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From Kay Schenk <>
Subject Re: Terms of Service on Forums
Date Mon, 16 Jul 2012 17:13:20 GMT
On Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 4:49 AM, Rob Weir <> wrote:

> On Sun, Jul 15, 2012 at 11:26 PM, Dennis E. Hamilton
> <> wrote:
> > I am not the one to answer that question.
> >
> > It is a policy matter for the ASF and, I presume, a determination that
> also involves legal@ a.o.
> >
> My point is that since other ASF and project sites do not have a ToU
> statement on them, then it is not necessary to have one to conform to
> ASF policies.

> > I don't have a ToU on my web sites, though many of the pages have
> Creative Commons 2.0 notices.  I require commenters to be registered to
> comment on my blogs, but I don't know there is a ToU that goes with any of
> those, although there might have been when Google Blogger was the
> publishing service.
> >
> > But my needs (and responsibilities) are quite different than the those
> of the ASF in fulfilling its public-interest operation and how it respects
> the work of others.
> >
> Again, we don't see ToU on ASF sites.
> > I think it matters that the great majority of content that is already
> there was already published under terms of use.  There are legacy terms to
> deal with in now that material is dealt with and in how visitors can regard
> it without knowing when such material was contributed.
> >
> Actually, the specific example Kay brought up was our incubator site
> at  None of that had legacy
> terms.  It is all new stuff.  So why do we need ToU there?

The existing ToU at

was created by Dave Fisher and last modified by Rob before I made a few
changes yesterday.

I haven't looked at Dennis's changes yet but I think from what he's said
here they make sense.

The ToU on the "project" site is basically a re-working by Dave ( I presume
since he was the creator of this page based on what I assume was a request
by all at the time) of what is now on

In fact, much of what is in the project "Terms of Use" page is pretty much
what Dennis had suggested in his revisions attache to the older issue he

Why I like having a ToU --

* it simplifies what the legalities are with respect to the web site. I
think the wording could be changed to extend to ALL of the services we
currently provide now -- web site(s), forums, wiki

* it puts in ONE place what the legal aspects are of using/modifying what
we provide

Usage and donation terms are much simpler -- probably more in line with
what most people would expect.

* there is NO mention of ALv2 for content in:

which makes good sense to me

* the ToU needs some modification with respect to the source code area
where, yes, Alv2, would definitely apply

I think there does need to be clarification between the "host" being ASF vs
AOO-PPMC. I take "host" to be a hosting entity which I would think would be

If we don't create a ToU like this to cover the web site(s), the forums and
wiki(s), I do think, based on questions we've already gotten, we need to
state something about content use and modification.

> I think it matters that there are requests for permission to reuse
materials on the site and it is not clear what standing the PPMC has to
approve (or decline) such requests.

We *never* have standing to approve requests to reuse content.  We
> (the project) do not own content.  In most cases neither does the ASF.
>  The most we can do is point users to an existing license.

OK, but what IS that license? That is the question/problem.

We don't seem to be able to find this or agree on it.

> -Rob
> >  - Dennis
> >
> > PS: has a copyright notice, a license notice (and
> link), and trademark notice.  There is no notice of any kind in the <head>
> element of the HTML. The situation with the domains and
> their content is not so simple.
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Rob Weir []
> > Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 18:55
> > To:
> > Subject: Re: Terms of Service on Forums
> >
> > On Sun, Jul 15, 2012 at 9:45 PM, Dennis E. Hamilton
> > <> wrote:
> >> Um, yes, it definitely is the ASF that should be standing behind the
> ToU.  They're the only legal entity.
> >>
> >> Of CollabNet ToU, I know not.  The terms.mdtext that Kay found are very
> much the ToU of the original site, with someone's
> tweaking.  So Oracle used them.
> >>
> >> I think removing legalese is fine, until it become bad legalese.
> >>
> >> What more would you remove?
> >>
> >
> > A thought experiment:  what if we removed 100%?  In other words, had
> > no ToU on the website.  Would anything bad happen?  What would the
> > risk be?  I don't see a ToU on, or in a spot check of
> > several high profile Apache projects.   Do we have some special risk
> > that they do not have that requires us to put additional legalese on
> > every website page?  Are they helping their users less than we are
> > ours?  How?
> >
> >>  - Dennis
> >>
> >> PS: I notice there needs to be some improvement in what the terms apply
> to.  The found one did not mention forums.  I think it should be about the
> domain and its subdomains.
> is a different game.
> >>
> >
> > If we do decide to go with ToU, one option would be to have a set of
> > "common terms" and then a list of additional terms which apply to only
> > particular services.  But personally, I'd toss it all out except
> > necessary notices for things like privacy and trademark.   We're not a
> > multi-billion dollar corporation and we don't need to armor our
> > website with legal terms like we are one.
> >
> > -Rob
> >
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: Rob Weir []
> >> Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 17:44
> >> To:
> >> Subject: Re: Terms of Service on Forums
> >>
> >> On Sun, Jul 15, 2012 at 8:11 PM, Dennis E. Hamilton
> >> <> wrote:
> >>> @Kay
> >>>
> >>> Well, just to prove to myself that I can make use of the ASF CMS
> Bookmarklet, I edited the terms.html page.  [I didn't trigger publication
> though, so you may have to find them in the staging place.]
> >>>
> >>> Here are the essential changes I made:
> >>>
> >>> I eliminated AOO-PPMC as the authority, since it isn't.  I used the
> Apache Software Foundation as the HOST.
> >>>
> >>
> >> If  we think the ASF is the authority, then they should determine the
> >> ToU, right?
> >>
> >> In any case, this looks like the old CollabNet ToU, doesn't it?  It
> >> looks like Dave checked in last August.  It will fit our needs as much
> >> as a stranger's shoes would fit me.
> >>
> >> In any case, my original suggestion still applies: Let's stop trying
> >> to hack the legalese of existing ToU written by and for other
> >> organizations, since none of are lawyers and we do not understand
> >> fully how the parts fit together.  Instead, let's state, in plain
> >> English, what we want to cover in the ToU and then go to legal-discuss
> >> for the wordsmithing.
> >>
> >> -Rob
> >>
> >> [ ... ]
> >>>
> >>
> >


"I would rather have a donkey that takes me there
 than a horse that will not fare."
                                          -- Portuguese proverb

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