EOLE: European Open Source and Free Software Law Event - in Barcelona, 04/11/2011


The fourth edition of the conference “European Open Source and Free Software Law Event” (EOLE)” will take place in Barcelona on 4th November 2011. Id law partners is the local co-organizer of the event.

This is the first time that we have in Spain a conference on "Free and Open Source Software", or FOSS, with this national/international importance and impact. Previous conferences were held in Paris (2008), Brussels (2009) and Turin (2010).

The focus this year is on "Free Software in the Enterprise and academia." This topic raises several complex issues related to the use and development of free software in the company and the university - licenses, warranties, technology transfer, open standards - to be addressed through the intervention of lawyers and engineers across Europe and the U.S.A.

Malcolm Bain will present a paper on the legal aspects of free software in R&D projects, focusing on the issue of intellectual property management, compliance with the obligations set forth in the grants/aid as well as the impact of recent laws on Sustainable Economy and Science and Innovation.

The conference, in which the programme is available here [2], is aimed at lawyers, academics, heads of R&D, companies and individuals interested in the issue of free software. Participation in the conference is free upon registration on this page [3].

We believe it is an excellent opportunity not only to catch up on the subject of the legal aspects of free software, a highly topical issue, but also to learn about the "best practices" in the legal management of ICT projects as well as to meet European level experts in the field as well as to network in this small community of lawyers specializing in ICT law. For those already working in this area, it is an excellent opportunity to share and exchange opinions and practices and to initiate new collaborations (national and international).

See you there!

[1] http://www.eolevent.eu

[2] http://eolevent.eu/es/programme-EOLE2011

[3] http://www.eolevent.eu/es/Registration-EOLE-2011

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id law partners co-organizes and participates in the "Law and Access to Culture" Conference


On 12th May, Manuel Martínez Ribas and Malcolm Bain participate in the conference: "Law and Access to Culture in the Information Society: legal questions and challenges", which they have helped organise with the Fundació Antoni Tàpies and the Free Software Chair of the Universidad Politécnica de Catalunya.

The seminar is organised in five round tables, preceded by a presentation, and followed by a closing session, which will outline the conclusions of the day.

The initiative is related to the project Combined Arts (A Place for Education, Exhibition and Research) of Fundació Antoni Tàpies, which comprises the digitalization of documentation related to the publications, the Collection and the Fundació archive, with the aim of making it available to the public.

For more information, visit here.

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id law partners in the Masters Program of Auditing and Technological Environments of the Barcelona Bar Association


On 5 and April 7, 2011, Manuel Martínez Ribas taught classes on legal aspects of electronic evidence in the Masters in Auditing and Technological Environments, organized by the Bar Association of Barcelona.

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ELSEVIER published today the comments by id law partners in its "Computer Law and Security Review" journal, on the occasion of its 25th Anniversary


The comments of Manuel Martinez Ribas, during the seminar that was organised by him for Professor Steven Saxby in the auditorium of the Rock & Junyent law offices in Barcelona, ​​were published today in the Computer Law & Security Review journal by ELSEVIER, in its 27th volume, dated February 1, 2011

For more information on ELSEVIER

The article "The significance and protection of identity in the online world" can be found HERE.

More photos from the event HERE.

clsr-lspi-seminar.pdf   - ver online

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Article on the legal aspects of Free Software published today by PENTEO, in the TIC.cat home page and in its January 2011 magazine, with contributions from "id law partners" founding partners


The article was written by the TIC analyst, Noemi Batista Maymús, of Penteo, on the basis of the interview it conducted with ​​Malcolm Bain and Manuel Martinez Ribas, as well as from the two volumes (both in Spanish and Catalan editions) on the "Legal and Operational Aspects of Free Software" published by the UOC (prepared by Malcom and Manuel together with Judit Rius and Manuel Gallego), and also the CENATIC's "Legal Guide to Open Source Software", by Malcolm Bain and Manuel Martinez Ribas, which may be downloaded HERE.

The article can be accessed from the Home Page or also HERE.

