Furthermore Threatening to sue Mambo users: The New SCO

Legal / News
Date: Sep 17, 2004 - 07:28 AM
"The following is an Open Letter from Furthermore, Inc. to the Open Source and Technology Community Regarding the Misappropriation of Intellectual Property:

If you are presently using the software application “Mambo OS” in any release post October 3, 2003, you and your organization are potentially exposed to CIVIL LITIGATION and possibly CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

Our company, Furthermore, Inc., owns the code that enables the appearance and management of the "Lead Story Block" in Mambo. This code was taken without our permission by a lead member of the Mambo Development Team and put into Mambo’s core program. Our copyright was then attributed to Miro International. Here we are reiterating our ownership of the Intellectual Property and issue a formal WARNING that we are preparing to file legal action against users of this application."

Do know that we've tried to resolve this cooperatively. However, the leadership of the Mambo Project is intractable in their misunderstanding in fact and law. They wrongly contend that since the code was put into the "General Public License" pool, it too must be GPL. Also, they wrongly contend that as our trade secrets have been variously modified, they are immune.

Bottom line: As express permission was never granted, their transfer of copyright ownership without express written authority is null and void. Also, the right to use any/all derivative works also was/is not granted as defined by law. Lastly, using a trade secret to gain unfair advantage is by definition against the law.

Anticipating that problems like these would be greatly amplified by the Internet, the US Congress recently and significantly strengthened the power of the law. As a result, the consequences of an infringement have never been more stringent. In addition to the punitive monetary damages that are being awarded in related civil suits, the law now makes these types of activities a federal crime.

In 1997, Congress passed the No Electronic Theft Act; and in 1996, it passed the Economic Espionage Act.

The NET Act makes copyright infringement a crime. It's a misdemeanor if it is done for commercial advantage or private financial gain, or by making or distributing one or more copies of copyrighted works that have a total retail value in excess of $1,000 within a 180-day period. It's a felony if it involves a minimum of ten copies of copyrighted works with a retail value of more than $2,500 within a period of six months. To date, NET Act related cases primarily involve pirates accused of illegally copying and distributing copyrighted computer software over the Internet. Sentencing under the NET include substantial fines and imprisonment of 3 to 10 years.

The EEA makes it a crime to steal (or misappropriate) trade secrets. The Act makes even the attempt or conspiracy to steal or misappropriate trade secrets a crime. The Act includes both direct and indirect theft of a trade secret, including its alteration or destruction. Individuals and organizations convicted of violating the EEA face severe penalties. Section 1832 of the Act covers theft of a trade secret "that is related to or included in a product," including both direct and indirect theft of a trade secret, including its alteration or destruction. A person convicted of violating Section 1832 faces a fine of up to $500,000 or a prison sentence of up to 10 years, or both, while any organization that commits any offense described in Section 1832 may be fined up to $5,000,000.

Lastly, we deeply regret that we have no choice but to seek remedy from the users of Mambo. Mambo has explicitly informed us that "the Mambo project can offer no further assistance in this matter. Mambo can not be party to any disputes between individuals or companies concerning the use of Mambo." Plainly, it’s you the user they've left holding the bag.


Brian Connolly
Furthermore, Inc."


This article comes from OSDir.com

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