Two smart lawyers arguing

Last May, I had the pleasure of participating in yet another conference
on open source
. Some of the topics covered were the “same old, same old”,
but there was one set of exchanges that really struck me as unique—the
debate between Eben Moglen, counsel for the FSF, and David McGowan, a
self-described “capitalist tool”. The video archives are available (although uptime seems spotty), and I encourage people interested in legal issues surrounding the GPL in particular to listen in. Of particular interest:

  • Eben Moglen’s speech (Day 1, Morning Session, Part 2)
  • David McGowan’s counter-speech (Day 1, Afternoon Session, Part 1)
  • The discussion period between the two of them (Day 1, Afternoon Session,
    end of Part 2)

(Oh, how I wish I could address into parts of the debate with better
instructions than “see Question 7 in the afternoon Q&A”. Yes, Jon, you’re right.)

I’m not sure how much it will come across to viewers of the videos, but both lawyers presented (to me) stunning displays of rhetorical skill. It was one of the most enjoyable sequence of talks I have heard, which is somewhat scary to contemplate. As one audience member said at the end in the Q&A, “I believe everyone of you completely when you talk, even though you’re completely contradictory”.

Visit the Conference Archives

(I would serve the most relevant bits from my own site if I could, but KMDI only publishes streaming video).

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