Aspectos Legales Software Libre.pdf   - ver online

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id law partners conducts classes in the Masters in Intellectual Property of the Barcelona Bar Association


On 30 November 2010, in the Master of Intellectual Property organized by the Barcelona Bar Association, ​​Manuel Martínez Ribas will teach about the legal protection of software, including group discussion and the review of model clauses for software contracts.

Read more HERE

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Video of Malcolm Bain in Barcelona Activa - Cloud Computing Day @ Cibernàrium


Cloud computing and its application and services for businesses were the hightlight of Barcelona Cibernarium's Technology Dissemination Day on 18 November,  with Pau-Garcia-Mila (eyeOS), Josep Mitjà (Openbravo and Wuaki), Malcolm Bain and Richard Galli (UIB) presenting the possibilities for savings and efficiency that are offered by this technology. Legal discusions focussed on security and privacy issues.

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Video of Malcolm Bain in the Free Software and Local Government Conference


Lecture on "The interoperability framework" by Malcolm Bain, in the context of the Second Conference on Free Software and Local Government, in Sant Adria de Besos (Barcelona).

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Manuel Martínez Ribas moderates the opening panel in the UIC Cybercrime Conference


Manuel Martínez Ribas coordinated and moderated the first panel discussion of the Cybercrime Conference held at the International University of Catalunya (UIC), with Antonio Troncoso (director of the Data Protection Agency of the Community of Madrid), Reinhard Steenot (professor of law at the University of Ghent) and Jordi Bacaría (President of the Information Technology Section of ICAB). The board discussed the topic "Privacy, data protection and new technologies in the context of cybercrime."

This was one of the closing events of the LSPI-ITLC-IPLC International Conference, coordinated locally between the 2 to 5 of November 2010 in Barcelona by Manuel Martínez Ribas and Professor José R. Agustina for Professor Sylvia Kierkegaard, with the sponsorship of the Open University of Catalunya (UOC), in parallel with the Workshop on Cybercrime, Computer Crime Prevention and Surveillance Society at UIC under the organization of Professor José R. Agustina.

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"The Significance and Protection of Identity in the Online World" - Seminar organized by Manuel Martínez Ribas for publishers ELSEVIER, at the Roca Junyent Auditorium in Barcelona


To mark the 150th anniversary of ELSEVIER, the publishres, and the 25th anniversary of its Computer Law and Security Review journal, Manuel Martínez Ribas organized for Professor Steve Saxby, the Editor of the magazine, the panel discussion over the "significance and the protection of identity in the virtual environment" in the auditorium of the Roca Junyent law offices. More on the panel in which Manuel Martínez Ribas started a controversial debate can be read here.

Panel members who contributed to the content of the article "The Significance and Protection of Identity in the Online World" published in ELSEVIER’s Computer Law and Security Review journal (Volume 27, dated 1 February 2011), are - in the order as published in the magazine - Richard de Mulder, Manuel Martinez Ribas, Pernille Wegener Jessen, Kevin Aquilina, Greg Mosier, Nancy King and Fred Insa.

The article can be found HERE

Photographs of the event may be found HERE

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5th International Conference on Security, Privacy and New Technologies Law co-organized by "id law partners" in Barcelona


Manuel Martinez Ribas and Malcolm Bain are coordinators of the Local Organizing Committee of the 5th International Conference on Security, Privacy and New Technologies Law to be held from 2 to November 5, 2010 in Barcelona, ​​in which all are invited to participate.

id law partners, part of BGM&A, on behalf of Professor Sylvia Kierkegaard, president of the LPSI Organization (Conference on Legal, Security, and Privacy Issues in IT Law), have promoted the Congress this year in Barcelona under the auspices of the UOC, on the occasion of  the opening of the UOC’S new offices in MediaTIC Building, in the 22@ district. Next-door, the UPF (Pompeu Fabre University) will also participate.

Manuel Martínez Ribas will also be on the panel discussion of the Congress Seminar “The significance and protection of identity in the online World”, which will led by the prestigious Prof. Bing, an expert and pioneer in data protection issues. This seminar is organised by the legal publisher ELSEVIER to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its "Computer Law and Security Review". This has been organized by id law partners-BGM&A to take place in the auditorium of the offices of Roca y Junyent law offices, in Barcelona.

