>> law, technology, and the space between

All content by Kyle E. Mitchell, who is not your lawyer.

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  1. Few-Maintainer Projects

  2. Renaming API Copyleft

    naming for purpose, not implementation

  3. Starting Noncommercial

    famous projects that started noncommercial

  4. API Copyleft 2.0.0-pre.1

    bringing the best of Parity to API Copyleft

  5. Video Footnotes

    one-way video as hackable interactive medium

  6. The Main Event

    Amazon versus Startups and the New York Times

  7. The Doorway NDA

    lawyers earning their stereotypes

  8. Paste Your Terms Into Your E-Mails

    why don’t we do the obvious thing?

  9. Teach Everyone to Be Like Us

    Moxie Marlinspike, wiser than he may have known

  10. git push is the Process

    permissionless license development now

  11. Big Time Public License

    a noncommercial, small-biz license with a big-biz fair terms guarantee

  12. Rakow 2019

    score one, illegal art people

  13. Correct and Intuitive Fairness

    How can a license say what “fair” is ahead of time?

  14. I Am Not Advising Legally

    smart people don’t understand lawyers’ disclaimers

  15. A Fistful of Services

    my go-to web applications and utilities

  16. TNR12 and Be There

    learning from others

  17. npm fund

    new subcommand and metadata standard

  18. Talking Points: Ethical Licenses

    collecting points and counterpoints

  19. Reading the WeAllJS Code of Conduct

    line-by-line and off-the-cuff

  20. XML versus JSON

    key quote form a great paper

  21. Universal Share-Alike License

    copyleft across different kinds of work

  22. Venture Capital Shill

    scapegoating free software’s failures

  23. Nomadic Lawyering

    office out, travel in?

