Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Linux Users Group meets on special topic

A Western PA Linux Users Group meets from 7 to 9 pm, Tuesday, at Carnegie Mellon University, Wean Hall 5409. The talk covers "'Infectious' Open Source Software: Spreading Incentives or Promoting Resistance" with Greg Vetter Assistant Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center.

This meeting is free and open to the general public.

Directions to 5409 at http://www.wplug.org/pages/wplugmap/
The door marked "DW" is the 1st floor entrance to Wean Hall. You may park in the "Park Here Free" area as listed on the map.

Some free or open source software infects other software with its licensing terms. Popularly, this is called a viral license, but the software is not a computer virus. Free or open source software is a copyright-based licensing system. It typically allows modification and distribution on conditions such as source code availability, royalty free use and other requirements. Some licenses require distribution of modifications under the same terms. A license is infectious when it has a strong scope for the modifications provision. The scope arises from a broad conception of software derivative works. A strong infectious ambit would apply itself to modified software, and to software intermixed or coupled with non-open-source software. Popular open source software, including the GNU/Linux operating system, uses a license with this feature. This talk assesses the efficacy of broad infectious license terms to determine their incentive effects for open source and proprietary software. The analysis doubts beneficial effects. Rather, on balance, such terms may produce incentives detrimental to interoperability and coexistence between open and proprietary code. As a result, open source licensing should precisely define infectious terms in order to support open source development without countervailing effects and misaligned incentives.

Professor Vetter received his B.S. summa cum laude from the University of Missouri in Electrical Engineering in 1987. He then worked in software for nine years as a project manager, product manager, and then as director of marketing, which included a variety of intellectual property and contractual responsibilities. During these years, attending evening courses, he received his M.S. summa cum laude in Computer Science from the University of Missouri and his MBA summa cum laude from Rockhurst University. He left full-time employment in 1996 to attend law school. He received his J.D. magna cum laude from Northwestern, serving on the Northwestern Law Review as associate articles editor. Upon graduation from Northwestern, Professor Vetter practiced at Kilpatrick Stockton's Raleigh, North Carolina office for two years in the firm's technology law group. During this time he obtained registration to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a patent attorney. Next, he clerked for one year for the Honorable Arthur J. Gajarsa on the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. Professor Vetter then joined the University of Houston Law Center faculty in 2002. Professor Vetter's research interests include intellectual property, patents, the role of intellectual property in commercial law, and information technology law.

Doors open at 7pm, light refreshments served. Talk 7:15 8:15 pm. Adjournment at 9pm

Upcoming Schedule
May 21 Installfest 10 am to 5 pm
May 18 GUM - Subversion 10 am to 2 pm
June 7 GUM - Myth TV 10 am to 4 pm
June 11 Special Event - Regular Expressions 10 am to 2 pm
July 9 GUM - TBD - 10 am to 2 pm
August 7 - Annual Picnic

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