Today the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC )and the Free Software Foundation filed a brief with the United States Supreme Court, which is considering whether to grant certiorari in the case of Google v. Oracle, No. 14-410, decision below 750 F.3d 1339 (Fed. Cir. 2014). SFLC and FSF take the position that the decision below is wrong, but that certiorari should not be granted for three reasons: (1) the decision of the Federal Circuit merely mispredicts what the Ninth Circuit would do if it had been the Court resolving Oracle’s appeal from the District Court’s finding that the application program interface declarations at issue are non-copyrightable; (2) the decision rests on narrow factual grounds; and (3) there is no public interest in continuing to adjudicate this dispute because Google can now and could have used all material at issue under the terms of the GNU GPL v2.
The Software Freedom Law Center is currently seeking legal interns for the summer of 2015.
The Washington Post has published an interview with Eben Moglen on the risks of centralized social network tools like Facebook and Twitter. The interview is available in today’s online edition.
The Guardian has published a piece by Eben Moglen entitled “The GCHQ boss’s assault on privacy is promoting illegality on the net” responding to the recent demands from the UK spy agency boss that major technology companies must ignore the interest of users and collaborate with spies outside the law. The piece is available in today’s online edition and will appear in the print edition this Friday.
Anyone who was unable to attend our 10th anniversary conference in person now has a second chance to catch up on the most important legal and technological issues, present and future, surrounding FOSS. Videos of the proceedings are available from the event page. Recordings of the keynote presentations by Martin Fink, “FOSS and the Machine”, and Eben Moglen, “Software Freedom in the Age of ‘Cloud to Mobile’: The Next Ten Years” are both available today. More conference videos will become available in coming days.
As part of the ongoing celebration of SFLC’s ten years as an organization we are pleased to release the second edition of the GPL Compliance Guide. This edition is newly expanded and completely rewritten to address the changing needs of the community and industry. The guide is available on our site and can be downloaded as pdf, postscript, or epub. This guide is built as a supplement, one organized and oriented for lawyers, to the Free Software Foundation’s authoritative GPL FAQ.
As we begin our second decade of working as counselors and advocates for software freedom, SFLC invites counsel, developers, enterprise users and other members of FOSS communities to join us at a free conference exploring legal issues surrounding FOSS, present and future, held at Columbia Law School on Friday, October 31, 2014.
Today, in its unanimous decision in Alice Corp v. CLS Bank, the Supreme Court took one more step towards the abolition of patents on software inventions. Upholding its previous positions, the Court held that abstract ideas and algorithms are unpatentable. It also emphasized that one cannot patent “an instruction to apply [an] abstract idea … using some un-specified, generic computer.”
If you get The Guardian delivered you may have already seen a piece in today’s edition by Eben Moglen entitled “Privacy under attack: the NSA files revealed new threats to democracy”. This new piece is the essay version of the “Snowden and the Future” series of talks given this fall at Columbia Law School. Print subscribers will find the second and final portion of the essay in tomorrow’s paper and everyone can read the whole piece online today.
Today, SFLC filed a brief (pdf, html, epub) amici curiae in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank before the United States Supreme Court. Filing on behalf of itself, the Free Software Foundation and the Open Source Initiative, SFLC argues that the “machine or transformation” inquiry employed by the Court in Bilski v. Kappos is the correct, and exclusive, bright line test for patent eligibility of computer-implemented inventions. Our Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank resource page contains highlights of the briefs so far and will be updated as the remaining briefs are posted.