Teaching open source law | Opensource.com

Maru Rabinovitch explains why law schools should include thorough open source license and patent training.

Source: Teaching open source law | Opensource.com


From the article:

Open source legal training is not easy to find, and if available it is not cheap.

Which raises the obvious question:

So, why are law schools not teaching open source law? I see traditional copyrights and patents as a security blanket. Most companies need to know there is a fall-back mechanism in case the company does not reach the expected success. This means that if company doesn’t get the expected returns on a product, they can resort to the patent or copyright infringement claim. This business model, in my view, is why law schools continue to push the copyright/patent curricula instead of considering other open licensing models.

And none of this is new. Back around 2000, when I first started working professionally in open source, I was shocked to see not only that there was such scant academic (legal) interest in open source, despite Lessig’s and Moglen’s presence, not to mention Mitchell Baker of Mozilla, but that the field itself seemed pretty uninterested in professionalising. There were plenty of manifestos–you couldn’t have an open source project without one, it seemed–but zero professional organisations representing the interests of their members, the way that there are for other professions. The lack of such is not necessarily a bad thing, and one can easily argue that the institutional presence of the AMA or MLA or APA inescapably squelches otherwise valuable interventions and innovations. But, the good that does come out of having a strong professional interest in open source is, as Rabinovitch underscores, something that will prove its worth as open source code and practices find their way in the code that public and private sector organisations use every day in every way.