Re: OHS Lists & "permission to use" (was re: On working...)

From: Paul Fernhout (
Date: Tue Aug 29 2000 - 12:20:53 PDT


Sounds good -- certainly doing either would be a start. It is an
unfortunate situation to require any time to be spent on it.

Of course, Stanford may have differing opinions on interpretation from a
third part or a lawyer for the Bootstrap Alliance, and their opinion
matters as they are named in "Permission to Use" as one of the
indemnified parties. For me the issue will probably remain open until
there are two official statements -- one from Bootstrap and one from
Stanford. Obviously if an independent lawyer comes back with some
definitive case law that restricts the scope and liability of such an
agreement despite its actual wording, I might be persuaded that
Stanford's opinion might not matter as much.

Note that "Permission to Use" is to some extent an independent issue
from the license planned for redistribution -- so Steve Weiner may not
have reviewed that during license discussions and it may be a new issue.
This is sort of like how an employment agreement with a company
(analagous to "permission to use") is different than the agreement a
company uses with its customers (the "EULA").

My biggest concern regarding the liability aspect is the issue of
inadvertent infringement of (valid or invalid) software patents in this
soon to be hotly contested area of knowledge management.

-Paul Fernhout
Kurtz-Fernhout Software
Developers of custom software and educational simulations
Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator

P.S. Inspired by your .sig -- here is a Slashdot article on overcoming
"Programmer's Block" (I don't think alcohol was mentioned much) :-)

Eugene Eric Kim wrote:
> Paul,
> While I personally think you're being unrealistically paranoid, I do
> respect your concerns (if my seemingly paradoxical claim makes sense to
> anyone :-). Bootstrap Institute does not retain a lawyer, but Bootstrap
> Alliance does contract out with an organization that provides legal
> services for non-profits. I can contact these folks to see if they can
> write a statement on this issue. If not, I can also approach Steve
> Weiner, SRI's IP lawyer, to see if he could take a look at the license and
> make a statement for us. Steve participated in the license discussion for
> this project, and struck me as a knowledgable and a good guy. Would
> either of these be satisfactory for you? If not, let me know what will,
> and I'll see what I can do.
> -Eugene
> --
> +=== Eugene Eric Kim ===== ===== ===+
> | "Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they |
> +===== can have an excuse to drink alcohol." --Steve Martin ===========+

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