Open source software law review goes live

Journal content to be freely distributable

A new legal journal covering analysis and commentary of free and open source software (FOSS) issues has launched today.

The International Free and Open Source Software Law Review (IFOSSLR) is a peer-reviewed, bi-annual journal published by an independent editorial committee.

IFOSSLR aims to foster increased understanding and promote best practice for all parties engaging with the open source approach to software licensing.

The editorial committee comprises of members of the European Legal Network, a group founded by Free Software Foundation Europe in 2007 to connect legal experts engaging with FOSS.

The network has more than 200 specialists from Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The Mozilla Foundation provides financial support.

Brendan Scott, director of Sydney-based legal firm Open Source Law, said there is a need for a journal like this dedicated to free and open source software related legal issues.

Scott, who is one the editorial committee, said the forum is international in nature and is therefore more likely to treat issues in a cross-jurisdictional sense.

“That is important because the nature the FOSS community is multinational,” Scott said, adding it is particularly important to Australia because the Australian community is smaller than those in the US and Europe.

Scott said the IFOSSLR will allow relevant articles to be grouped in one convenient place and the publication policy requires that all of the articles be openly licensed.

Karen Copenhaver, partner at Choate Hall & Stewart LLP and counsel to the Linux Foundation, said there are many reasons why the IFOSSLR will be warmly received in legal circles, in the free and open source community and in the wider software industry.

“For many years the focus in the legal community has been on raising questions about free and open source software licenses and development models,” Copenhaver said. “With this journal we have turned the page and begun to focus on the answers.”

“It is rewarding to see lawyers adopting collaborative models to share knowledge and work product, arrive at common understandings, and further the development of the necessary legal ecosystem around free and open source software. It is also significant that this international journal reflects the global community that has formed around these models."

According to the IFOSSLR founders, free and open source software is increasingly challenging traditional concepts of intellectual property and collaboration by allowing every user to use, study, share and and improve code.

IFOSSLR will be available in print and on-line under a licence allowing it to be freely reproduced provided that the content and authorship of the articles is respected.

The first issue is now available on the Internet for free at www.ifosslr.org. Print copies can be ordered via the Web site.

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