Re: Why is choice of venue non-free ?
Matthew Garrett wrote:
Steve Langasek <firstname.lastname@example.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.
If a large US corporation violates your copyright, you can choose where to
file your claim. You can sue in any jurisdiction where the injury is done,
and where the party has a presence. There are very few large US corporations
that do not have a presence in the UK.
The first thing you might have to do in such a lawsuit could be to prove that
the UK is an appropriate place to sue them, but that would be the case anywhere.
On the other hand, if you have a choice of venue clause in your license, then
the first thing you might have to do in such a lawsuit could be to prove that
the large US corporation is bound by the license to have accepted the choice
of venue. If I were a large corporate lawyer (or any type of lawyer) the
first thing I'd do with such a suit is try to confuse where it should be
filed: the COV clause assumes a valid license, we don't agree that the license
is valid, so why are we bound by the COV?