FRUUG - Front Range Unix Users Group
FRUUG home
meeting archive
about FRUUG
join FRUUG
contact info
September 2005 Newsletter of the
Front Range UNIX Users Group

Cndnsd Vrsn: 4 PM Wednesday 9/28 Employment & Copyright Law


Current Issues in Employment & Copyright Law

The next meeting of the Front Range UNIX Users Group (FRUUG) will be held at 4:00 P.M. on Wednesday September 28. Please note the different meeting location (below) and day.

The pace of technological innovation almost always outpaces our ability to place them in the context of our existing laws. It would be hard not to notice some of the current legal debates going on around us, and for our September meeting, Carl Oppedahl, from the law firm Oppedahl & Larson LLP, will help us sort out some of what's going on.

As computing professionals, most of us work for a living and create intellectual property in one form or another. With this visit to FRUUG, Carl will tackle these two areas with a series of fascinating stories, surprising legal findings, and lots of answers to your questions.

Employment Law

Do you work for a living? As an employee? As a contractor? Have you noticed Microsoft suing its former employees for going to work at Google? Do you have a contract or non-compete agreement in force with your employer? What rights do you have under these agreements?

You might be surprised to learn that many employment contracts attempt to restrict the ability of an employee from using skills learned at one company in a job with a new employer. You may also be surprised to learn what protections Colorado law offers to protect employees from companies enforcing such contracts.

Do you work as a contractor? Did you sign a contract that guarantees that every line of software you write does not infringe on someone else's intellectual rights including patents and copyrights? It's hard to know, given that almost everything seems patentable in software these days, and a recent case between Microsoft and Apple regarding iPod technology suggests that others can patent your invention even without you knowing. Carl will discuss things to watch out for next time you negotiate a contract, and he will suggest some alternatives to typical contract conditions.

Copyright Law

In every appearance that Carl Oppedahl has made at FRUUG, he's waved the federal copyright registration form and has made an "eat your beets" pitch for why it's important to seek federal registration. If you don't know why, you're sure to learn in this portion of Carl's talk. Without copyright protection, it might be difficult to get people to pay us for our work.

Once your copyright is registered, what are the limits of how your materials can be used and copied? Several controversies are arising over the limits of copyright protection, and we're not just talking about copying music files. Google, in its quest to make all information available to everyone, is busy scanning all of the books in several university libraries. Can it do this without violating book publishers' copyrights? Can it make a copy of your Web site for its search-engine use? Does your robots.txt file have any legal significance?

While we're at it,'s Wayback machine has come under fire for making and keeping a historical record of the Web, surprisingly from the same attorneys that use it for research purposes. Can a non-profit organization make a copy of everything on the Web without violating intellectual property laws? And by the way, have you noticed the fine-print "terms of use" links that many sites are quietly setting up? Do you agree to them by simply accessing a Web site?

About The Speaker

Carl Oppedahl is an attorney that understands technology. Carl is a programmer himself, and has been technically trained in physics, electrical engineering, mathematics, and software engineering. This, plus his law degree from Harvard Law School, has helped to put him at the forefront of computer software and Internet litigation. Carl represented Road Runner Computer Systems in a dispute in which Network Solutions, Inc. wanted to cut off use of their domain name and give it to one of the many trademark owners of the term "Road Runner." This was the first case of its kind, and Road Runner Computer Systems prevailed. Mr. Oppedahl litigated a case in which three different Web sites used his law firm's name in their META-tags eight times over 11 different pages, presumably to increase the probability that their sites would appear in searches involving Oppedahl's name. Due to Oppedahl's efforts, the offending companies are permanently enjoined from using his law firm's name on their Web pages. You'll find more about Oppedahl & Larson LLP at

Meeting Location

After fifteen years meeting at the CU Academic Computing Center, that space is no longer available to us, and we're looking for a new permanent home in Boulder that has A/V equipment and hopefully room for our library cart. If you have any suggestions, please contact us!

