Legalize It

I met with my new lawyer today, Gabe Levine, who I was introduced to through my friend, Mike. Gabe is Mike’s lawyer, and they blog together over at My Lawyer Gabe. It’s important I work with him now to sort out two main things: client agreements and sub-contractor agreements.

There are a couple of fiddly bits that might be a bit unusual or interesting to you. The first is that some of my clients may well be international. The main issue that could raise in terms of agreements is where any necessary arbitration should take place. Naturally, I nominated Switzerland. (That’s a joke, but international arbitration is not.)

Secondly, I’m not adverse to doing pro bono work, particularly early on, when I’m working on building a client base, and taking on interesting projects where I’m learning a lot too. Gabe advised me that it’s very important to set out strident scopes of work in pro bono agreements, otherwise, things could go sour fast.

Part of my role at my previous job at Stamen was to work with the client and the team to determine scope for our projects, and actually that’s something I really enjoy, so, I’m looking forward to doing it for my own projects.

Generally speaking, too, I expect a lot of my work for the first, say, 12 months or so to involve a lot of research, as you can see in the beginnings of my gfs:visit=* posts, where I visit with institutions and organizations I’d like to know better. One of Gabe’s specialities is IP law, and, while I absolutely want to share what I learn on this diary, I must also be conscious of creating an asset for this company which is just that, an asset.

It’s tricky because I’m a huge exponent of open access, open data and open licensing of owned materials. It’s also true that I’ve created and witnessed really successful open platforms. But, when it comes to ideas and software and capacity, at least for right now it doesn’t seem to make sense that I would give everything away freely right off the bat. But then again, it’s a great way to build trust with interested folks, so it’s a bit of a conundrum.

I guess it’s only really Day 7, so, early days. Early days.

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