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GitHub’s New Legal Support For Developers, and Loads of New Open Source Projects – Open Source Matters

Welcome to the 4th edition of Open Source Matters: our regular publication about the latest happenings in open source! Let’s dive into the news.

Like any other company that hosts user-generated content on the internet, GitHub has been no stranger to the challenges posed by the copyright takedown process in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Last year, the company faced a DMCA dispute over youtube-dl, a popular project that enables users to download audio and video media from numerous content sources on the web. The dispute was related to section 1201 of the DMCA, which prohibits the distribution of code built to bypass copyright protections. Ultimately, GitHub sided with the project developers and allowed them to continue using GitHub as their git hosting provider.

Now, GitHub has announced a new program to provide open source developers with free legal support when they face section 1201 legal disputes over code hosted on GitHub. To do so, they’ve partnered with the Stanford Law School Juelsgaard Intellectual Property and Innovation Clinic and committed their one million dollar defense fund to support the initiative. GitHub hopes this will help open source developers protect their community while simultaneously growing a community of legal experts equipped to advocate on behalf of open source community needs.

New Open Source Projects

The last few weeks have been busy for new open source projects. Here are some of the biggest launches:

  • Genalog – A python package that generates document images with synthetic noise that mimics scanned documents from Microsoft.
  • Winterfell –  A library to generate cryptographic proofs of computational integrity from Facebook.
  • Verrazzano – A container deployment platform for multi-cloud and hybrid environments from Oracle.
  • Package Hunter – A tool that identifies malicious dependencies in your codebase via runtime monitoring from GitLab.
  • Droidlet – A platform to build robots that use natural language processing and computer vision to interact with the physical world. 
  • Pyrrha – A platform that provides real-time information to firefighters for smoke and toxin inhalation. This project is a joint effort between the Linux Foundation, IBM, and Prometeo to help firefighters worldwide who are fighting wildfires.
  • Triton – A programming language and compiler to create efficient deep learning primitives from OpenAI.
  • Orbiter – A real-time space flight simulator.

Ben Lloyd Pearson is the Director of Developer Marketing for Mattermost. He is a technology generalist who focuses his broad understanding to grow and engage developer audiences through digital media, open source advocacy, and events strategy and operations.