Legal Resources for the Open Source Developer?
September 23, 2011 9:15 PM   Subscribe

If you're running a business and need legal advice, you pay an attorney. But what if you're contributing to open source software (i.e. for free) and have legal questions?

You are not my lawyer. And indeed I have an attorney, but this is not his area of practice and I'd go broke paying fees to ask general questions to a specialist. I'm mainly interested in the finer points of licenses, trademarks and other concepts that might be important to someone contributing to open source projects in his free time.

Are there good books, Web sites, volunteer services or other inexpensive resources that give reliable guidance on these topics? I'm mainly interested in U.S. law, but it would be nice to know about other jurisdictions where they are interesting or relevant.
posted by tomwheeler to Law & Government (3 answers total)
These might be good places to inquire: Free Software Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:20 PM on September 23, 2011

software freedom law center.
posted by jimw at 10:11 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding SFLC – they provided free legal representation over the course of several years to an open source project led by someone close to me when they were being sued by a software giant, successfully helped settle the case, helped them incorporate, etc.
posted by halogen at 3:30 AM on September 24, 2011

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