For the closing act of the Congress, a workshops on Cybercrime, computer crime prevention and surveillance society will also be organised this year at the UIC.

id law partners-BGM&A hopes that these three events may be of interest to you and will be happy to welcome you personally.

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Video of Manuel Martínez Ribas – on his paper on the legal aspects of cloud computing: freedom and sharing in the cloud


In this video, Manuel Martínez Ribas comments on the legal aspects to be taken into account when moving to the cloud, in relation to the "freedoms" and what is being shared. Comments are made in particular on the legal views of Eben Moglen and Richard Stallman (with whom in June 2006, he shared a discussion on the draft GPL version 3 license - during the European round held in Barcelona: (see HERE), Larry Ellison, Tim O'Reilly and Fabrizio Capobianco.

For more about the presentation, click HERE (for Peiró Karme’s comments)

See the program HERE and the video HERE

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Video of Manuel Martínez Ribas - UOC roundtable questions: "Key legal aspects to carry the company to the cloud"


Questions made to the round table formed by Manuel Martínez Ribas (lawyer and partner of "id law partners"), Xavier Ribas (lawyer and member of "Landwell") and Ramón Miralles (Coordinator of Audit and Information Security – Catalan Data Protection Agency).

For more information about the presentation, click HERE, and for the program, click HERE.

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Id law partners will participate in the UOC-IDP conference on "cloud computing" – 7-8 July


On 7-8 July this year, the UOC is organizing the Sixth Conference on Internet, Law and Politics. Manuel Martínez will take part in the roundtable: Key legal aspects of taking business to the cloud.

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id law partners in the Master Lvcentinvs, University of Alicante, 26 May 2010


Malcolm Bain will participate in the IP SOFTWARE (PATENT, COPYRIGHT, LICENSING, STANDARDS AND COMPETITION LAW" conference, organized by the University of Alicante. The program can be found here.

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LA VANGUADIA – Internet Day – 17 May 2010 – id law partners in LA VANGUARDIA


In conjunction with Internet Day 2010 (May 17th), id law partners was interviewed on the limits of the Internet and its legal aspects. The circulation of these special edition was 257,019.

e320100517idlaw_v01 PUBLICADA.jpg   - ver online

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Manuel Martínez Ribas obtains a second favorable court decision in the dispute over satellite TV football rights.


id law partners obtains a second favorable court decision in the dispute over the rights of English "Premier League" football and the satellite television footprint.

Manuel Martínez Ribas obtains a second favorable court decision in a case that marks a pioneering milestone in the Spanish case law discussion of whether the copyright infringement on satellite television rights, is or is not a crime. This is because, to criminalize the conduct, would be to criminalize the distributors of the technology and all European citizens residing in other EU territories who are accessing their local television through their legitimate decoder card which have been previously paid up.

For some time, the balance of interests oppose the rights of European consumers to view their local television regardless of the territory in which they reside in the European Union, compared to th e multi-million euro business of the community distribution of football television rights in different European countries.

After some policing efforts by the applicants with the aim of seeking sensationalism through the media (e.g. here), Manuel Martínez Ribas obtained a first order of the Court of Instruction No. 22 in Barcelona in order to settle the dispute in accordance with the principles of European law, which ended successfully in a dismissal. That order has been further confirmed by the order of the Sixth Section of the Provincial Court of Barcelona, dated 26 April 2010. The legal arguments used, both against the police high tech crime special unit (to counter the incorrect arrest that was at first intended) as before the judges (ending in favorable judgments, finding no criminal behavior) basically focused on legality of the actions of technology suppliers, safeguarding the right of consumers to view satellite television of their country of European origin, in another European country. This same issue is being resolved now before the Court of Justice of the European Communities, although relative to other European territories where this same controversy has arisen.

Preliminary comments on Royal Decree 4/2010, on the National Interoperability Framework


On 29 January this year, the Spanish Official Bulletin published Royal Decree 4/2010, of 8 January, which regulates the National Interoperability Framework in the field of Electronic Government.


This RD 4/2010 is interesting in two respects. Firstly, its main objective is to determine the criteria for security, standards (standardization) and conservation of information systems for Public Administrations, in order to ensure the “organizational, semantic and technical interoperability of data, information and services”. Therefore this RD establishes a detailed regulatory framework for the National Interoperability Framework, implementing Law 11/2007, of 22 June, on electronic access of citizens to public services (LAECSP).

