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Re: Corel Lawsuit

On Fri, Nov 26, 1999 at 10:09:00AM -0800, Bruce Perens wrote:
> It's time for us to bring suit against Corel for this "can't download unless
> you're 18" stuff. That's not in our license and they know it. I've tried to
> help them several times, and they continue to be 100% clueless. I think at
> this point they are not representing Debian well, and should not distribute
> it. I'm not going to help them any longer.

It seems that the problem is that Corel has made what I consider to be an
agreement for their provision of copying service (ie, stuff you must agree
to in order for them to peform the act of copying or transmitting the
software for you) is written as a part of the End User License Agreement.

It's perfectly legal for a company to put something like:

Download Agreement

1. For us to send you this software you must be at least XX years of age.
2. You must pay us $XXX first.

However, it's not legal for them to include such wording in an end user
license agreement that purports to apply to the software and not the service
of copying, unless they have permission from the copyright holder. The
wording in section F of their license agreement makes it pretty clear that
that Corel intends their EULA terms to apply in addition to (or together
with) the terms of the other licenses: "This Agreement, __together__ with
the GPL and other license agreements which are referred to in paragraph A,
is the entire agreement regarding your use of Corel LINUX, superseding any
other agreement or discussions, oral or written, and may not be changed
except by a signed agreement."

Also, section E. Distribution places export restrictions by license that did
not previously exist. Such additional terms would allow Corel grounds for a
civil lawsuit in addition to the criminal penalties one might face for
exporting software in violation of export laws. It modifys the licensing
terms on software that Corel does not have the authority to modify licensing
terms on.

Corel needs to make it clear that portions of Corel Linux that are covered
by licenses (Like the GNU GPL) that do not allow licensees to modify the
license are covered under the original license only - and that the Corel
Linux EULA, or other Corel license terms do not apply. Otherwise, they've
created a serious financial and legal risk for themselves.

If the RIAA has shown us anything, it's that one "please stop helping Corel
violate copyright law" letter sent to their CD pressing plant on a well
known lawfirm's letterhead will probably stop the release in its tracks.
Then imagine the potential shareholder lawsuits against Corel for not
excercising due-diligence in preventing the losses incurred by the delayed
release, wasted CD's and other materials, and civil suits by copyright
holders because they failed to listen to the copyright holders when they
complained about the incorrect license in the first place...

I'm sure it'll be fixed soon.

Brian Ristuccia

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