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Re: Debian Legal summary of the X-Oz License

On Sun, Mar 07, 2004 at 07:57:38PM -0500, selussos wrote:
> All of you have stated, endlessly, that you are not lawyers, and that is 
> obviously the case since many of your questions deal with 'fair use' 
> under the U.S. Copyright law.  I would ask that you familiarize with that
> definition and you will find that answers most, if not all, of your 
> questions.

Fair use is an affirmative defense to infringement that can only be
raised in court after one has been sued.  But don't just take my word
for it:

  Fair use must be pleaded as affirmative defense which means that a
  defendant accused of copyright violation bears the burden of proving
  in court that his copying was fair use, and therefore not
  infringement. A defendant may use a work claiming fair use, it is up
  to the copyright owner to bring the suit to obtain an injunction to
  prevent its use and/or to claim damages for a use that has already

  For this reason, some publishers frequently make claims of copyright
  infringement over uses that are most likely covered as fair use,
  hoping that the user will refrain from the use rather than spending
  resources in his defense. As well, publishers using other copyrighted
  materials may seek permission to use material that might fall under
  fair use; paying a royalty fee may be much less expensive than having
  a potential copyright infringement injunction stop the publication of
  a completed work in which a publisher has invested significant

Due to the common practice of overreaching prohibitions by copyright
holders on fair-use activity, it is must be the responsibility of a
copyright holder in "Free" or "Open Source" to make clear and
unambiguous the license terms extended to the general public.

It is particularly important that copyright holders who write their own
licenses do so, since it is reasonable for the public to believe that if
any existing copyright license achieved the specific ends the copyright
holder desired, an existing license would have been used.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

G. Branden Robinson                |      We either learn from history or,
Debian GNU/Linux                   |      uh, well, something bad will
branden@debian.org                 |      happen.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |      -- Bob Church

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