[Spi-private] IRC log from 2003-02-04 SPI Board meeting

Cardenas mbc at debian.org
Fri Feb 28 15:37:45 UTC 2003

On Fri, Feb 28, 2003 at 12:56:37PM +0100, Sven Luther wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 28, 2003 at 12:30:24PM +0100, Michael Banck wrote:
> > On Wed, Feb 26, 2003 at 10:02:06AM +0100, Sven Luther wrote:
> > > > Fair enough. But on the other hand, I guess SPI has to decide whether
> > > > *it* wants to take up any risks and stand up for whatever code it
> > > > accepted. What happens if some company decides they have a patent on
> > > > something and tries to sue us into oblivion?
> > > 
> > > We say we didn't know and remove the code ?
> > 
> > Well, we can do that once or twice. But assume that the threat is really
> > questionable (like, a trivial patent or a so-called DMCA-violation) but
> We have to take care about not letting patent or DMCA violations we know
> about in, or something such, or move these to free repositories outside
> the US or whatever. If we act in good faith, and respond aprprietely to
> a cease-and-desist move or whatever, there is nothing that whoever is
> going to sue us can do. After all, we are no patent lawyers.

I have to say that I think this is bullshit. The DMCA has been used to
enforce people not to print such things as sale prices the day before
a sale. Its clear that the DMCA is so vague as to be almost impossible
for your average non lawyer human to determine what falls under it and
what doesn't. 

Furthermore, SPI is one of the few organizations that has the
intellectual capability and the ethical awareness to stand up to such
a law, and few other organizations do. If we submit quietly to every
DMCA request for removal of code, then the DMCA just becomes stronger
and we lose the chance that it will be repealed. 

Lastly, if we are threatened by some MagaCorp(TM) with being sued into
oblivion over a DMCA violation, I'm sure that the EFF and the ACLU
will be happy to help us fight that battle, just as I'm sure we would
get lotsof donations to our legal battle. Hell, if the slashdot crowd
will donate to save dimitri, I'm sure they'll donate to save debian. 


michael cardenas       | lead software engineer, lindows.com
hyperpoem.net          | GNU/Linux software developer
people.debian.org/~mbc | encrypted email preferred

"Are you seeking to know what is wrong with the world? All the
disasters that have wrecked your world, came from your leaders'
attempt to avoid the fact that A is A."
- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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