Software Freedom Law Center’s 15th Anniversary Fall Conference

Where: JGH 103, Columbia Law School

When: Nov 1, 2019, 8:30am to 6:00pm

Video and audio recordings are available.

The Software Freedom Law Center invites counsel, developers, enterprise users, and other members of free and open source software (FOSS) communities to join us once again for our free annual conference to explore legal issues surrounding FOSS, held at Columbia Law School on Friday, November 1st, 2019.

Location: Jerome Greene Hall Room 103, Columbia Law School, 435 West 116th Street, New York, New York 10027

Date and Time: November 1st, 2019, 8:30am to 6:00pm

Cost: The ideas are free as in freedom, and—as always—attendance, continental breakfast, lunch, and the various drinks are free as in beer.

Invitation: Though the conference is free of charge, it is invitation only. If you have not yet received an invitation from us and would like to attend, please email requesting one.

CLE Credit: NYS Bar members seeking free CLE credit should contact for information.

Social Media and Liveblog: Please join the discussion about our conference using the hashtag #SFLC2019 on Twitter, Mastodon, and LinkedIn. We will be liveblogging the conference on our Twitter account and cross-posting to our Mastodon account.

Livestream: This event will be audio and video recorded and livestreamed. Those unable to attend can follow the conference livestream here.

Conference Program:

Program was most recently updated on October 29th, 2019

8:30am Registration opens, Coffee is served

(Sign in before the first session begins)

9:00am – 9:15am Opening Comments & Welcome by Eben Moglen (President and Executive Director of SFLC)

9:15am – 10:00am Keynote Address: Professor David Carroll (Professor of Media Design at Parsons School of Design at The New School)

10:00am – 10:50am Software Distribution – Sam Hartman (Debian Project Leader) & Richard Fontana (Senior Commercial Counsel at Red Hat), moderated by Eben Moglen (President and Executive Director of SFLC)

FOSS licensing and distribution models are now applied to software stacks integrated for long-term use, emphasizing stability over years guaranteeing reliability and compliance for downstream distributions. The same basic arrangements, legal and technical, are used for integrating stacks consisting of layers in containers with a possible lifetime of milliseconds. Different strains and challenges are experienced across the short- and long-lifetime distribution spectrum. This panel explores what we can learn about compliance and other subjects from these contrasts.

10:50am – 11:00am Coffee Break

11:00am – 12:00pm Panel: Why Copyright is Not the Answer to Everything

  • Karen Copenhaver (Outside Counsel to the Linux Foundation)
  • Jilayne Lovejoy (Legal Counsel at Canonical Ltd.)
  • Richard Fontana (Senior Commercial Counsel at Red Hat)
  • Jim Wright (Chief Architect for Open Source Policy, Strategy, Compliance & Alliances at Oracle)
  • Eben Moglen (President and Executive Director of SFLC)
  • Mishi Choudhary – Moderator (Legal Director of Software Freedom Law Center)

Additional restrictions in FOSS licenses to address labor rights, human rights, and business model protections are driving the “new proliferation” boomlet. Experts in FOSS law are almost universally skeptical. In this panel, continuing our conversation from last year, we further explore this skepticism, and ask “why aren’t we there yet?”

12:00pm – 01:00pm Short talks:

  • RISC-V and other free hardware at LF – Michael Dolan (VP of Strategic Programs at the Linux Foundation)
  • The Criticality of Software Security in an Increasingly Open Source World – Jessica Wilkerson (Director of Cybersecurity Research at the Linux Foundation)
  • Legal Governance for Open Source Foundations – Max Sills (Attorney at Google)
  • Leading from Among: Lessons from FreedomBox – Danny Haidar (VP of FreedomBox Foundation)

1:00pm – 2:00pm Lunch

2:00pm – 2:10pm Tribute to Terry Ilardi

A giant of FOSS law retires after 40 years. We consider the achievements of Terry and his IBM colleagues in the foundation of FOSS for enterprise.

2:10pm – 3:00pm Patent Defense for FOSS: Next Steps

  • Keith Bergelt (CEO of Open Invention Network)
  • Nicolas Schifano (Senior Director Cloud and IP Policy and Strategy at Microsoft)
  • Mishi Choudhary (Legal Director of Software Freedom Law Center)
  • Michael Dolan (VP of Strategic Programs at the Linux Foundation)
  • Eben Moglen – Moderator (President and Executive Director of SFLC)

There was a spirited discussion in the FOSS legal community on this subject over the past months. Now that the dust has settled, can we see more clearly?

3:00pm – 3:10pm Coffee Break

3:10pm – 4:00pm Regulating Platform Companies: If It’s Inevitable, What Can the FOSS Experience Teach?

  • Dinah PoKempner (General Counsel of Human Rights Watch)
  • Jim Wright (Chief Architect for Open Source Policy, Strategy, Compliance & Alliances at Oracle)
  • Gene Kimmelman (Senior Advisor for Public Knowledge)
  • Eben Moglen – Moderator (President and Executive Director of SFLC)

Pressure to regulate presently-existing social media is growing in all the developed societies. Democracies will soon be debating the various possible forms of regulation in the US, Europe and India, to name only the largest. Competition law, human rights law, free speech and expression law, and other institutions of public law will be invoked on all sides. We consider both the claims of these legal domains to address issues of social media misuse, misinformation, and privacy destruction. We also ask, does FOSS (which enabled the creation of centralized social media) also contain possible modes of remediation?

4:00pm – 4:45pm FOSS in Asia – Updates & Forecasts

  • FOSS in China – Maggie Wang (Chief Representative of Ladas & Parry LLP in China)
  • FOSS in South Korea – Kee Ryong Song (Advisor at Lee & Ko)
  • FOSS in India – Mishi Choudhary (Legal Director of Software Freedom Law Center)

Leading analysts and practitioners working in China, South Korea and India discuss the burgeoning of FOSS in Asia, and the institutions needed to support lawyers doing FOSS law in those societies.

4:45pm – 5:00pm Codes of Conduct – Mishi Choudhary (Legal Director of Software Freedom Law Center)

Codes of conduct are the new employment law of the FOSS workplace. Mishi Choudhary will discuss developments in the practice of writing and enforcing FOSS CoCs.

5:00pm – 5:15pm Maintaining Freedom in Patented Technologies – Van Lindberg (General Counsel and Director of the Python Software Foundation)

No one ever expected Free Software projects and non-profits to be sued for patent infringement - until Gnome was sued for patent infringement. What do FOSS licenses say about patent rights? How can organizations reduce their patent risk? How can companies truly participate in the FOSS ecosystem while also seeking and using patents? This brief session will give a few guidelines and provide pointers to more extensive material.

5:15pm – 6:00pm Closing Remarks by Eben Moglen (President and Executive Director of SFLC)

Professor Moglen offers a view of the movement’s future as it turns a crucial page and begins another phase of its long march to freedom.

(Sign out after the final session ends.)

End of Conference

Information Regarding New York CLE Credits:

Columbia Law School has been certified by the New York State Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Board as an Accredited Provider of CLE programs. Under New York State CLE regulations, this live non-transitional CLE Program will provide 6.5 credit hours that can be applied toward the Areas of Professional Practice requirement. This CLE credit is awarded only to New York attorneys for full attendance of the Program in its entirety. Attorneys attending only part of the program are not eligible for partial credit. Attendance is determined by an attorney’s sign-in and sign-out, as shown in the Conference registers. On final sign-out, attorneys should also submit their completed Evaluation Form, provided at the Conference. Please note the NYS Certificates of Attendance will be sent to the email address as it appears in the register unless otherwise noted there.

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