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Re: [school-discuss] Re: Disclaimer language for The Open CD


So this school district is afraid of:

"complaints that "that free stuff you gave me crashed my computer""

Yea like that "paid for" software never crashes a computer.  Yea right!!

Tell them to get a grip and get with the program and quit trying to protect 
their butts!!!

What are they going to do if someone comes to them with a problem, stick 
their head in the sand??  No, they're going to listen, provide guidance, 
educate, and help out as best they can and then move on.  Or at least they 
should do that.

Why do people get so wrapped up in protecting their butts and not just 
getting with the program.  For every couple of people you have pushing the 
ball up the hill you have a gagle of people not only standing in the way but 
pushing the ball down the hill.  You never win.

Lets see how many lawyers we can get writing this butt protecting BS.  Hey, 
tell them the limiting factor is there are only 300MB left available on the 
CD so tell them to KEEP IT SHORT!!!

Only the stong will survive... And Open Source is STRONG!!


---------- Original Message -----------
From: "Karsten M. Self" <kmself@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: Schoolforge Discussion <schoolforge-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tue, 5 Apr 2005 18:35:05 -0700
Subject: [school-discuss] Re: Disclaimer language for The Open CD

> on Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 09:50:28AM -0400, Aaron Tyo-Dickerson 
> (aaron@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx) wrote:
> > A local school district here in rural Upstate New York is interested in 
> > distributing copies of The Open CD to students and community members, 
> > but is concerned about "liability" issues. While I personally think that 
> > free, open-source software is a terrific thing and understand the 
> > implied "take it as it is" terms of the GPL and other legalese, I 
> > understand the district's desire to head off any a) demands for "service 
> > and support" and b) complaints that "that free stuff you gave me crashed 
> > my computer". They would like a concise, easy to understand (by lay 
> > users) disclaimer for the CDs that they would be distributing.
> > 
> > I have checked The Open CD's website (http://www.theopencd.org) and 
> > cannot find any language there that would seem to fit the bill, but have 
> > thought that rather than invent a blurb of my own, I might appeal to 
> > members of this list who have either done this sort of thing already or 
> > else might know where to steer me for this. Thanks very much for any 
> > responses that can shared on this!
> > :-)
> Pretty much *any* FSF Free Software / OSI Open Source license 
> includes liability disclaimer language specifically for the reasons you're
> raising here, and all the major licenses (GPL/LGPL, BSD/MIT, MozPL,
> Artistic) do.  Most of the "other" licenses are strongly based off of
> these, generally based on corporate interests, and if anything have more
> extended liability / warranty disclaimers.  Frequently something's being
> distributed free of charge, and the prospect of being sued on the basis
> of what's essentially an act of generosity is understandably best
> limited.
> Too:  the mainstream licenses (listed above) have for the most part a
> decade or more experience.  They've been used by non-profits,
> educational institutions (from primary to post-graduate), government
> agencies, corporations, and individuals.  While there've been a few
> disputes over Free Software misappropriate -- mostly code copied _from_
> Free Software into proprietary products -- and there's the 
> Caldera/SCO vs. IBM contract dispute (actually a proxy war by 
> Microsoft and Sun), I'm _not_ aware of any cases involving liability 
> claims arising out of Free Software.  Not to say there haven't been 
> any, but it's a low risk.
> If you're in the US, remember that any idiot can pretty much sue any
> other idiot on any pretext.  The licenses will provide a pretty good
> defense, though, and publicizing any case will probably draw a lot of
> support to your side as well (see the above-mentioned SCO/Caldera /
> Microsoft / Sun suit).
> There's a discussion, license-discuss, hosted by the OSI (Open Source
> Initiative), to which I and others versed in Free Software licensing
> subscribe.  Including a number of lawyers, several of them authors of
> licenses themselves (Larry Rosen and Mitchel Baker in particular).
> Eblen Moglen of the FSF is also highly approachable.  If your folks have
> questions, they're more than welcome to post them to the list, for
> a general understanding of issues.  Legal consultation from several 
> of the attorneys is also possible (Moglen, co-author of the GPL and FSF's
> legal counsel) is generous with his time and my understanding is 
> he'll also consult if needs be.
> Generally, though, this is really an area very well addresed by existing
> licenses.
> Peace.
> -- 
> Karsten M. Self <kmself@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>        
>  What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
>     Non-coders who think they know better than experienced coders 
>     - Jeff Waugh, describing the GNOME Project's user-feedback philosophy
>       http://zgp.org/pipermail/linux-elitists/2004-January/008588.html
------- End of Original Message -------