[FOSDEM] Legal and Policy Issues DevRoom CFP

Tom Marble tmarble at info9.net
Sat Oct 15 21:47:37 CEST 2016


                         Call For Participation
             Legal and Policy Issues DevRoom at FOSDEM 2017

CONFERENCE DATE: Saturday & Sunday 4-5 February 2017 in Brussels, Belgium
CFP DEADLINE:      Sunday    27 November 2016 at 23:59 AoE (Anywhere on Earth)
SPEAKERS NOTIFIED: Sunday     4 December 2016 (on or before)

CFP Introduction

Open Source and Free Software originated as hacks on copyright law. 
Patent and trademark law and legal frameworks relating to data privacy 
and security also have significant effects on Free Software development.
Governance and policies around free software projects set the rules 
for collaboration and can be critical to a project's success.

Our community has substantial expertise in this area. We should discuss 
these matters in an forum open to all.  Hackers, lawyers, policy experts, and
community leaders all possess expertise in these matters.

Hackers, contributors and lawyers alike are encouraged to submit on 
any project policy or legal topic. Successful proposals will cover topics of
interest at a medium to advanced level.  Fill out an application on FOSDEM's 
Pentabarf. (See below for details.)

Topics Sought

This DevRoom seeks proposals for 25 and 45 minute talks and/or panel 
discussions that address issues of software freedom project policies and 
legal issues that extend beyond and/or are orthogonal to technical issues 
faced by projects.  Such topics could include, but aren't necessarily 
limited to:

  * Strategies and plans for addressing harrassment, exclusionary and/or 
    discriminatory behavior in FLOSS communities.
  * Who controls the copyright, trademark, or patent licensing, release
    plans, CLA administration, 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?  Does your project have a "shadow governance",
    whereby technical governance is open and fair, but some entity has
    its own opaque political structure that influences your project?
    Are you worried that your project might and you don't know? 

  * 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 your
    project faced and how your community dealt with it.  What lessons
    did you learn?  Are some of your developers afraid to discuss legal or 
    quasi-legal issues without their lawyers, or their employers' lawyers, 
    present? How has that impeded or helped your project?

  * 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 affect your community? How is funding of developers handled
    in your project?  What policies do you set to welcome volunteers to join a 
    community where most developers are paid?  Does your project have policies
    that forbid funding developers directly?  Does reliance on volunteer labor
    lead to lack of diversity since only the affluent can participate?
    If you had unconstrained resources at your disposal, what would you change
    about the funding structure of your project?  Given the resources you have, 
    what have you tried to change?  Have you succeeded or failed?  Would more 
    money in the ecosystem hurt or help your project?
  * How do projects handle conflicts of interest and make sure
    that relevant interests of contributors are disclosed in important
    decision making discussions?

  * Talks on license compliance, licensing business models, and anything
    akin to, or building upon, what you've seen in our DevRoom before are of 
    course welcome. (URLs to talks from previous years are below.)

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 to receive
submissions from lawyers, we've found in our careers that non-lawyers
often know just as much (and often more) about these topics than
lawyers.  Developers and other Free Software project participants who regularly 
face complex policy and legal questions 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 issues for Open Source and Free Software.

Look at past talks in our DevRoom for inspiration:

CFP Schedule And Submission Details

  Submit proposals NO LATER THAN 27 November 2016 at 23:59 AoE (Anywhere on Earth)

  Please use the following URL to submit your talk to FOSDEM 2017:

  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 25 or 45 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. 

    * You are encouraged to enter biographic information under the
      "Person" section (e.g. you may upload an image, enter your
      background in the "Description" tab, and sites of interest
      under the "Links" tab).

    * State 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 2017, I hereby
          agree to license all recordings, slides and any other
          materials presented under the Creative Commons Attribution
          ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

    * Also in the notes field, confirm your availability to speak on Saturday 
      and  Sunday, 4-5 February 2017 in Brussels.  (You may include time slots 
      of non-availability on Saturday and/or Sunday, but this may negatively 
      impact acceptance decisions.)

   Failure to follow these instructions above (and those on the FOSDEM
   2017 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.  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.  We can't 
  promise anything, but it is better to know if there are qualified 
  speakers available that need funding.  Knowing that will help us find 
  funding in future!

Diversity Statement

  The organizers of this DevRoom are committed to increasing the
  diversity of the free software movement. 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.
  If you are comfortable doing so, please share any demographic information
   about yourself in the "Submissions Notes".  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.  We 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.

About the DevRoom Organizers

The co-organizers of the FOSDEM 2017 Legal and Policy Issues DevRom are
(in alphabetical order by surname):
- Richard Fontana, Member of Board of Directors of the Open Source
  Initiative; Senior Commercial Counsel, Red Hat
- Bradley M. Kuhn, Member of Board of Directors of the Free Software
  Foundation and  Distinguished Technologist of Software Freedom
- Tom Marble, Creative Technologist, Informatique, Inc.

- Karen Sandler, Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy,
  pro bono counsel to the Free Software Foundation and the GNOME
  Foundation, Visiting Scholar/Faculty team of Center for Research in Open
  Source Software, University of California Santa Cruz
You are welcome to contact us all at <fosdem-legal-policy at faif.us> with
questions about this CFP.


More information about the FOSDEM mailing list