A new legal advice service, the Software Freedom Law Centre, has opened its doors to provide free legal help to open-source software developers.
The centre is backed by the Open Source Development Labs, which has raised more than $4m (£2.1m) for a fund that will provide the seed money for legal centre, which is based in New York.
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Last year OSDL announced a separate $10m Linux Legal Defence Fund to for Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel and end-user companies that faced Linux-related legal action by the SCO Group.
The centre will initially employ two full-time lawyers and will be run by copyright Columbia University Law Professor Eben Moglen.
Moglen said the centre’s main aim is to avoid litigation and to offer advice to developers in how they can stay out of courtrooms, by avoiding the use of patented intellectual property (IP) connected to proprietary software when developing their solutions.