  24. MulanPSL

    a new riff on the Apache patent bargain from China

  25. Heather Meeker on “Ethos Licensing”

    free and open is ethos licensing, too

  26. “BSD with PATENTS” and “BSD-2-Clause Plus Patent” are Not the Same

    similar licenses, very different receptions

  27. Love this License

    law brut with ASCII art

  28. Blue Oak Guide to Copyleft

    short introduction and license families

  29. Waypoint Trademark

    protecting the integrity of a standard form

  30. CASE Act Flythrough

    notes from a quick read of H.R. 2426

  31. Blue Oak Test Suite

    test cases for new public licenses

  32. Blue Oak Reading List

    reading list for lawyers new to open source

  33. XLC Building Blocks

    essential concepts and vocabulary for cross-license collaboratives

  34. Cross-License Collaboratives

    decentralizing contributor license agreements

  35. Standards, Patents, Open Source

    towards constructive collaboration across practice communities

  36. Blue Oak Guidance on Mergers and Acquisitions

    please stop paying me so much to fix reps and warranties

  37. No LICENSE

    they won’t see your funding plea if they never look

  38. Our Ethics, Not Yours

    in defense of Seth Vargo and morality-first licenses

  39. The Tyranny of Time

    licensing gives developers much-needed flexibility

  40. Open Core is Not a Good Story

    three better ways to express yourself and your company

  41. Open Legal Podcast?

    considering an open legal podcast

  42. Is this conference a good idea?

    forthcoming talk at a conference

  43. The Great Open Source Shake-Up

    more mandatory reading from Kate Downing

  44. Here Comes the CCPA

    my annotated copy of the statute

  45. Waypoint 2.0.0

    a more adaptable, international standard

  46. Changeblog

    a few thoughts on a friend’s podcast appearance

  47. Require Credit For Your Software

    a general-purpose legal tool to require credit for open work

  48. Waypoint Abroad

    seeking quick reads from non-US counsel

  49. PANDA for Privacy

    the NDA for your personal information

  50. PolyForm 1.0.0

    standard noncommercial software licenses at last

  51. Heather Meeker on Patent Risk Allocation

    unique compilation of arguments and dynamics

  52. Get In, Get Out

    open source advice for new programmers breaking into the industry

  53. Help Take the Waypoint NDA International

    a call for help from common-law colleagues

  54. Open Letters

    a snail mail experiment

  55. A Twit No More

    farewell, Twitter

  56. Dark Arts at Daybreak

    the end of club rule in open source law

  57. Operating Environment

    essential industry background for reading open software licenses

  58. SSPL Was Not Commons Clause

    how open licensing blew its biggest opportunity of the 2010s

  59. PolyForm Project

    simple, standard, plain-language software licenses

  60. Mortarboard Licenses

    graduate to new public license terms

  61. Schools of Cohesion

    exploring the crosswise policy biases we learn from open software

  62. Prone Blogging Setup

    how to type when the pain puts you on your back

  63. Tyranny of Permissionlessness

    open source’s narrow focus further empowers those with other ways to exclude

  64. Don’t Rely on OSI Approval

    activist approval does not track practical needs

  65. AFL-3.0 versus OSL-3.0

    a redline (diff) with important network terms highlighted

  66. The Waypoint NDA

    stop wasting time on NDAs

  67. #wontfix

    endorsements can’t fix the Open Source Definition

  68. Calls to Sustainability Action via package.json

    a new proposal, schema, and tools

  69. Enterprise Ready Open Software License Supplement

    the status quo, plus money for devs

  70. Stairway to Heaven

    repairing broken steps to software license Nirvana

  71. The Diachronic Treadmill License

    automatically reward supporters with copyleft exceptions

  72. License Utopia

    just four licenses for all of open source

  73. Ethical Subcommons Starter Kit

    bringing openness to software of moral concern

  74. Weak or Strong is Wrong

    towards selective or consistent copyleft

  75. Deprecation Notice: MIT and BSD

    it’s time to retire thirty-year-old academic licenses

  76. Blue Oak Council

    opening the software commons to everyone

  77. Back to IP

    the copyright giant has a policy

  78. Indie Open Source

    developing resource for indie-ready business models

  79. Open Source Software License Reading List

    a comprehensive curriculum for new license wonks

  80. First Thoughts on the Redis Source Available License Agreement

    evident demand for license rules on API boundaries

  81. API Copyleft License 1.0.0

    first release of API-boundary copyleft form

  82. API Copyleft

    functionality, interfaces, and line drawing in a new copyleft paradigm

  83. Critique This License

    developing a standard paid-software license

  84. Shared Component License

    first shot at a short, plain license in the vein of Mongo’s SSPL

  85. Outer Source

    open software by closed methods

  86. The Discipline of Stated Purpose

    write out the purposes of legal terms in contracts

  87. Availability Dashboard

    professional availability now online

  88. Apache-2.0 versus ECL-2.0

    a redline (diff) showing substantive changes

  89. Open Source is Not About You

    a minimal, functionalist view of open source

  90. Open Handicaps

    Did permissive used to advantage open work like copyleft does today?

  91. Selective Openness

    making money by choosing what to give away

  92. The Open Source Definition as Copyleft Regulation

    an in-depth review of commonly cited criteria

  93. The Copyleft Bust Up

    loopholes, licenses, and realpolitik in open source

  94. How to Speak Copyleft

    the missing vocabulary of copyleft design

  95. Elsewhere: Mapping Open Business Models

    crosspost from the License Zero blog

  96. Seeking Comment: Copyright Notice Recommendation

    first stab at a pragmatic best-practice guide

  97. A Canting Tribe Are We

    attacking the NDA problem with standards networks

  98. Indirect Licensing

    dispensing software licenses in the Internet era

  99. Contributor Councils

    relicensing without foundation, BDFL, or unanimity

  100. Motorcycles in the Wind

    do not do or die

  101. Patents for Software Freedom

    gun-shy insurgents and the heavy weapons of IP law

  102. Bilking Angels

    celestial finance for earth-bound developers

  103. Crowd Hiring

    assurance contracts for short-term open software maintenance

  104. Quick Read of Tidelift’s Lifting Agreement

    nits picked in the developer terms for a new pay-the-devs company

  105. Private Changes in Free Software Copyleft Licenses

    Where’s the fifth freedom?

  106. Enforce Open Source Licenses with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

    takedown power for DIY developers

  107. Unhappy Coincidences

    marriages of licensing convenience, and changed circumstances

  108. Selective Mythology

    defining open source for fun and profit, in the shadow of the enterprise

  109. Attending LegalHackers Summit

  110. The Decentralization Game

    tips for values-forward reformers

  111. The Posterity Public License

    a strong-attribution open source license

  112. Interviewed on Open Source and Money

    TechCrunch article on problems and solutions

  113. Digging Contracts Out of the Hole

    simple tools for drafting to be proud of

  114. California Work Made for Hire Statutes

    work made for hire contracts can make contractors employees for state employment insurance purposes

  115. Plain GDPR Processor Addendum

    open form plain-language processor addendum

  116. Plain Terms of Service

    open form terms of service for websites

  117. Proseline

    peer to peer prose editing

  118. Six Great Deals Books

    read these books

  119. Public Domain Chronicle

    a fast, easy, and free way to secure scientific methods and findings for the public domain

  120. Help Wanted

    kinds of help I could use

  121. Transparent Contract Components

    sharper tools, finer toolmarks

  122. MPL-2.0 versus OPL-2.1

    a redline (diff) showing changes

  123. Lexical Scope for Contracts

    wandering ever closer to LISP

  124. I Have Another Blog

    you may want to subscribe on License Zero, too

  125. Licence Libre du Québec – Réciprocité versus - Réciprocité forte

    a redline (diff) showing changes

  126. CLAs are Not a Sham

    licensing with friends, improved and improving

  127. The Well Appointed Skinner Box

    farewell, Medium

  128. Contract Components

    fine-grained means of abstraction in legal drafting

  129. Debian Free Software Guidelines versus the Open Source Definition

    a redline (diff) showing changes

  130. Mercenary Rapport

    moral blindness in open source as social media

  131. Unsustainability at Scale

    today’s tools for yesterday’s problems tomorrow

  132. Feed this Bear

    indie coder, promote thyself!

