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Gray areas in software licensing

Gray areas in software licensing

Posted Feb 18, 2012 1:36 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954)
Parent article: Gray areas in software licensing

It always irritates me when lawyers say "maybe." Not because they're wrong, but because they're not doing their job. I used to sit in city council meetings where week after week council members would ask the city attorney whether they could do something and the city attorney always said "maybe." It irritated me not because I thought there was really a clear yes or no answer, but because the city was wasting it's money on this guy. Anyone could have sat in his chair and said, "maybe."

Sometimes, an attorney has to bite the bullet and give advice.

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Gray areas in software licensing

Posted Feb 18, 2012 15:55 UTC (Sat) by dwmw2 (subscriber, #2063) [Link]

  • What's the acid test of whether a lawyer is correct?
    A court ruling.
  • How many (teams of) lawyers are there normally in a court case?
  • How many (teams of) lawyers win each time?
  • How many (teams of) lawyers lose each time?
  • What is the overall success rate, therefore, of the legal profession when their opinions are actually put to the test?
... and you wonder why they say "maybe"? ☺

Gray areas in software licensing

Posted Feb 18, 2012 21:41 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

That's interesting math, but you left out an important statistic: how many times that an attorney is asked what the law is does the question end up in court? It has to be less than one in a thousand. It doesn't end up in court because substantially all lawyers agree on the answer -- even the ones who for reasons of advocacy say that they don't.

Many lawyers say "maybe" when the they believe the chance of all substantially all lawyers agreeing yes or no is less than (my guess) about 95% - way more than 50%.

Gray areas in software licensing

Posted Feb 20, 2012 3:02 UTC (Mon) by ghane (subscriber, #1805) [Link]

I have worked (in corporate cases) with legal counsel from large firms. The best we can get is between:
  • It would be hard to defend this in proceedings
  • I would be surprised if we even had to defend this
I have seen enough written arguments which start a paragraph with: "It is settled law ...", and then seen next week the defendants reply which shows it isn't settled at all, in fact this is one of the greatest constitutional issues of all time.

I have sympathy for lawyers who get blamed for dragging cases into appeal. In my experience, it is usually the clients who see this as a matter of principle. Lawyers tend to point out: Although anything is possible, I do not see our chances of prevailing as significant. However, if you will instruct so, I will file the appeal.

The law is what a Judge says it is. Even if he is an idiot, or drunk, or corrupt, you can appeal, but it is still only a Judge who decides what the law is.

There is no certainty in litigation. No more than there is in boxing (another arena where 50% of participants lose (and after the obligatory swagger)).

Gray areas in software licensing

Posted Feb 27, 2012 17:35 UTC (Mon) by nye (guest, #51576) [Link]

>How many (teams of) lawyers win each time?

Hmm. My interpretation would be that, no matter the outcome, the lawyers always win.

Gray areas in software licensing

Posted Mar 1, 2012 13:20 UTC (Thu) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Obviously we need the Gowachin courtarena: everyone is at risk. (However, you might want to exempt the jury from this, since they are randomly selected.)

Gray areas in software licensing

Posted Feb 27, 2012 21:56 UTC (Mon) by dark (guest, #8483) [Link]

Your stats are off because you didn't consider that the side with the most lawyers wins. So it's more than 50%.

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