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From "Lawrence Rosen" <lro...@rosenlaw.com>
Subject RE: Corporate Contributions
Date Fri, 25 Mar 2005 20:24:13 GMT

I think you're raising the fear level way too high here. 

While I can also imagine hypothetical scenarios in which venal ASF folks are
locked in the stockade for criminal acts, that isn't likely either. I
suggest that we lawyers find ways to educate ASF contributors about their
potential obligations to their employers, educate employers about their duty
to supervise their own employees, advise everyone of the openness of our
code so they can "see for themselves," and otherwise disclaim ASF

If people still think a CCLA is useful in that environment, fine. Collect
those forms as best we can under expectations of honesty by our

If, after all that, some court somewhere finds us liable for past copyright
damages or contributory infringement, we'll just appeal. There's a new pro
bono open source law firm on the East coast we can turn to for help if
necessary. But that's pretty damned unlikely given ASF's heartfelt good
faith efforts to educate our world about proper code provenance.


Lawrence Rosen
Rosenlaw & Einschlag, technology law offices (www.rosenlaw.com)
3001 King Ranch Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
707-485-1242  ●  fax: 707-485-1243
Author of “Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom 
               and Intellectual Property Law” (Prentice Hall 2004)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim Barnett [mailto:jimb@bea.com]
> Sent: Friday, March 25, 2005 11:48 AM
> To: William A. Rowe, Jr.; Geir Magnusson Jr.
> Cc: legal-discuss@apache.org
> Subject: RE: Corporate Contributions
> <snip>
> >First, is the SCO problem - that someone will be able to come and shake
> them down after they have made a significant investment of
> infrastructure and development around the software we create and
> distribute.
> At which point we rip out all the offending code.  End of discussion
> on that point.  There is no means, even via a CCLA, to completely
> eliminate that risk.
> <snip>
> Ripping out the offending code mitigates new liability but may not
> eliminate the problem either.  Anyone licensing the offending code prior
> to the "rip out" date, still has a license from ASF purporting to allow
> it to continue to modify, distribute and use the offending code.  I
> suppose ASF could post some form of public announcement advising of the
> infringing nature of prior releases, but it is unclear to me whether
> that is enough to allow ASF to avoid "contributory infringement"
> liability for continued use by existing licensees.

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