FOSS News : April 2014

Newly Named Mozilla Corporation CEO Steps Down

After a year of searching, Mozilla Corporation selected Brendan Eich as its new CEO in March. However, amidst significant pressure from the FOSS community concerning his personal political activities, Eich stepped down on April 3rd. Eich was set to take over from Jay Sullivan, who had been serving as acting CEO since former CEO Gary Kovacs’ departure last April for AVG Technologies. Eich was a founding member of Mozilla, and after serving as Mozilla Foundation’s Lead Technologist and as a member of the Board of Directors he assumed the role of Chief Technology Officer for the Mozilla Corporation in 2005. Prior to his work with Mozilla, Eich was involved with Netscape, where he developed the JavaScript programming language.

Accompanying Eich’s selection was the promotion of Li Gong to COO. Gong founded Mozilla China and Mozilla Taipei, and served as CEO of the two subsidiaries. He had previously served as Senior Vice President of Mobile Devices and President of Asia Operations.

Mozilla has not made any statements concerning when a replacement is expected to be announced.

German Regional Court Rules That Use Under Creative Commons Non-Commercial License Must Be For Personal Use Only

A German court has ruled that the Creative Commons Non-Commercial license module allows users to make use of licensed material only in limited circumstances that qualify as personal use. The ruling interprets “non-commercial” narrowly to exclude any conduct that falls under a broad understanding of general commercial activity.

The dispute, which was heard in the Regional Court of Cologne, centered on a publicly funded radio station’s use of a photograph licensed under Creative Commons Non-Commercial license terms. The public broadcaster displayed the photograph on its website and the photograph’s copyright holder objected to the use as a violation of the terms of the Creative Commons Non-Commercial license. Although the broadcaster was publicly funded and its website contained no advertising or sponsorship the court found that the broadcaster’s use of the photo nonetheless had a general commercial purpose and ruled in favor of the plaintiff.

The Non-Commercial version of the Creative Commons license is said to be the organization’s most-used license variant. Rulings like this emphasize the potentially restrictive scope of use cases permitted for licensed works by CC-NC.

Karen Sandler Named Executive Director of Software Freedom Conservancy

Karen Sandler will be assuming the role of Executive Director at the Software Freedom Conservancy. The Software Freedom Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization providing fiscal sponsorship and administrative services to free and open source software development projects. Sandler will be replacing the Conservancy’s out-going Executive Director Bradley Kuhn who will stay on at the organization in his new role of Distinguished Technologist in addition to serving as President of the Board of Directors.

Sandler joins the Conservancy from the GNOME Foundation where she served as Executive Director since 2011. She previously served as General Counsel at the Software Freedom Law Center and continues to act as General Counsel for Sandler will stay on with the GNOME Foundation as Pro Bono Counsel and will continue her work as Co-Director of GNOME’s Outreach Program for Women (OPW)

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