Law professor and intellectual property expert Kimberlee Weatherall was honoured with an award for service to the open source community at last Friday night. The annual award, known as the “Rusty Wrench” is presented to the person who has made the most positive impact on the Australian open source community, as judged by Linux Australia.

During the year, Weatherall has helped to raise awareness of IP issues, by commenting on the topics of the OzDMCA, the US free trade agreement and the recently passed Copyright Amendment Bill on her blog. She has also taken it upon herself to make sure that legislators are aware of issues raised by the open source community with regards to IP laws.

This is the first time a lawyer has won the award, inaugural winner Rusty Russell said during the presentation. “The [award] is not about code … it’s really about getting your hands dirty.”

“These kinds of issues are important. A lot of software developers don’t want to do the kind of work that Kim has been doing, and there aren’t many lawyers who are interested. It’s been fantastic for the community to have someone like Kim,” said Linux Australia president Jonathon Oxer.