[FOSDEM] Legal and Policy Issues DevRoom at FOSDEM 2015: CALL FOR PARTICIPATION

Bradley M. Kuhn bkuhn at ebb.org
Thu Oct 16 18:56:41 CEST 2014

                         Call For Participation
             Legal and Policy Issues DevRoom at FOSDEM 2015

CONFERENCE DATE:   Saturday  31 January 2015 in Brussels, Belgium
CFP DEADLINE:      Monday    17 November 2014 at 12:00 UTC
SPEAKERS NOTIFIED: Wednesday 26 November 2014 (on or before)

CFP Introduction

Open Source and Free Software are possible as a result of hacks on
copyright law.  Patent and trademark law and the emerging law of data
privacy and security also dramatically affect Free Software development.
Governance and policies around free software set the rules for
collaboration and can be critical to a project's success.

Our community has more expertise in this area than you think!  The
constant mantra of "you'd have to ask a lawyer" has, in our view, given
way to the undeniable fact that many participants in Free Software
development (both lawyers and non-lawyers are alike) *are* the experts.

Topics Sought

This DevRoom seeks proposals for 15, 25, 40 and 50 minute talks and/or
panel discussions that address the issues of software freedom project
policies that are beyond and/or orthogonal to technical issues of the
project.  Such topics could include, but aren't necessarily limited to:

  * Who controls the copyright, trademark, or patent licensing, release
    plans, or security bug reporting policies of your project, and why?
    What challenges have you faced in these policy areas and how are you
    seeking to change it?

  * How is your project governed? Do you have a non-profit organization,
    or a for-profit company that primarily controls your project, or
    neither?  Do you wish your project governance was different?  Who
    decided your governance initially?  What politics (good and bad)
    have occurred around your governance choices and how have you
    changed your policy?

  * Legal topics of all sorts and their interaction with software
    freedom culture and work remain welcome, and could include: How does
    your project make use of legal advice?  What legal advice do you
    give projects and what topics do you put first on the list to worry
    about in projects?  Discuss in detail a legal and/or policy issue a
    project faced and how did your community deal with it?  What lessons
    did you learn?

  * Contribution and engagement policies: how does your project engage
    new contributors and what policy decisions did your project make to
    welcome new contributors?  What legal issues or policy concerns has
    your project faced historically in its community engagement efforts,
    and what did you learn from these experiences?

  * How does money impact your community? Are all your developers paid?
    What policies do you set to welcome volunteers to join a community
    where most developers are paid?  Does reliance on volunteer labor
    lead to lack of diversity since only the affluent can participate?

  * How do projects handle conflicts of interest and make sure
    that relevant interests of contributors are disclosed in important
    decision making discussions?

  * Case studies of positive examples of commercial actors in Free

Regarding topic relevancy, here's the only "don't": please don't propose
introductory talks; there are other venues appropriate for those.
FOSDEM is the meeting place of experts in Open Source and Free Software
project governance, law, and policy.  This DevRoom is for intermediate
to advanced topics surrounding just about anything you might call a
"legal" or "policy" issue for your project!

Should I Submit?

However, do consider that what may seem elementary to you may in fact be
an intermediate topic in this area.  In particular, while we expect many
submissions from lawyers, we've found in our careers that non-lawyers
often know just as much (and sometimes more) about these topics than
lawyers.  Developers who regularly face complex policy and legal
questions for projects are strongly and particularly encouraged to
submit proposals.  Historically, some of the most lively and intriguing
talks in this DevRoom's previous years have been from developers who
have been thrust (often due to circumstances beyond their control) into
dealing with legal and policy topics for Open Source and Free Software.

Be sure to look at past talks in our DevRoom for inspiration:

CFP Schedule And Submission Details

  Submit proposals NO LATER THAN Monday 17 November 2014 at 12:00 UTC

  Capricious rejection of late submissions may occur.  YMMV.  Talk to
  your doctor before choosing to submit a late proposal.

  Please use the following URL to submit your talk to FOSDEM 2015:

  and follow the following rules:

    * Select as the Track "Legal and policy issues devroom".

    * Include a title.  (Note that "Subtitle" entry doesn't appear on
      all conference documents, so make sure "Title" can stand on its
      own without "Subtitle" present.)

    * Include an Abstract of about 500 characters and a full description
      of any length you wish, but in both fields, please be concise, but
      clear and descriptive.

    * Indicate whether you seek a 15, 25, 40, or 50 minute slot.  NOTE:
      the quality of the submission needs to be progressively *more
      impressive* the longer time you ask for and we may accept your
      submission with an alternate duration as our schedule is so tight.

    * Use the "Links" sub-area to your past work in the field you'd like
      to share.  Particularly helpful are recordings (audio/video) of
      your past talks on the subject or past papers/blog posts you've
      written on the subject. 

    * Affirmative confirmation that you agree to CC-By-SA-4.0 or
      Cc-By-4.0 licensing of your talk, in the "Submission Notes"
      field.  Add a statement such as this:

         "Should my presentation be scheduled for FOSDEM 2015, I hereby
          agree to license all recordings, slides and any other
          materials presented under the Creative Commons Attribution
          Share-Alike 4.0 International license.  Sincerely, s/YOUR_NAME/"

    * Also in the notes field, note your affirmative confirmation of
      availability to speak on Saturday 31 January 2015 in Brussels.  (You
      may include time slots of non-availability on Saturday, but this may
      negatively impact acceptance decisions.)

   Failure to follow these instructions above (and those on the FOSDEM
   2015 site) may result in automatic rejection of your talk submission.
   However, if you have trouble with submission via the official system,
   please do contact <fosdem-legal-policy at faif.us> for assistance.

Travel Funding does not exist (sadly)!

  We are volunteer track organizers of a volunteer conference.  We
  cannot sponsor travel ourselves.  However, please *do* submit anyway
  if you aren't sure about your travel funding and mention in your
  application that you have uncertainties.  Please note that we may have
  to deny your proposal due to lack of travel funding alone, but we
  would like the opportunity to talk and discuss the situation with
  highly exceptional speakers who would like to join our DevRoom but
  can't due to lack of funding.

Diversity Statement

  The organizers of this DevRoom are committed to increasing the
  diversity of the free software movement, and to making the diversity
  that already exists more visible. To that end, our CFP process takes
  demographic information into account in order to build a program that
  features as many different voices and perspectives as possible.
  Please share any demographic information about yourself in the
  "Submissions Notes" field that you are comfortable sharing.  Such
  disclosure is not mandatory by any means.

No Assurance of Acceptance

  The organizers (listed below) realize many of our friends and
  colleagues will respond to this CFP.  Based on our many previous years
  of experience in this DevRoom, we must welcome submissions from all,
  but an invitation from any of us to submit is *not* an assurance of
  acceptance.  We typically must make hard decisions, and since our
  DevRoom is one day rather than two this year, the decisions will be
  even harder.

About the DevRoom Organizers

The co-organizers of the FOSDEM 2015 Legal and Policy Issues DevRom are
(in alphabetical order by surname):

  - Richard Fontana, Member of Board of Directors of the Open Source
    Initiative and Associate General Counsel, Hewlett-Packard

  - Bradley M. Kuhn, Member of Board of Directors of the Free Software
    Foundation and President and Distinguished Technologist, Software
    Freedom Conservancy

  - Tom Marble, Creative Technologist, Informatique, Inc.

  - Karen Sandler, Executive Director of the Software Freedom
    Conservancy and Director of the GNOME Foundation and Pro Bono
    General Counsel of QuestionCopyright.org

You are welcome to contact us all at <fosdem-legal-policy at faif.us> with
questions about this CFP.

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