Catharina is a lawyer by training and has been involved in intellectual property and public licensing models for over 15 years beginning with her work as director for Creative Commons International overseeing and stewarding the Creative Commons global licensing suite and managing the global license porting project. Catharina has worked closely with the World Economic Forum, where she served on the Global Agenda Council on the intellectual property system.
She has founded the Software Compliance Academy, a private training and consulting firm to support clients in their Open Source journey and currently also helps lead MBition’s (Mercedes-Benz subsidiary based in Berlin) technology strategy focussing on system level architectural questions for the next generation of infotainment systems.
In addition to her work with various clients, Catharina has helped to initiate the OpenChain project, the first international standard for Open Source license compliance (ISO/IEC 5230) to bring efficiency and trust into the Open Source supply chain. She has written and taught extensively on IT policy and standardization questions and especially the intersection between Open Source software and standards.
Her academic appointments included faculty positions at Keio University in Japan and Bucerius Law School in Germany, visiting positions at the University of Puerto Rico and Humboldt University in Berlin, and as faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University in the US. She is a member of the Council for the Legal Network at the Free Software Foundation Europe and a fellow at the Open Forum Europe.
Catharina received her PhD from the Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel with a scholarship from the Max Plack Institute for Intellectual Property in Munich, Germany.
Catharina has been elected to the OSI board in October 2021 and served as board chair since April 2022.
Over the past two years, OSI has already achieved a great deal to increase visibility and improve operational stability – but we still have crucial challenges ahead of us: We have to keep on going with the Deep Dive AI project and make sure that the Open Source community has a voice in the heated debate about the future of technology. The license review process is currently “under review” itself and we also need to structure and refurbish the list of approved licenses. And above all, the political and economic situation makes life in the non-profit world difficult and challenging: OSI is a US based 503(c) charitable organization and relies on support from its members and unrestricted gifts from other generous donors, including industry sponsorships. We were lucky to get immediate support in the new membership structure and very proud to have built a strong support base with more than 600 members. Thanks to all of you who have supported OSI in its mission to advocate for the benefits of Open Source and to build bridges for a common understanding of Open Source.
Looking back, I have somewhat disappointed myself and underestimated the work and time commitment associated with my original goals. Especially the fact that we haven’t been been able to make enough progress in expanding OSI’s visibility and activities beyond the US and EU borders made me realise that I should ask for more time. Geographical diversity is an important prerequisite for the future of OSI. We need all possible different perspectives represented at OSI and especially in the Open Source Community. If re-elected I will focus on geographical diversity and prioritize my network in the Asia Pacific region. Geographical diversity is an important prerequisite for the future of OSI. We need all possible different perspectives represented at OSI and especially in the Open Source community.
Another important requirement for a sustainable future of the OSI and its community is engagement with the next generation of leaders, be it technical or non-technical. When I ran for the board in 2021, I promised to bring the core value of Open Source to the younger generations, to inspire them build an open future and support the idea and value behind the Open Source development model. And while engagement with the next generation naturally takes time, I realize that I could have spent more time working on this long-term goal.
To sum up, I am running again for the OSI Board of Directors because I would be delighted to continue and support OSI in:
- Growing as an organization with a special focus on resources and sustainability: Even with a full time Executive Director on board, we need to secure a strong budget, continue and grow as an organization with a special focus on resources and sustainability.
- Continuing visibility in industry channels and policy fora: Legislators and policy makers need support in understanding the Open Source ecosystem, its role in innovation and its value for an open future.
- Counterbalancing industry networks and trade associations: While we have been working closely with some of the prominent trade associations, we need to spend more time and effort working with small community based organizations and civil society.
- Leading in Open Source stewardship through definition, licensing guidance, and respect: With our revised license review and license approval approach, we will add more transparency and inclusion to our main task and mission.
- Mediating fundamental issues and debates about the future of Open Source: With AI dominating the discussion around the future of software development, we need to give the Open Source community a very strong voice in this debate.
If re-elected, I will continue to work with the team and board and focus on visibility and operational stability. I will work with our existing network of industry leaders, foundational, and academic partners and supporters to expand OSI’s impact and visibility. Adding a strong, consistent, and well-informed voice to the ongoing debate around Open Source and how it can be defined and defended is still one of the most critical challenges we have to face even if (or perhaps because) Open Source has become so natural and widespread across the different industries.
I will put a strong focus on our fundraising efforts. In addition to the much appreciated community and industry support, I would also like to reach out to foundations and apply for grants.
Finally, I will devote more time and effort to bringing the Open Source software development model to the next generation of leaders. I still believe that we need to get questions on ethics and Open Source software development into the curriculum of our Universities around the world so that the next generation of engineers and decision makers can benefit even more from the groundwork that the OSI has accomplished over the past years.
I can be reached at [email protected] and would be very happy to answer any questions you may have.
Thank you for your time and reading up to this point in my re-application. I look forward to my second term on the OSI board and to your continuous support.