[FOSDEM] Call for Participation: Legal and Policy Issues DevRoom at FOSDEM 2018

Tom Marble tmarble at info9.net
Thu Oct 12 20:04:57 CEST 2017


                         Call For Participation
             Legal and Policy Issues DevRoom at FOSDEM 2018

CONFERENCE DATE:   Saturday & Sunday 3-4 February 2018 in Brussels, Belgium
DEVROOM DATE:      Sunday 4 February 2018
CFP DEADLINE:      Sunday 26 November 2017 at 23:59 AoE (Anywhere on Earth)
SPEAKERS NOTIFIED: Sunday 3 December 2017 (on or before)

CFP Introduction

Copyright law provides many of the basic legal underpinnings of Open
Source and Free Software. 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 yet there are few
venues to discuss these matters in a 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 minute talks and/or open
discussion sessions in an unconference format 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:

  * 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? Are you
    exploring any new solutions for governance?  Do you want to ask questions
    of a room full of experts about your project's governance?

  * 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?  Are your
    lawyers really your lawyers (e.g., do corporate lawyers for companies
    in your community advise the project even though not all contributors
    work for that company)?

  * 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?

  * Strategies and plans for addressing harassment, exclusionary and/or
    discriminatory behavior in FLOSS communities. Do you have a Code
    of Conduct? Have you needed to enforce it?  Was it successful in
    improving behavior and diversity in your community?

  * 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 26 November 2017 at 23:59 AoE
(Anywhere on Earth)

Please use the following URL to submit your talk to FOSDEM 2018:

and follow these 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 a 25 minute time slot. If you select any other time amount,
      your submission is very likely to be rejected. Only choose a longer
      slot if your proposal is exceptionally interesting and is a group
      discussion rather than a solo talk.

    * 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 2018, 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 Sunday,
      4 February 2018 in Brussels. (You may include time slots
      of non-availability on Sunday, but this may negatively
      impact acceptance decisions.)

Failure to follow these instructions above (and those on the FOSDEM
2018 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.

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.

This year, our DevRoom is one day, so unfortunately we expect that
most proposals will be rejected. Please, submit your best possible
work and put effort into crafting your submission to give yourself the
best chance of acceptance.

About the DevRoom Organizers

The co-organizers of the FOSDEM 2018 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,  Distinguished Technologist of Software Freedom
  Conservancy and Member of Board of Directors of the Free Software

- 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.


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