Who we are
Array groups a number (an “array”) of independent IT lawyers, aiming at providing a legal support to enterprises, developers and – why not – law firms in all cases where a highly specialized competence is required in the IT & TLC fields. This competence is sided by a deep understanding of the technical issues underlying the legal issues. Those competences are seldom available in traditional law firms, even in those specializing in “Intellectual Property”. Nonetheless they are indispensable in order to provide a suitable assistance to the relevant subjects in the field.
Last but not least, members of Array, beside providing assistance and consulting in the “traditional” areas of IT & TLC Law, are mainly focused on Free Software (also know as “open source” software) and are able to offer in this specific field some competence hard to find even in law firms specializing in IT & TLC Law.
By working in a very specialized niche, members of Array – when requested – have no issues about working with other law firms and professionals at large who already assist the client with other matters. Array is not a professional association or a “partnership”. It is an “array” of professionals who show up where their competence is required.
Being “Intellectual Property specialists” is not enough for being an “IT Lawyer”.
In the first place, a good IT lawyer must know the basics of software programming, although not necessarily being a programmer himself, know the rough difference between the several programming languages, the working of the networks, hacking techniques and so on. In a few words, it is of fundamental importance to be familiar with technology, some attitude that is not required in other fields of the legal practice.
For instance, in order to issue a good opinion on the legal protection of communication protocols, it is mandatory to be able to understand, at a technical level, the difference between the protocol, its software implementation and the technical documentation describing the protocol (or the specifications). Otherwise, the risk is to give to the client misleading or even erroneous suggestions on applicability of industrial property protections in such field.
Another good example, if one can offer his/her advice on issues pertaining the combination of proprietary and Free/Open Source software, it is indispensable to understand the technical methods by which this combination can happen (linking, shims, API’s, etc.), otherwise the risk is to worry the client about inexistent risks linked to the use of Free Software in proprietary products or, on the other end of the problem, to not be informing the client on the precise limits and obligations in such a case.
In the second place, a good IT lawyer must know the legal issues connected to the production, sale, distribution of hardware, software and services, as well as the dynamics of the IT/TLC sector. For instance, in order to draft a good IT product and services distribution agreement, it is necessary to be acquainted:
- with the law and international treaties that establish limits and restrictions on certain types of IT products (like the often disregarded Wassenaar Arrangement);
- with the limitation of warranty and the liability caps imposed by proprietary and Free Software licenses
- with data retention, data protection and infosecurity laws
- with technical instruments and means put in place in order to prevent unlawful exploitment of industrial property protected goods (or conversely the unvoluntary violation of third parties’)
- with standard policies and practices concerning warranty limitations, assistance, maintenance, etc.
Thirdly, a good IT lawyer must have a good handle on corporate dynamics and with the general understanding in the field, in order to be able to follow and to validate step-by-step an hardware/software project. The goal at the same time is to avoid posing useless obstacles or being inefficient interacting with the technical people and the project managers, and to timely spot sensitive points when still the time exist to remedy the development path. Therefore, to act proactively.
By way of example, an expert in the field is familiar with the notion that certain filesystems are covered by patents that make non advisable their use in embedded devices. If a legal expert is not in a position to early point out and react to that threat early in the project phase, suggesting alternatives based on the usual choices in the field, the client could suffer serious consequences if the problem arises when the product is out.
His main practice area is TLC/ICT Law, particularly e-commerce, data retention, domain names, software licenses and contracts.
He is member of the Editorial Board of the Erasmus Law and Economics Review, an on-line review which aims at spreading the Law and Economics approach in order to break down national barriers and enable lawyers from all over the world to communicate with each other by providing a common framework of thinking.
Giovanni Battista Gallus
Also he cooperate with some associations that deal with IT security (Oracle Community for Security, Cloud Security Alliance Italy Chapter). He often writes scientific articles (Opensource.com, Ciberspazio e Diritto, Diritto e Giustizia, LeggiOggi, ICT4Executive).
From 2009 to 2014 he worked as scholar at University of Milan, chair of Legal Informatics, where he did lectures for students and attendees of Post-Graduate Course in Digital Forensics, Privacy, Cloud e Cyber Warfare (edition 2014).
During his professional experience he has been part of important lawsuits (above all Microsoft vs. European Commission – Case T/201-04 before European Court of Justice) and he has worked on complex projects on Privacy compliance.
Last but not least, he has a strong attitude for legal issues of free and open source software.
He also deals with science dissemination on the issues within his area of concentration, with an intense publishing activity, releasing all his works with open content licenses.