Hilary Richardson

Description of the candidate: 

Hilary Richardson has been working on internet law issues for almost ten years, spanning nonprofit legal fellowships at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and The Wikimedia Foundation, working on platform liability and intellectual property issues at Twitter and Facebook, and working on open source at Google for almost five years.

Hilary is a longtime advocate for Creative Commons and open source licensing, and spends her days advising on how teams can use and ship products in compliance with a variety of free and open source licenses. Outside of product advising, Hilary advises numerous open source foundations on policies and best practices. This led Hilary to spend a considerable amount of time over the past few years focused on edge cases in open licensing, including database licensing and open licenses in hardware collaborations.

Hilary has several years of board experience as the acting Secretary of the Kotlin Foundation and the Treasurer of MLCommons. Hilary has extensive experience with open source foundations, helping to set up, advise, or sitting on the legal committee of foundations including the CHIPS Alliance, the Kotlin Foundation, the InterUSS Project, the Mojaloop Foundation, the OpenChain Project, Open Compute Project, the Open Source Security Foundation, lowRISC C.I.C.’s OpenTitan Project, the Open Usage Commons, the Rust Foundation, and others.

I am running for the board in order to bring a new perspective to evaluating licenses.

Grounded in my admiration for the Open Source Definition and the interpretations that the OSI board has shared in the past, I want to help strengthen the future of open source by considering how the OSD informs open collaboration in new areas. The same way that the courts take Constitutions and written statutes and interpret them for new and evolving facts, or the way that attorneys have focused on how to translate personal rights and freedoms in the digital age, I believe there is an ever-expanding role for the OSI in bringing open source values to new areas. For example, the innovations in open hardware collaborations, artificial intelligence use cases, and compliance for cloud products can shift the focus of what is necessary in a license and raise questions about what the OSI can endorse as a good and open source consistent license.

I would use my extensive experience with open source foundations to help the OSI strengthen its transition into an advisory board.

I love the collaborative nature of open source and I hope to contribute while always learning from different perspectives. My legal background and familiarity with a broad range of open source issues at Google would contribute substance to conversations at the OSI, while I remain committed to balancing perspectives on any licensing or governance issue.

Lastly, an organization like the OSI requires good fundraising to sustain its work. Given my broad network of contacts in open source and internet companies as well as my past experience as a Treasurer for an open source foundation, I believe I could help ensure that the OSI continues to be fiscally sustainable.

Type of seat: 


Hello, I have a small set of questions ....

(1) About your stance on Individual seats. Do you see an Individual board seat as an obligation to represent the voice and priorities of the voters? Or, if elected, will you represent Google's interests?

(2) Speaking of the employer-employee relationship, what do you mean by "new perspective on licensing"? Surely the organizations you list in your candidate CV, and your current employer, have well-established perspectives. In fact, one of the two outgoing Individual board directors this month is, also, from Google. How different is your perspective from that director's perspective?

(3) In the "why" section, you say you're interested in the role/performance of the OSI Treasurer. That position's term is not up, and the role is (apparently?) chosen by the board. Do you think the current Treasurer / CFO is not performing satisfactorily?

(4) Related to the above, are you wanting to take over the role of Treasurer?

Hi nwillis, Thank you for asking these questions and giving me an opportunity to clarify on some of these topics. I won't have time tonight to address all of your questions in full, but based on your questions it sounds like there are a few things I should have communicated more clearly that I would like to address immediately. First, I think I must have miscommunicated any interest in the position of Treasurer -- I am not in fact interested in taking on the position of Treasurer for OSI! I do think it is important for all board members of any organization to be mindful of fiscal responsibility and sustainability, to ensure consistent support for what matters most. I have no criticism of an individual performing Treasurer responsibilities now, but for organizations at a size like OSI's ongoing sustainability is an important issue and every board member can help with that and work with the Treasurer. Second, thank you so much for asking questions about whether I would be representing my employer's views. I deleted part of my statement due to brevity prior to submitting, but in another draft I addressed that more extensively. I do not intend to represent my employer's views. I believe my experience counseling product groups and learning from independent developers I work with externally is valuable experience and brings perspective, but that is not the same as representing any corporate viewpoint (even assuming that there is a coherent company viewpoint on a given issue). It is critical for independent board members to represent the concerns and interests of OSI members. I am running in my capacity as an individual not tied to any employer. I hope my experience provides helpful context for conversations and license evaluations within OSI, but to always focus on balancing interests in the OSI membership community rather than advocating for a particular company viewpoint. In terms of whether I hold the same viewpoints as the outgoing representative from the same employer, I would say it depends on the issue but our experiences have been different. I respect and appreciate my colleague but we are on different teams with different projects and responsibilities. I have seen her bring new perspectives to discussions and I have shared insights with her from my experience. Some of the new perspectives would in areas of compatibility with the spirit of OSI in licensing scenarios that go beyond original open source licenses, such as patent commitments in open hardware collaborations. I hope that is helpful. Thank you for your questions. Hilary

To promote and protect open source software and communities...

For over 20 years the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has worked to raise awareness and adoption of open source software, and build bridges between open source communities of practice. As a global non-profit, the OSI champions software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure, stewarding the Open Source Definition (OSD), and preventing abuse of the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement.

Open source software is made by many people and distributed under an OSD-compliant license which grants all the rights to use, study, change, and share the software in modified and unmodified form. Software freedom is essential to enabling community development of open source software.