Technology needs law.
Equally and perhaps more so, the legal industry needs to understand what is changing around information technology.
Alongside the need to move off of paper-based statute books and records on the way to entering the digital age with a comprehensive approach to big data analytics tuned to seeking out cases of precedent, the legal business needs to advise clients on tech and innovation, rapidly deployed. In practice, this means knowing your open source from your open standards and your software license from your bill of materials.
But as inevitable as technology enablement in the legal business is, software engineering managers also need to recognise our opening statement to the courtroom – software is a matter for legal regulation, mandates, injunctions and rule.
In a concerted effort to provide some fresh direction in this space, OpenUK, a not-for-profit organisation representing companies in the open technology sector, has announced the publication of the second edition of Open Source Law, Policy and Practice by the Oxford University Press edited by its CEO Amanda Brock.
The book aims to provide new guidance on some of the most important issues that surround the development of, the integration to, but (most of all) the production deployment of open source technologies. Written from an international Europe-wide and worldwide perspective, the book is widely applicable to organisations in every nation.
Centrally, this book looks at the use of open source including community development and management, legal issues in copyright, patents and trademarks and wider technology issues related to security, use of containers and sustainability.
The new edition has been completely revamped adding several new chapters discussing the latest developments including Blockchain, Open Source Program Offices, Standards, and both the commercialisation and economics of Open Source software.
“Editing this book and writing my chapter on commercial and revenue models have been a labour of love for me, starting five years ago. I have been overwhelmed by people’s appreciation, right from the initial share on social media. The text represents the latest thinking around the non-coding elements of open source,” said Amanda Brock, CEO at OpenUK.
Legal and policy impact
Brock insists that to work effectively with those ‘non-coding elements’ of open source and to do open source well takes an inherent understanding of laws and governance.
“Today’s technology leaders have to understand the legal and policy implications and impacts of their open source decisions. The book is based on expertise and experience from 25 of the world’s leading experts in open source and technology law, community and economics,” added Brock and team.
The book’s publishers confirm that this volume has a wider-reaching audience than the first edition. As well as providing legal professionals with a fundamental understanding of the laws in the US, UK and Europe, it also adds chapters on open data and all things open source, including hardware.
“The definitive handbook for anyone studying, working, or simply interested in learning more about open source, this volume provides compelling and comprehensive cross-disciplinary analyses, charting the evolution of open source from ideological beginnings into the critical public infrastructure the world relies on today” said Dr Rebecca Rumbul, CEO Rust Foundation.
The book’s launch took place at the start of this month at the All Things Open conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. Thanks to the sponsorship of the Vietsch Foundation, the book is available for non-commercial usage on an open access basis here.