  133. Overkill

    doing IP law wrong, and getting away with it

  134. The License Zero Manifesto

    sustainable software in the open

  135. Prescription Contracts

    thinking about direct lawyer guidance on

  136. Null Value

    against demise of the hacker public license

  137. Nobody’s Clients


    breaking the NDA logjam

  139. Seven Takeaways from the SEC DAO Report

    reading the tea leaves of the Commission’s first major ICO report

  140. Switchmode Developer Agreement

    an open form contract for open source contractors

  141. Open Software Service Terms

    legal terms for paid web apps, now available in the English language

  142. It’s Not About Community

    another view of Open Source

  143. Open Source: Theory of Operation

    a short, practical guide to open source software for programmers at work

  144. Debian 8.7 on Dell Optiplex 7010

  145. Open Source License Business Perception Report

    the pain and confusion of common open licenses, roughly quantified

  146. Against Legislating the Nonobvious

    short-order feedback on the default contributor license in GitHub’s draft terms of service

  147. The Mendicant Maintainerati

    no holy fools for Open Source

  148. The MIT License, Line by Line

    171 words every programmer should understand

  149. The Earl of Ethereum’s Case

    Who keeps a blockchain’s conscience?

  150. Deal Mechanic

    The writing on the door.

  151. Emancipation by Reference

    I am just a copy of a copy of a copy. Everything I say you have read before.

  152. Node.js Streams

    fundamental abstractions reviewed and revisited

  153. IP Field Guide

    publicly licensed, publicly available intro for non-lawyers

  154. The JavaScript Joke Was on Me

    or, a few things learned the hard way

  155. Circulation Policy

    Confidentiality rules and procedures for the great Common Form library in the sky

  156. Annotations in Context

    A first attempt at useful, responsible Common Form annotations

  157. I Don’t Want to Know What “Open Source” Means

    I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all on GitHub.

  158. License from Who?

    Safe open-source licensing means more than a LICENSE file.

  159. The Triplebyte Plan

    The tangled web of one start-up equity plan

  160. The Berneout Pledge

    Sucks less than CLAs!

  161. First Read: The Fair Source License

    Text and my first thoughts on a new, non-open source form license

  162. I’ll Never Be a Super Lawyer

    In feigned ignorance there is no grace.

  163. Startup Unix

    An open legal operating system for start-up technology companies

  164. What Enumeration Means

    Enumeration is an essential contract drafting tool. Don’t disclaim it!

  165. Template Ambiguity

    Document assembly can make ambiguity even harder to spot.

  166. The Blanks Problem

    A tough Common Form design decision explained.

  167. Term Injection

    Fighting insertion of unexpected terms in automated form contracts

  168. React Patent Redline

    Changes to Facebook’s patent grant for React, Flux, Immutable, &c.

  169. Certificated Assent

    How signed is signed enough for a hosted software licensing deal?

  170. Hacking Common Form

    Overview of existing Common Form software for programmers

  171. Terms of Service; Already Read

    Verifiable contracts should help consumers, too.

  172. Reproduction of Hierarchy

    Markdown isn’t great for contracts. HTML5 is better.

  173. Index Card Contracts

    Common Form for paper people

  174. Grab-Bag Contracts

    Might we write contracts like we fill shopping bags at the grocery store?

  175. Named Provisions

    If contract section numbers are just another namespace, can they be replaced with defined terms?

  176. vesting.js

    From code to law and back again

  177. Blind Patches

    What if open-source contributors could submit patches anonymously and choose to claim credit later?

  178. Modularity is not the Law

    Ancient and modern principles of contract interpretation work against contracts made of modular parts

  179. The Halliburton Hypothesis

    Quantifying the negotiating process to mount attacks on the confidentiality of a public contract forms repository

  180. Value Statement

    as found at the feet of my bills

  181. FTC 2014 Year in Review

    What do the FTC’s 2014 privacy and security enforcement actions teach tech companies?

  182. Common Form

    Composable, verifiable, shareable form contracts for the modern practice of law

  183. deflect.js

    An ECMAScript module fusing Node.js error-first convention with continuation passing style, plus a twist to make composed stacks of asynchronous functions dynamic

  184. Deep Data Privacy Risk

    Cheap storage technology isn’t just changing what information we store; it’s also changing how we store familiar kinds of information. Both developments have implications for privacy.