Open source developers should be better trained in legal matters, according to the Linux Foundation

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The Linux Foundation has stressed the necessity to take in account legal issues in the context of open source projects. To do this, one solution would be that developers are better trained in this regard.

Open source projects involve complex legal issues related to intellectual property (copyright, patents, licenses, compatibility ...), said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, at the last European LinuxCon conference, reports Le Monde Informatique.

To properly address these issues, there are two solutions: either use the services of lawyers with a good understanding of the technology used in the open source project, or train developers so that they master the legal issues raised by industry. The latter is favored by Deb Nicholson, director of community development at Open Innovation Network (OIN), who emphasises that it is difficult to find a competent lawyer in this area, especially for small businesses.

However, legal issues tend to become more complex according Catharina Maracke, lawyer and associate professor at Keio University, Japan, specialising in intellectual property law, reported Le Monde Informatique. Catharina Maracke notes the difficulties of understanding and communication between developers and lawyers, including the difference between copyrights and patents, which are often the subject of separate agreements in the context of open source projects. To minimise the problem, Catharina Maracke indicates that standardisation of legal terms could be a good option.

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