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Re: Corel Lawsuit



In article <19991128023629.C24414@pie.cty-alum.org>,
Seth David Schoen  <schoen@loyalty.org> wrote:
>I would again urge everyone to consider careful the difference between
>
>- Things That Annoy You About Corel
>- Mistakes That Corel Made
>- Things That You Can Sue Corel Over
>
>Again, these are not at all the same.
>
>It seems that the problems with the Corel EULA are being used as an occasion
>for flaming Corel, questioning Corel's motives, impugning the competence of
>Corel's programmers... oh, and, of course, threatening to sue Corel.

All 3 items are important for consideration. The past behaviour and
related items do indicate a number of relevant items including whether
or not they are sincere, whether or not they take comments for granted
and just ignore it, whether or not they're interested in a working
relationship and so on.

It's not just a simple matter of whether or not they should be sued,
rather, it should be a case of where should things stand between the two
parties invovled and how should future relationships be defined. 

>Corel has good programmers, and they have done good things for free software.
>They've also made some fairly serious mistakes.  Some people might attribute

Consider this: they consistently make mistakes wrt licensing. How do you
perceive this? Clearly it seems that Bruce has been trying to show them
how things should be done and yet they completely fail to listen. What
does this tell you about their willingness to learn? What does this tell
you about their level on sincerity? 

>this to the attitude of the company as a whole, and others might suspect it
>is an artifact of the company's decision-making processes and communication

I hate to say this but if you want to put things in that perspective,
then I can argue that M$ is treated too harshly but I've got better
things to do with my time so I'll stop here.

>problems.  (It's not always easy to explain the free software world to
>lawyers; I've heard the story of a lawyer who, on being shown a planned free
>software release, expressed grave concern at the serious loophole in the
>license that would allow _anybody_ -- _anybody_! -- to use and copy the
>code.)

Consider this, there are at least n person(s) where n >= 1 (developers)
in there who have a clue about GPL and such. If they are sincere about
doing things right, then why don't they consult them? Of what I've
observed and from what I hear of and know of, they seem to muffle most if
not all useful suggestions.

>I don't mean to suggest any enthusiasm for the present EULA, or some of
>Corel's previous licensing problems; it bugs me, too, and, at the best,
>Corel deserves some criticism.  (Perhaps they are getting a little more
>than "some".)

The thing is, will "some criticism" have any impact? Will they listen?
What if you need to work on common grounds in order for the legal types
or whoever to understand? Whereby common grounds for legal types would
involve legal action of course.

>If you don't think you can work with Corel because of these problems, don't
>work with Corel.  This is a fairly straightforward solution.  With your
>code under the GPL, Corel would be free to use it on the same terms as
>anyone else, and I suspect that they would keep contributing various work
>to the community.
>
>If you see an important opportunity to clear up a misconception or an
>ambiguous statement, and you see Corel as a colleague, as a helpful partner,
>or even as an annoying rival or untrustworthy parasite, by all means, clear
>it up.

That's if you can. We're not dealing in a ballpark where all parties
will act rationally.

>If you want to keep credibility for Debian, the free software community,
>and the idea of collaborative development, don't confuse behaviors that
>annoy you or that you regret with behaviors that are illegal.
>
>This is a test.  Some day there will be even bigger companies with even
>more investment in free software (no offense intended, Corel).  Some of
>those companies will have multi-million-dollar law firms (or bigger) with
>lots of really experienced intellectual property lawyers, some of whom may
>feel that free software is ridiculous and that most of our public licenses
>are invalid.  Think you can keep those firms there, contributing real free
>software under real free software licenses, and resolving your differences
>and misunderstanding without litigation, even if you personally don't like
>or don't trust those companies?
>
>If you see a deliberate and malicious GPL violation, you warn the violator,
>you verify, with close reading and then with the advice of a lawyer or two,
>that the GPL is really being violated, and the problem doesn't get fixed,
>then, by all means, bring a lawsuit.  But I don't think that most people
>have even begun that process.

Plus it also sets an important precedence. Future companies can perceive
this as an example of how much they can bend the rules in their favour.
They might see this as an "all talk and no action" scenario - they
simply won't take things seriously anymore.

Amy Fong
-- 
"We Suzaku Seishi aren't smart enough to give up!!!"  Tasuki (Fushigi Yuugi)

              Amy Fong (afong@furryterror.org)


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