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Re: Adobe open source license -- is this licence free?

On Fri, 27 Jan 2006, Jeremy Hankins wrote:
> Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> writes:
> > The difference in cost to Adobe between bringing harrassment suits
> > against 200 mirror operators separately in their respective
> > jurisdictions, and bringing one suit against all two hundred in
> > Adobe's home jurisdiction is *also* not negligible.
> Adobe is as capable of using harassing lawsuits to get their way
> without this clause as they are with it. So far, I haven't seen any
> arguments against this claim.

The difference is that users of the software are forced to put
themselves into a position that is worse[1] than the one they started
with by virtue of using the software which is under this license.

> But less-than-ideal licenses have been considered free before, and I
> think this case should be the same.

There are two separate arguments being made here:

   1. Non-defensive venue clauses are not DFSG Free.

   2. Non-defensive venue clauses are not something that a license in
      Debian should have even if they are DFSG Free.

The ideality of a license doesn't really enter into it one way or another.

> > Frankly, I find it amazing that even when such clauses are
> > advanced by a corporation like Adobe, who has been a veritable
> > *poster child* for corporate hostility to Free Software and the
> > concept of a liberal IP regime, there are still people who don't
> > get that this additional exposure is a loaded gun.
> Except it's not a loaded gun. The added exposure is the difference
> between practically infinite and practically infinite plus a large
> number. I.e., practically nothing.

The difference is that in the no-venue clause case, you can generally
argue from a position of lack of standing because the entity filing
the suit can bring it in a locality that is in common. In the other
case you first have to void the venue before you even get started.
> My question is: is the risk of lawsuit harassment significantly
> greater due to the presence of a choice of venue clause? I think the
> answer is no.

Unfortunatly, that's not the question we're trying to address here.
Try instead: "Is the risk of having a harassment lawsuit that you
can't get instantly dismmed on the grounds of lack of standing greater
due to the presence of a choice of venue clause?"

Don Armstrong

1: I'm going to totally bypass the argument that venue clauses are
often overridden, because that's a venue and circumstance dependant
discussion. In the best case this clause becomes a no-op.
If you have the slightest bit of intellectual integrity you cannot
support the government. -- anonymous

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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