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The three pillars under a sound open source legal strategy

Armijn Hemel, Tjaldur Software Governance Solutions, The Netherlands

Legal issues are something that most engineers would rather like to ignore. They are from another realm where things not always appear to be logical. Computer engineering is based on mathematical and logical principles where things can be proven (or where it can be proven they can't be proven). The legal system on the other hand describes ways to resolve conflicts in human interaction. Since most humans are not logical beings there is a lot of room for interpretation and 'proof' does not necessarily mean 'mathematical proof'. Throw in (business) politics and you can imagine why there is a tension and many engineers do not like it (with the odd exception here and there) and often tend to ignore it, with bad things happening when the two worlds collide.

But this is unnecessary. For the majority of legal issues that open source companies are facing there are well documented best practices that will shield these companies from risks.

In this presentation I want to talk about the three most common legal issues (copyrights, patents and trademarks), and give you a glimpse of best practices and solutions, so that in the future you can all do what you do best: write great code.