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TOPIC:

Business Software Alliance perjures itself about "pirated software"

11
TechnophobePerson was signed in when posted
03-03-2003
07:58 PM ET (US)
Yes, I understand what you're saying about private concerns versus government agencies, Random. I was just trying to highlight what has become a pervasive mindset, with the government leading the way.
10
nedrichardsPerson was signed in when posted
03-02-2003
06:31 PM ET (US)
As a project lead at OpenOffice.org I can perhaps answer a few questions. Yes we think its cool that the BSA believe we're completely compatible with MS Office. :-)

Secondly, from our end any legal thing would be turned over the the main sponsors of the project: Sun. They have the resources to do something about it if they wish and the right under the JCA (Joint Copyright Agreement) that every code comitter has signed.

We're obviously worried that this might harass our mirrors, our most important means of distribution. Wuithout their time, effort and bandwidth there's no way we'd have distributed over 10 million copies of OOo since the start of the project two years ago (most of them in the last 9 months). We haven't yet heard of any further reports of this occuring, obviously we'd treat them with the utmost seriousness.

I'll be checking back in here a if you want to ask any more questions. I think a PR victory is much cooler anyway.
9
whitPerson was signed in when posted
03-02-2003
05:45 PM ET (US)
Unlikely that perjury, harrassment, or libel will stick in this case. That's the point behind the automatic letter referencing a "good faith belief" that there were nefarious doings afoot.

The purpose of that language is to make "did infringement actually occur" as an issue largely irrelevant, and replace it with "was there some moderately convincing (to a judge) reason for the BSA to think that infringement *might* be occurring." Yes, that's kind of stupid, but often the way such things work.

Also, as a note to those asking why the BSA has any authority: there's a "fact sheet" on the BSA site that addresses that question, among others. Basically, member companies give the BSA power of attorney under copyright laws.
8
DaveWPerson was signed in when posted
03-02-2003
04:43 PM ET (US)
I wonder if outfits like FSF and EFF take an ambulance chaser role in cases like this and show, for example, the University that they might have a good case against a deep-pockets client? Seems like it would be a fine approach to battling the IP fascists. Damn I'd love to see the U sue the BSA's sorry ass.

On edit: I don't quite see where perjury comes in here, tho. Seems more like harrassment and libel. I think the UK has much tougher libel laws than the US, no?
Edited 03-02-2003 04:45 PM
7
RandomPerson was signed in when posted
03-02-2003
03:41 PM ET (US)
But of course this abuse is being performed by private corporations not government agencies.

Suing private corporations for malfeasance is in the realm of possibility, government agencies, not so much.
6
TechnophobePerson was signed in when posted
03-02-2003
02:15 PM ET (US)
Not really much different from the guilty until proven innocent tactics US Immigration Service and other government agencies are increasingly employing against both citizens and non-citizens. How many times have we heard about overzealous DEA or ATF or FBI agents raiding the wrong house, terrorizing the occupants, and then saying sorry, wrong address? Send the bill to the treasury department.
5
Cory DoctorowPerson was signed in when posted
03-02-2003
01:51 PM ET (US)
Theoretically, there is a cause of action. This is perjury. I'd love to hear about good US cases of this. I have a feeling that in the majority of cases, the ISP just takes it down and terminates the customer "for any reason" according to its shitty terms of service.
4
RandomPerson was signed in when posted
03-02-2003
01:47 PM ET (US)
So when they screw up and send one of these notices "under penalty of perjury" to someone who's done nothing wrong, what's the penalty?

Can the recipient actually do anything or would it be up to the (overburdened) district attorney's offices?

If one could sue for receiving a false perjury notice, I expect the issuers would be a "lot" more careful about sending out these "form affidavits".
3
Cory DoctorowPerson was signed in when posted
03-02-2003
01:13 PM ET (US)
Takedown notices are affadavits under the DMCA and related laws, on pnealty of perjury, and must be honored for ISPs to get the "Safe Harbor" protection from liability for their users' actions.
2
princepoopiePerson was signed in when posted
03-02-2003
01:08 PM ET (US)
Will someone explain to me how the BSA has any power whatsoever? They are a coalition of businesses acting as "vigilantes" (I don't necessarily mean that in a perjorative sense), not a state or federal government agency, correct? I'm honestly curious, as I've known a few businesses who had the BSA come knocking on their door, and I wondered why they weren't simply told to go away.
1
Howard WenPerson was signed in when posted
03-02-2003
12:25 PM ET (US)
Good publicity for OpenOffice at least.

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