Subject: Re: Gimp Copyright issues
From: Bob Young <bob@redhat.com>
Date: Mon, 06 Jul 1998 08:04:33 -0400

> 
> The first step to take is to have your *lawyer* send them a letter.
> This letter should demand that they immediately cease distribution of
> any code that violates your license.  Say what that code is, and
> require them to stop distribution immediately.  Having the letter come
> from your lawyer will make them take it more seriously.  It also
> eliminates their ability to plead ignorance.

Nope.  Unless you have lots of spare cash and like sending it to 
lawyers, hiring a lawyer should never be your "first" step.

In most cases disputes are resolved by civilized people discussing 
the problem.  It is only when a friendly resolution is not possible 
that you then, as a second or third step, should call your lawyer.
Documenting your correspondence, whether by phone, email, or fedex, 
with them is important. 

Unfortunately we tend to go to lawyers for advice as to what our 
"first step" should be and they are almost always able 
to find case law that demonstrates that cases have been weakened by 
lay-men trying to resolve disputes without legal advice.  But of 
course the successful outcomes of these friendly discussions do not 
make it into the case law records.

In many cases when people steal things they do so out of ignorance.
Or at least the ignorance of management which is effectively the same 
thing.
  
There is a case recently where a well known (but small) OS company 
was using free software in a proprietary way.  When they were 
confronted with this fact (without the involvement of lawyers), they 
were sufficiently embarrassed that they paid the author a large number 
of dollars to deliver a  version to them under a license that they 
could use for their purpose.  A larger number of dollars than they 
would have had to, had they contracted with him for the software 
beforehand.  
Since the author is allowed to copyright his work under any license 
he chooses he can also copyright it under multiple licenses.

Adrian,  if you want to follow-up with me privately by phone (use the 
number below), I'll point you at the fellow who was able to resolve 
his problem without a lawyer.  Who knows, like my friend did, you might be 
able to turn a pirate into a customer.  ;-)

Cheers,   Bob.





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