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

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March 7, 2019

Blue Oak Councilopening the software commons to everyone

I’m very happy to announce of Blue Oak Council, a new organization for which I’m inaugural executive director. The Council’s website, blueoakcouncil.org, spells out its mission:

Blue Oak Council opens the software commons up to those who can’t find or afford specialized legal help by bringing experienced lawyer-technologists together to publish free, practical materials about software licenses.

The website already hosts a number of projects: a list of permissive public software licenses, a model permissive license, and examples of how to use those resources in contracts, grants, and policies. We’re looking forward to facilitating new, useful projects with more attorneys in the near future.

Last week, I found myself sitting in a coffee shop with a fellow board member, mulling the state of the specialty, the profession, and materials to learn it. On a lark, we tried to count the number of attorney specialists in public software licensing currently in private practice, and therefore available to new clients. We agreed it’s probably single digits, maybe even worldwide.

What’s more, the cost of those specialists’ time, including mine, cuts the count down to zero for nearly all individuals and shoestring operations, especially in the nonprofit sector. There’s a sea of software out there to help them, but they can’t navigate it safely or confidently on their own.

I don’t know if Blue Oak Council can change all that, but we’re damn well going to try.

If you’re a fellow or student licensing lawyer looking to collaborate on real, practical resources for the underserved, drop me a line. Blue Oak Council wants to be an ally, a resource, and a help in your service.

Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome by e-mail.

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