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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Beware the: Frothing Open Source Advocate Label

I recently attended an Intellectual Property career panel sponsored by Seattle University’s Intellectual Property Law Society (IPLS). I asked what I thought was an innocent question:

“What opportunities are there, other then the Arts Legal Clinic and possibly an internship at EFF, to prepare oneself for public interest work in IP?”

The answer I got was rather surprising:

You might want to watch who you associate with, with regards to EFF, you might want to avoid being labeled a Frothing Open Source Advocate. The Patent Bar is a small group and you need be careful about your reputation. (this answer was paraphrased from - Anthony Claiborne, of Microsoft)

I wonder if this applies to associating with Freedom For IP? (It might be a little late for me to save my reputation…) I personally do not think that public interest and Microsoft’s interests have to be at odds.

I am not sure if I am more troubled by this answer or the fact that the only helpful advice was to try working “Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts”. The more I look for opportunities to gain public interest experience the more I notice a Void. There needs to be more organizations here like EFF and The Public Patent Foundation to help represent the interest of those wishing to free culture and innovation.


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