Groklaw 2.0: PJ Leaves Groklaw but legal news site to continue under new editor

Pamela Jones, editor of Groklaw, the leading open-source legal news and analysis site, is leaving Groklaw but the site will continue under Mark Webbink.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Pamela "PJ" Jones, editor and creator of Groklaw, the leading open-source legal news and analysis site, has kept her word. After eight years, PJ is leaving Groklaw. The site though will continue under the guidance of Mark Webbink.

Mark Webbink is also Executive Director of the Center for Patent Innovations, a research and development arm of New York Law School's Institute for Intellectual Law & Property. Webbink is also a board member of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC). Before that, he was Red Hat's Senior Vice President and General Counsel. In short, Webbink knows intellectual property (IP) law and open source about as well as anyone on the planet.

Still, stepping in for PJ won't be easy. While "only" a paralegal, her unflagging efforts lead to Groklaw becoming the go-to site first for SCO legal news and analysis and then the whole world of IP law and its effects on open-source software.

In her good-bye note, Jones wrote she "wouldn't be writing any more articles for Groklaw. I intended to finish the Comes v. Microsoft exhibits as text and perfect some of our other collections and then I would retire from Groklaw, knowing as I did that the research we have done together will remain useful no matter what happens in the future."

But, after being "bombarded with messages asking me to keep the community going or to tell you where to assemble elsewhere," she decided that to she needed to "leave Groklaw in someone's hands who could keep things going." That person was Webbink. She says of him that He "will make Groklaw the place to go to when you want to understand the law and all things FOSS. " I think PJ's right. I've also known Webbink for years and he'll do well by the site.

That said, I did ask PJ a few last questions as she leaves the Groklaw to refocus on her own private life.

SJVN: From where you stand what was the biggest accomplishment?

PJ: The biggest accomplishment of Groklaw was building the community so that it's now a FOSS [Free and Open-Source Software] legal resource. The power it has to alter the course of litigation is extraordinary. No law firm has access to the depth of research that Groklaw as a community can do. By the way, it was lawyers who really saw what we were doing and appreciated it first.

Personally, I'm most proud of our trial coverage. And I'm proud of obtaining and making public the BSDi settlement agreement, which SCO was using as a club because the terms were hidden until we published them. It felt good to shut their mouths about that. I have some more documents to share, by the way, some early contracts between AT&T and the Regents. That's going up as soon as I can finish, but it will be Mark that publishes.

SJVN: What's your biggest regret?

PJ: Regrets? Actually none. Honestly, doing Groklaw was the most fun I ever had. There were unpleasant aspects to it, because Linux has powerful enemies and they surely tried to make me regret doing Groklaw. But I just loved it. The only regret is having to stop. That is hard. But I know it's the right decision, for a lot of reasons.

SJVN: Do you feel like all the time and energy you poured into Groklaw was worth it?

PJ: Worth it? Are you serious? :) How many people can say they did something that really mattered? I can. It's the most wonderful feeling, and I feel genuinely satisfied and creatively fulfilled. I had a creative vision, something no one had tried before I tried it, and it worked. It actually worked. What could be more fun than that?

So on that note, I bid PJ's public life adieu and wish that she has more years of fun in her life now that it's her own again. And, on a personal note, I'd like to thank her for her years of hard work carried out despite private and public attacks on herself and her integrity.

Thanks Pamela. You really did make a difference for the good.

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