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How not to handle a licensing violation

How not to handle a licensing violation

Posted Apr 11, 2007 21:05 UTC (Wed) by jengelh (subscriber, #33263)
In reply to: How not to handle a licensing violation by madscientist
Parent article: How not to handle a licensing violation

Since you can always go public later, I take the private approach first FWIW.


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How not to handle a licensing violation

Posted Apr 11, 2007 22:26 UTC (Wed) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

Well said. You lose nothing, and you can win a lot: for a start, the other side cannot blame you for "going public before telling them in private". Later you can publish the conversation if the other side is not receptive.

How not to handle a licensing violation

Posted Apr 11, 2007 22:49 UTC (Wed) by k8to (subscriber, #15413) [Link]

In the usual case you lose nothing. In the case where falsely labelled code is being actively distributed to the public, many people are exposed to risk for the period of the delay. This is a real problem.

How not to handle a licensing violation

Posted Apr 11, 2007 23:27 UTC (Wed) by MathFox (guest, #6104) [Link]

We are talking about copyright infringement here (removing authorship information from the source file, redistributing code without a license.) That is a crime. What makes the situation worse is the serious risk that innocent parties could be duped in infringing the same copyrights.

In any decently ran company including third party code and obfucating its source is a cause for termination. The liabilities of illegally redistributing code for a company are huge.

dealing with copyright infringement

Posted Apr 12, 2007 7:56 UTC (Thu) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

Come on, guys. Who can honestly think that one or two days will make any difference? Does Moglen's SFLC have the same urgency? I imagine they take their time while their private negotiations are in progress.

Besides, copyright infringement is only a crime if you sue the infringer. The goal of all this "handling licensing violations" is precisely to bring third parties into compliance without suing.

dealing with copyright infringement

Posted Apr 12, 2007 8:05 UTC (Thu) by k8to (subscriber, #15413) [Link]

Again, comparing this with typical GPL issues is not a good fit. Typical infringers are doing so in private and no harm comes of delay. Certainly when all you lose is a delay for the infringing party to come into compliance, the need for urgency is almost nonexistent.

dealing with copyright infringement

Posted Apr 12, 2007 11:46 UTC (Thu) by grouch (guest, #27289) [Link]

Pirates! Make the scum-bags walk the plank, keel haul the lot of 'em and then hang 'em from the yard arm! The world's economies will collapse if there is any delay in securing our most preciousss IP! Delay is death!

I have to agree with corbet, madscientist, man_ls, and others who advocate a quiet, private attempt at resolution first. I strongly suspect there would have been no appreciable delay in public notification of the problem, by the BSD developer himself, had he been contacted privately with the details of the problem.

dealing with copyright infringement

Posted Apr 12, 2007 16:54 UTC (Thu) by k8to (subscriber, #15413) [Link]

Your tone seems to be equating the public notification of a problem with a measure of punishment. If this is an accurate description of the the intent, it would certainly be a mistake. I see no such indication.

dealing with copyright infringement

Posted Apr 12, 2007 17:13 UTC (Thu) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

I would say "insult" rather than "punishment", but both are related. I have to be a bit verbose to explain it, please be patient with me.

Private notification can be as quick as public notification, if the receiving party reacts promptly to it. Now, an honest, conscious developer would surely react to the private notification with the same swiftness as if she had the public eye on her. Therefore, believing that a public notification can get a swifter response than a private one is equivalent to thinking that the receiving developer is not honest or conscious; or at least that you do not trust said developer to make the right thing on her own. It is natural to feel insulted by such a thought.

The punishment comes if you really think that the developer has done a bad thing, and it is implied by such loaded words as "falsely labelled", "crime", "duped", etc. Then you have to punish the guilty developer, and since you cannot trust someone who did a bad thing you have to go for a public beating.

If you believe the code misuse is the result of an honest mistake, and that it will be prompty resolved, you ought to be much more inclined to try a private notification first.

dealing with copyright infringement

Posted Apr 12, 2007 17:23 UTC (Thu) by k8to (subscriber, #15413) [Link]

For my part, "falsely labelled" was referring not to the action but the status of the code. That is, the code was in a barbed, dangerous state: that of being falsely labelled. The loading was to convey the danger, not any malfeasance.


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