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Re: Why is choice of venue non-free ?

Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> wrote:

> For this reason, Debian should reject choice of venue clauses as non-free.
> At best, they give an underdog copyright holder a small advantage while
> enforcing his rights, but at worst they give a hostile copyright holder a
> large advantage while persecuting the Free Software community.

I'm not convinced that the advantage to the copyright holder is small.
If a large US corporation violates my copyright license, I'm likely to
stand a significantly better chance if I can sue them in the UK. To some
extent, I think it comes down to intent - if people are introducing
these clauses with the desire to restrict people's behaviour above and
beyond the terms of the license, then that's non-free. If they're doing
it in order to make it easier to enforce the terms of the license, then
I think the situation is less clear.

Personally, I'd be tempted to lean towards a situation similar to how we
deal with patents - if a copyright holder shows any inclination to enage
in frivolous lawsuits, then we don't ship it. If they're not so
inclined, it's probably not an issue.

Matthew Garrett | mjg59-chiark.mail.debian.legal@srcf.ucam.org

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