As stated in this Decree, interoperability is "the ability of information systems and procedures to which they provide support, to share data and exchange of information and knowledge amongst them." And for that, the RD establishes a set of common criteria, including the use of open standards, modular architectures, multiplatforms, and publication of administrative information inventories and the exchange of data models, the use of interoperable electronic signatures, etc.

Open Standards

In this part of the RD, what is of interest is the obligation attached - in almost all circumstances, and perhaps the RD here fails to achieve full openness - to use open standards, for example, for documentation and services, in non-discriminatory conditions. The use of non-open standards is limited to cases in which "there is no available open standard that would meet the functionality satisfied by the non-open standard in question" and only "while this functionality is not availible." In other words, there seems to progress from the previous position (the use of open standards as well as those "which will be generally used by citizens"), because the new framework delimits the circumstances of use of those that are not open.

The definition of open standards (always a subject of debate) reflects that established as by the LAECSP: as being "one which meets the following conditions: (a) is public and its use is available free or at a cost which does not imply any difficulty to access, and (b) its use and application is not conditional upon payment of an intellectual or industrial property”. This is not an ideal definition, as it argues that an open standard also requires that there has been transparency and participation in the standardization process, but at least it does not talk about the “RAND” (reasonable and nondiscriminatory access) conditions.

We shall see exactly how this will be implemented in practice.

Release and reutilisation of software

The other interesting element of this Royal Decree (the bit that is more interesting to me, from a free software perspective), is chapter VIII "Technology Reutilisation and Transfer." This chapter develops on Articles 45 and 46 of the LAECSP, as well as Additional Provisions 16 and 17 of Law 56/2007 of 28 December, on Measures to Promote the Information Society (LISI). Basically, it confirms the possibility for the Public Administration to release applications under free software licenses (or "open source") and under what conditions. But it adds some interesting details.

The LAECSP confirms the possibility of sharing between Administrations (without needing formal agreements) computer programs of their own property (i.e. not talking about third party programs), as well as the possibility of "declaring" these as "open source". The Real Decree specifies the conditions under which the PAs may release these applications.

Firstly, the objective of any release will be to benefit from use and reuse of software (in the context of NIF, the use of a same application by two administrations ensures interoperability of the data and systems). This is also one of the goals of the free software movement.

A second objective is to protect the program against its "exclusive appropriation by third parties." Read, "use a copyleft license." This is reinforced by Article 16.2, which lists the rights that the PA should guarantee, including

   - Running the program for any purpose (usage rights without discrimination)

   - Knowing your source code (the distribution cannot be only in a binary form)

   - Modifying or improving the program (the right of conversion)

   - Ensuring that it can be redistributed to other users with or without changes, ensuring that the derivative work retains the same four safeguards (i.e. the right of reproduction, modification and distribution or public communication, but subject to conditions that we call "copyleft")

The latter criterion thus obliges the Administration to use a copyleft license, i.e. stating that the recipient/licensee of the code must use the same license or a similar one and which is compatible, in the event of redistributing the program or an improvement or transformation (derivative work) thereof. It therefore guarantees the "freedom" of the code at all times.

Currently, we can think that the GPL, CPL, Eclipse PL, Mozilla PL, OSL and LGPL (and others of the same style, in its various versions) meet this criterion: they all have a degree of copyleft on the code released and for their derivative works (but with different effects in terms of composite works which include this code, or for works uses this code ...a debate that we will not enter into here).

In paragraph 3 of the same Article 16, the RD states that the PA should "attempt" to use the European Union Public License (known under the acronym EUPL), but without prejudice to other licenses that guarantee the same rights. That is, the preference would be for the EUPL, but the Administration may use another with copyleft for example like the GPL (as was done by the Catalan Government for the "EinesTIC" suite). The EUPL 1.1. is a license drafted at the European Commission's request for the release of the Commission's software as well as any other software. It is recognized as "Open Source" by the Open Source Initiative. It is more appropriate for the "European" legal framework and has an annex of specifically compatible copyleft licenses including the GPLv2, the OSL 3.0, Eclipse / Common PL and French license CeCILL (allowing the use of the EUPL1.1 software in or by code under these licenses).

