In this episode of the Software Freedom Law Show, Bradley and Karen discuss the differences and similarities of software developers / engineers and lawyers. They also interview their first guest, Scott K. Peterson, Senior Counsel at HP.Running time: 00:40:24.
Segment 0 (00:43)
- Bradley and Karen recall the episode numbering debate raised on the first show. (00:56)
- Karen argues that saying Episode 1 makes it sound like the Star Wars movie. (01:08)
- Bradley and Karen like Star Trek. Bradley thinks that ST:DS9 was the best series. Karen likes Patrick Stewart.
- Bradley said the phrase high-order calculus, which was confusing. He was probably thinking of first order predicate calculus, which he studied in graduate school, but he was actually trying to make reference to the fact that Karen studied more complex calculus applications such as differential equations and multivariable calculus. (02:05)
- Cooper Union, which provides full scholarships to all of its students, doesn't have liberal arts majors.
- Karen talked about how engineering school can be good preparation for legal writing and for law school, generally. Apparently, physics and math majors score higher on the LSAT. (04:36)
- Many contracts and/or licenses contain a list of definitions that indicate how certain terms should be interpreted. See section 0 of the GNU General Public License (GPL), version 3 for an example. (04:54)
- Bradley compared those defined terms in licenses to the #define's in the C preprocessor. (05:52)
- A statute is a law passed by any legislative body. As the statute is the “letter of the law”, it is usually the first thing lawyers look at when determining what the law is and its application. Interestingly, statutes are also often referred to by lawyers as code. (09:20)
- Dicta (plural of dictum) are statements contained in a court's decision that are explanatory and not necessarily part of the legal rationale or doctrine of the decision. (09:50)
Segment 1 (11:58)
Interview with Scott Peterson.
- Scott attended MIT as an undergraduate.
- Scott mentioned the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, and in particular Section 510(k), which regulates medical devices. (12:50)
- Scott is an “inside counsel”, sometimes called “in-house counsel” at HP. (13:35) In-house lawyers are employees of the company or organization as opposed to external counsel, who are lawyers hired by the company or organization that advise it from the outside. External lawyers are often employees of law firms.
- Scott mentioned Apollo Computer, which became a division of HP in 1989. (14:18)
- Scott participated in the GPLv3 Process (19:56) on Committee B. (21:11)
- Scott compared the GPLv3 process to standard setting performed by standards bodies.
- Scott mentioned that he's a patent attorney. People who practice patent law before the United States Patent and Trademark Office must have a technical background (usually an undergraduate degree in science or engineering). You actually don't have to go to law school to do that; non-lawyers with the appropriate technical educational background can take the “patent bar” exam and become a “patent agent”. (33:25)
- Scott mentioned the “claims” of the patent. Those unfamiliar with how a patent is structured might want to read the discussion on this in SFLC's Legal Guide. (34:05)
- Discussion of the Bilski decision: