Ninti Systems office at ninti.com.au
Wed Jul 14 13:49:01 UTC 2004

I'm no lawyer so I can't answer most of those questions, but my two
cents is:

- IF there was illegal IP in a given software product there is far more
likelihood of it being discovered/removed/replaced before anyone got
hurt in an open source scenario than any other.

- the vast majority of software-related IP litigation in the world
involves closed source software. Apart from the SCO scam (long time
since I last heard anything about that, come to think of it), OSS has
generally been remarkably litigation free ... so maybe where there is no
smoke there is no fire?


On Wed, 2004-07-14 at 14:30, David Ruwoldt wrote:
> Dear All,
> Con Zymaris wrote:
> > 
> > One key advantage that free and open source licences bestow on
> > all computer software users is that they are totally free to use and
> > install that software in whatever manner and in whatever volume they
> > desire.
> > 
> > This means that users of open source software are far less likely to
> > unwittingly, or otherwise, infringe on copyright or licensing terms. It
> > also means that mere administrative error in auditing will not expose an
> > organisation to liability. 
> > 
> What happens when IP is found in some open source software that was not 
> legally distributed?
> Who indemnifies the customer running the illegal software?
> I know SCO was a case in point where this happened and they did not seem 
>   to have a good case, but what happens when some company does have a 
> good case?
> As open source companies such as RedHat and others try to sell support 
> services will that inlcude indemnification against illegal IP in products?
> Who will be held responsible for such legal breaches:
> - The application developer in the backyard (No real money to go after), 
> - The distro company (If selling services may have real money but are 
> they responsible),
> - The end user who installed and uses the software (Could have 
> considerable money to make a grab at)
> - All of the above ?
> Yours sincerely
> David Ruwoldt
Ninti Systems: Smart IT Solutions
Michael Hall
Mobile: 0429 095 392
Ph/Fax: 08 8953 1442       
Email:  office at ninti dot com dot au
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