The idea of ​​using a copyleft license seems to be to ensure that if someone uses a code released by the Administration, for example to create a better or more complete application, he/she is not entitled to "sell" it back to the Administration (provided it is a "derived" work): it must re-distribute this improvement (to the same Administration or any other) under the terms of a free/open source licence.

While understanding these objectives, this philosophy is not necessarily shared by all: with a permissive license, the code of the administration will always be available to the public, so no one can "close" the code originally released. But it is true that this does not necessarily guarantee that derivative works (improvements, adaptations, etc.) of this code will be made available. However, a release of a copyleft licensed program may also be a disincentive for consultants and solution providers, who may be reluctant to work with this code in circumstances where improvements must be free (not jus the part that is owned ​​by the Administration, but the results of their efforts for improvement or adaptation).


Finally, Article 17 of the Royal Decree implements the obligation established in LAECSP to create directories of applications (federated at national level and internationally) to enable the free reuse of this software. It is understood that these directories are within the public Administration – they are not necessarily directories open to all.

Paragraph 3 goes beyond the LAECSP and states that Public Administration should "take into account the solutions available for free reuse that can fully or partially meet the needs of new systems and services or for the improvement and updating of those already implanted”. I understand then that before purchasing a new solution or improving an existing one, an Authority should consult these directories to see "what is there". Should they also consult open repositories like Sourceforge, Freshmeat or Google Code? It will be interesting to see how they implement this obligation: what internal processes are established. Besides, a decision could be attacked from one Administration to purchase a non-free software (or a development that uses non-free systems - operating systems or databases), because there exists other free with the same benefits, which "have not taken into account "?

Finally, in section 4, another novelty: Administrations must ensure the publication of software code, under development or completed, in the software directories set up for free reuse "in order to promote actions to share, reutilise and collaborate for the benefit of improved efficiency”. The publication of completed applications (although an application is rarely "finished!") and which have some stability and security levels and certification makes sense in light of the preceding paragraphs.

What is interesting is the publication of code in development phase: the opening of the development process to other administrations appears to be a form of incentive to implementat the free software development model (open development, progressive, incremental, modular) in Public Administration. Through this, other administrations can download the code posted and start doing their own versions and upgrades. It does not specify if the directory must have version control tools, management of Bugs, and third party "commit" processes, to enable other administrations to participate in the development. Once again, we will wait to see how this system works, especially for example in cases where a private provider of the Administration is responsible for managing the application development, and how it will manage the risks and responsibilities.


In summary, although the Royal Decree does not establish any "preference" for the acquisition of software products based on free / open source licenses, it does propose improvements for use within the Administration and above all for the reuse and freeing of the public administration software.

id law partners and "electronic evidence" in the Barcelona Bar Association


On 19 January 2010 Manuel Martínez Ribas taught a class on the legal aspects of electronic evidence in the Bar Association of Barcelona.

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Malcolm Bain in the European Parliament, with EOLE


Malcolm Bain participates in the "European Open Source Law Event" of 2009, invited by the European Parliament. For more information see http://www.eolevent.eu/.

He gave a presentation on the concept of "distribution" or "public communication", and commented on the relationship between "cloud computing" and copyleft.

mbain-eole-2009.pdf   - ver online

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Brief comments on the GNU General Public License v3


The GNU General Public License is the license most used for free software and is a fundamental license for the movement of this software. To bring the license up to date with technological and legal evolution, after it was first published in 1989, the Free Software Foundation profoundly revised the terminology, publishing its version 3 in June 2007. This article discusses the causes and objectives for this revision and some of the main new elements in the GPLv3. The revision results in a licence which is more in agreement with the framework of international copyright, and more flexible and compatible with other free software licenses. Important agreements have been added to face the new threats to free software, such as software patents and the legal protection of systems of digital rights management (DRM).


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"Guide to the law and open source software", work written for the CENATIC by id law partners


Malcolm Bain, with the collaboration of Manuel Martínez Ribas, drafted for the CENATIC "Guide to the law and open source software" which can be downloaded HERE.

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