Linux developers are to get help from a new software law centre which aims to champion the rights of open source developers around the world.
The Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), a consortium pushing the adoption of Linux, and home to Linux creator Linus Torvalds, has raised $4m to provide the seed money for the Software Freedom Law Centre, which is based in New York.
OSDL chief executive Stuart Cohen said: "OSDL is committed to supporting initiatives such as the Law Centre to help protect the legitimate development and use of Linux and open source software."
The centre will initially have two full-time intellectual property attorneys on staff, and expects to expand to four attorneys later this year. Initial clients include the Free Software Foundation and the Samba Project.
Andrew Tridgell, head of the Samba Project, said: "Free software projects often face legal issues that need expert advice, but it can sometimes be difficult or prohibitively costly to obtain that advice through traditional legal channels."
Overseeing the centre will be a board of directors including Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig.
"Both free and open source software face many emerging legal threats. We should be sceptical of legal mechanisms that enable those most threatened by the success of open source and free software to resist its advance," said Lessig.
"The Law Centre will serve as important support for the free and open source communities and for those that benefit from free and open source software."
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