Ted Leung on the air
Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Mon, 01 Aug 2005

Today was legal day at FLOSSPS, and Roberta Cairney and Larry Rosen joined us, ensuring that we actually had lawyers in the room. One of the topics that we spent the most time on was trademarks. Trademarks are a tricky issue for open source projects because they can both support and detract from what you are trying to accomplish. In addition, most laymen know very little about trademarks and trademark law. The knowledge that seems to be common is "if you don't do something to protect your trademark, then you can lose your trademark". If you've decided that having a trademark is a good thing for your project, then the prospect of losing the trademark becomes a problem that needs to be dealt with. This mean financial resources will be needed, as will volunteer/staff time to handle potential trademark problems. Roberta and Larry gave us a very educational lesson on the basics of trademark law. I for one, have less fear about the whole trademark issue than I did before the meeting.

The other major topic that we discussed was attribution of people's contributions. People felt that people need a reason to participate in open source projects and that attributing people allowed them the build up reputation that was a reward. There was also some discussion about whether or not one could/should require that copyright notices (or other attributions) be kept in derivative works of an open source project. This discussion was pretty lively.

It's been a very educational and thought provoking two days. It's going to be a great thing to have forum/place for the foundations to support/help each other. If you are interested in these kinds of issues, and want to subscribe to the mailing list, drop me a note or leave a comment. I don't want post the address because of spammers (I've been hit by lots of comment spammers recently, so I don't want to take any chances with posting email addresses)

[01:31] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
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I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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