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CompSci.ca

Legal status update

Pavig Lok’s “Intellectual Property Garden”
Original image by Pavig Lok

After having been served a legal notice by LanSchool, the matter has since been resolved; rather quickly at that.

I would like to personally thank Greg Wilson and Jon Erickson for helping us greatly with this issue; and I’d like to extend this thanks to Anthony Aziz, David Crow, Gianni Chiappetta, and everybody else who helped out, gave advice, or simply offered support. You guys are great!

Since we posted the original legal notice that we received, it’s only fair to continue the process of openness and transparency.

Here’s a copy of our response to LanSchool. PDF, 36 KB

Computer Science Canada (“CompSci.ca”) and myself have always respected the intellectual property of others and taken steps to remove any content we believe to be in violation of Canada’s intellectual property laws. However, we also respect Fair Dealings and freedom of speech and will not remove content from our site when we believe it is not infringing or is covered under fair use, which I believe to be the case in this incident. As such, we are not prepared to censor the review, author’s opinions, or comments. Nor are we prepared to destroy the intellectual property of the author, in the form of the proof-of-concept source code and the compiled application “LanSchooled”.

Emphasis added.

Lawyers were dropped and this kicked off an email discussion, which is now posted on the wiki page that sparked this ordeal. The issue was quickly resolved, and both sides reconciled.

take notes
Image cropped from: kishimoto

I’ve also learned a few things from this experience.

  1. This community rocks! Seriously.
  2. Legal letters mean someone is angry enough with you to spend money on a lawyer. It’s not yet a reason to panic, but take caution. Which leads me into the next point:
  3. A serious letter calls for a serious response. I get this feeling that LanSchool might not have completely intended what was said in the letter, and that some of the “standard issue” legal scare tactics simply slipped in pass the review. Though accountability goes both ways, so one should be prepared to take responsibility if their legal construct is not sound.

EFF coder’s rights logo

A number of useful resources came up during the research of the situation. So if anyone else is getting in trouble over similar issues, take note.

  • onlinerights.ca — “Online Rights Canada (ORC) is a grassroots organization that promotes the public’s interest in technology and information policy.”
  • eff.org — “EFF is the leading civil liberties group defending your rights in the digital world.”
  • and an exceptionally specific

  • EFF’s coders’ rights project — “protects programmers and developers engaged in cutting-edge exploration of technology in our world.”

And as promised, since this issue did not escalate to a lawyer wielding fight, we’ve given the received donations, all $18.22 of them, to EFF.

donations redirected to EFF

Read more

Discussion

  1. Posted by Gianni Chiappetta | August 19, 2008, 8:07 pm

    I’m glad everything worked out for the best in the end.

    Reply to comment

  2. Posted by Adam | August 19, 2008, 10:22 pm

    Aye, glad everything worked out.

    Reply to comment

  3. Posted by azman hashim | August 19, 2008, 11:31 pm

    I am satisfied everything worked best in the end. Yes, everything worked out happy.

    Reply to comment

  4. Posted by Keith Casey | August 20, 2008, 6:36 am

    Tony & Crew,

    Good for you for standing your ground! Many people – especially student-age people – would run and hide from a letter like that… or fly off the handle and say/do something stupid.

    You guys should be proud of how you handled yourselves.

    Reply to comment

  5. Posted by Aziz | August 20, 2008, 8:46 am

    CompSci.ca members certainly aren’t part of the “many people” for most aspects of our lives. I’m glad I could help, Tony, and I’d do it again. This community has helped me countless times throughout school, work, and just boredom.

    Reply to comment

  6. Posted by Humanalog | August 22, 2008, 6:17 pm

    Awesome-sauce!
    Congrats on handling the issue in an understanding and capable manner!

    Reply to comment

  7. Posted by koishii | October 23, 2008, 9:10 am

    WHAT THE F*#k HOW IS IT THAT WHEN OUR FRIENDS FROM COMPSCI ARE ABOUT TO UNDERGO HARDCORE LEGAL TROUBLES (even though they didnt) WE WHO CAN STAND HERE AND READ INTO THE FORUMS THEY PUT OUT FOR ADVICE… WE WHO CAN READ AND RESPOND TO WHAT THE TEAM PUTS THERE LIVES INTO AND STILL ONLY GIVE 18 F*#K@N 22!!!!!! HOW CAN WE ITS SICKENING I MYSELF AM A NEW READER, NOT AROUND WHEN THIS WAS GOING ON AND I SURE AS HELL DONT HAVE MUCH BUT HAD I BEEN THERE IN THERE TIME OF NEED I CAN SAY THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A HELL OF A LOT MORE THAT I WOULD HAVE SENT… it makes me sad that the “devoted fans” who read constantly wouldnt fight more for something that the world needs, the sheer honesty that compsci puts out in every one of there blogs. i hope your all ashamed of yourselfs.

    Reply to comment

    Tony replied on: October 24th, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    wow, that is at least a bit of an over-reaction.

    Things have never gotten to the “hardcore legal” level. I think we kind of freaked out when it first came to light, but looking back at it all, it doesn’t seem that bad.

    Either way, I’m glad there are people that are this much into the community ;)

    Reply to comment

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