This meeting will be held at the George Reynolds Branch Library in Boulder at 3595 Table Mesa Drive. This is a convenient location for FRUUG members coming in from the south and east, as it's close to the intersection of Table Mesa and Broadway. See map below or get directions from Google maps.

See <> for map

Introducing the Front Range OpenSolaris User Group

FRUUG, originally the Boulder Users Group (BUG), was founded almost 25 years ago because there was no group forum in which local professionals trying to make sense of the then-unsupported UNIX operating system could get help understanding and running the system.

Now that Sun Microsystems has open-sourced substantial portions of its Solaris Operating System, the Front Range OpenSolaris Users Group has formed and has held its first meeting to help its members understand the intricacies of compiling, installing, and using OpenSolaris.

Both of our groups are interested in cutting-edge UNIX operating system technologies, so at this month's meeting, a representative from FROSUG (you thought FRUUG was hard to pronounce!) will introduce the group and its plans. We've also decided to work together, and where our meeting topics overlap, we'll be hosting some joint meetings. You'll find the OpenSolaris User Group on the Web at: Their next meeting is about NFSv4 on September 20, at Sun Microsystems in Broomfield.

Our Last Meeting

At our last meeting, Jim Elliott, of C++ powered house fame, gave us a one-hour condensed version of his Test-Driven Development course. Jeff Haemer did a great writeup of Jim's talk, and Jim's slides are also available in the meeting archive.

Announcements, presentation slides, and writeups for past meetings are available in the FRUUG Meeting Archive.

Future Meetings

We have several meeting topics planned for the fall. In October, Cricket Liu will be in town to talk about DNS cache poisoning. Sound obscure? It's not. A recent rash of cache-poisoning attacks have steered users to phishing sites, with no indication that they weren't the real ones. Cricket will talk about how the attacks work and how to protect your DNS servers from them. Date to be announced.

We're also planning a talk on system issues behind RFID, and a joint meeting with the OpenSolaris Users Group to that includes a demonstration of Solaris 10 Dtrace.

We'd like to do more meetings with short presentations on interesting technologies that FRUUG members are working with. If you are working on something that you'd like to give a 20-minute presentation on, please contact one of the Executive Committee members at the meeting.

FRUUG Library Notes

New books in the FRUUG library this month include:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS2 One-on-One, from O'Reilly
  • Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment, Second Edition, from Addison Wesley
  • Apache Security, from O'Reilly
  • Computer Privacy Annoyances, from O'Reilly
  • Developing Feeds with RSS and Atom, from O'Reilly
  • Eclipse IDE Pocket Guide, from O'Reilly
  • Ending Spam, from No Starch
  • Google Hacking for Penetration Testers, from Syngress
  • Learning Perl, 4th Edition, from O'Reilly
  • Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition, from O'Reilly
  • Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition, from O'Reilly
  • PC Pest Control, from O'Reilly
  • The Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide, Second Edition, from Addison Wesley
  • Perl Best Practices, from O'Reilly
  • Samba-3 By Example, Practical Exercises to Successful Deployment, From Addison Wesley
  • Spring into Linux, from Addison Wesley
  • Spring into Technical Writing, from Addison Wesley
  • UML 2.0 in a Nutshell, from O'Reilly

You may check out books using your business card as your library card; you must be on the membership list to check books out. Books are due at the meeting following the one in which they are checked out.

Remember that your FRUUG membership entitles you to discounts on your book orders from O'Reilly & Associates, New Riders, No Starch, Paraglyph, PC Publishing, Pragmatic Bookshelf, SitePoint, and Syngress; refer to the FRUUG Web site for details.

Site Map Recruiter Info
February 15, 2009

February 2008: FRUUG Enters Quiescent Phase
After 27 years running, we're suspending operations.

Future Meetings:
None planned

Site by
Lone Eagle Systems, Inc.,
Hosted courtesy of Indra