduced as attempting to address the following questions: “[H]ow can we balance openness with the need of companies to stay competitive and to make a profit ... and to provide enough incentives to bright spirits to continue to innovate? Is openness an absolute good: should all knowledge, all data, all software, all standards etc. be open or are there situations where openness should be avoided...? How do we organise the involvement of as many individuals or organisations as possible in efforts to solve societal issues using Open Innovation? How do we organise Open Innovation projects and ensure that such projects are, and remain, 'Open'?”

The author also explains the structure of the book, which is the following: It consists of an introduction and nine essays. The first two essays give the big picture. The two following essays describe examples on how Open Innovation works in practice. Then the next three essays deal with some of the most widely debated topics in the world of Openness: Openness and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) standardisation, Open Source Software in public procurement, and Open Source Software in the commercial world. The book then concludes with two more essays which are of a more philosophical and visionary nature. The review of the essays below is organised based on these groupings. [continue...]

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Licence and Attribution
This paper was published in the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review, Volume 5, Issue 2 (December 2013). It originally appeared online at
This article should be cited as follows:
Kärkkäinen, Kari (2013) 'Book Review: Thoughts on Open Innovation', International Free and Open Source Software Law Review, 5(2), pp 137 – 144
DOI: 10.5033/ifosslr.v5i2.92
Copyright © 2013 Kari Kärkkäinen.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons UK (England and Wales) 2.0 licence, no derivative works, attribution, CC-BY-ND available at

As a special exception, the author expressly permits faithful translations of the entire document into any language, provided that the resulting translation (which may include an attribution to the translator) is shared alike. This paragraph is part of the paper, and must be included when copying or translating the paper.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Honda releases 3D models under CC

This morning, auto manufacturer Honda released 3D data for the exterior designs of several of its concept models under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial (BY-NC) license. From the press release:
With the data downloaded from the website “Honda 3D Design Archives,” Honda’s concept models can easily be replicated by a household 3D printer, which is becoming more popular in recent years. By offering data of its concept models, which embody the spirit of “Honda Design,” Honda offers opportunity to enjoy a simulated experience of Honda’s “art of manufacturing.”
You can view the designs on the new Honda 3D site or download them in STL. Since the designs are licensed under BY-NC, anyone can share, modify, and remix them noncommercially. Now that these designs are in the wild, it will be cool to see who mods them in unexpected and creative ways.

Post by Elliot Harmon, originally published on January 28th, 2014; under a CC by license. See original post.

Lessig lecturing about Law and Justice in a Digital Age

Aaron's Laws - Law and Justice in a Digital Age
A lecture by Lawrence Lessig at Harvard Law School (January 2013); released under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Lawrence Lessig marked his appointment as Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School with a lecture titled "Aaron's Laws: Law and Justice in a Digital Age." The lecture honored the memory and work of Aaron Swartz, the programmer and activist who took his own life on Jan. 11, 2013 at the age of 26.

0:00:00 Introduction
0:08:50 Remarks
1:26:05 Q&A
1:42:00 Closing

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Open Source Definition


Open source doesn't just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:


1. Free Redistribution

The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.


2. Source Code

The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.


3. Derived Works

The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.


4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code

The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.


5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.


6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.


7. Distribution of License

The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.


8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product

The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program's license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.


9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software

The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.


10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral

No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.


original source:; license: CC by