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Re: Mozilla Public License is non-free: stipulates court venue ?

Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org> wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 08, 2004 at 10:30:09PM +0000, Jim Marhaus wrote:
> > | With respect to disputes in which at least one party is a citizen of, or an
> > | entity chartered or registered to do business in the United States of America,
> > | any litigation relating to this License shall be subject to the jurisdiction of
> > | the Federal Courts of the Northern District of California, with venue lying in
> > | Santa Clara County, California, with the losing party responsible for costs,
> > | including without limitation, court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees and
> > | expenses.
> Choice of venue aside, I question whether "if you sue me and lose, you pay me
> my costs" is free.  That might be a good policy for laws (or perhaps not; I'm
> not very informed of the legal theory behind that), but I'm not sure if it
> belongs in a free license.

The point of DFSG (I thought) is that you can do free software things
such as using, modifying, and redistributing the software.  This clause
doesn't interfere with that sort of thing, so it would seem to be okay.

Just to toss some fuel on the fire, it seems like debian-legal should
give careful consideration to licenses like this that are written by a
team of lawyers from a big corporation.  These licenses seem to
frequently include stipulations about how litigation may
happen--including choice of venue and who pays for it--and heck, maybe
it's just good legal hygiene to include these things.  I don't know the
answers, but it would be a shame if Debian ends up recommending people
to use *poor* licenses in order for us to consider them to be "free". 
This would be a good thing to ask an IP lawyer about if any debian-legal
people get a chance.


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