The Lawyers are Here!

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Tim O'Reilly
Mar. 16, 2004 05:01 PM

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At the Open Source Business Conference, the sessions on the GPL and other licensing issues have been SRO. But unlike the usual population of hackers who love to pretend to be lawyers in their spare time, these sessions were packed with guys in suits. When one panel organizer asked how many of the people in the room were lawyers, most of the hands went up.

I asked Matt Asay, the organizer of the conference, about this, and he told me that about 200 of the conference attendees are lawyers. And from my sense of the audience, many of them are new to the topic.

My conclusion: the SCO case has put the GPL on the radar of lawyers. In many ways, this is good news, since it means they are paying attention. And once they start paying attention, the facts of the matter will speak for themselves.

Tim O'Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media Inc. Considered by many to be the best computer book publisher in the world, O'Reilly Media also hosts conferences on technology topics, including the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, Strata: The Business of Data, the Velocity Conference on Web Performance and Operations, and many others. Tim's blog, the O'Reilly Radar "watches the alpha geeks" to determine emerging technology trends, and serves as a platform for advocacy about issues of importance to the technical community. Tim is also a partner at O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, O'Reilly's early stage venture firm, and is on the board of Safari Books Online, PeerJ, Code for America, and Maker Media, which was recently spun out from O'Reilly Media. Maker Media's Maker Faire has been compared to the West Coast Computer Faire, which launched the personal computer revolution.

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