Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Open Source Your Rights Online

WURFL Founders Fire Off DMCA Takedown Against Fork 169

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the we-didn't-mean-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "ScientiaMobile, the company formed behind the open source library WURFL, an API used to do mobile device detection for web applications, has issued a DMCA takedown notice against the OpenDDR project on Github. ScientiaMobile claims that OpenDDR is 'ripping them off' by forking their database, which used to be licensed under a liberal license. Newer versions of the device database are licensed under restrictive licenses which do not allow any modification or redistribution."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

WURFL Founders Fire Off DMCA Takedown Against Fork

Comments Filter:
  • Again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Squiddie (1942230) on Monday January 09, 2012 @12:57PM (#38638678)
    Just another example of the blatant abuse that is possible with these laws. SOPA will only make it worse if it passes.
    • Re:Again (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iluvcapra (782887) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:17PM (#38638936)

      SOPA could also be used to take down closed-source uses of GPL'd software-- both instances are legitimate applications. The problem is the copyright claim, not the enforcement.

      A problem here could be in the remedy, according to TFA the court may simply find that the database in question isn't copyrightable, as it's merely facts. That's a win for the fork, but it's a fail if you're release GPL software and commercial software vendors decide they want to copy static resources out of your distribution insofar as they can claim that they're "mere facts."

      • Re:Again (Score:5, Insightful)

        by icebraining (1313345) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:27PM (#38639102) Homepage

        No, the problem is that the law permits unsupervised takedowns.

      • Re:Again (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DarkOx (621550) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:30PM (#38639126) Journal

        It will be the enforcement though:

        Lets try a little thought experiment.
        What happens under the SOPA when say Me (a nobody) has a little GPL app on their personal domain, that either $BIGMEDIA_GUY (where say Sony or Disney would be compatible types ) thinks infringes on their property or could be used to do so?

        My guess is that my domain is yanked so fast my head spins and I can either drop the matter or spend years fighting in court to get it back.

        Now lets say I think $BIGMEDIA_GUY is using my code and not complying with the GPL and lets assume I have some evidence like hey the device behaves in this out of spec way exactly my code does or something. Now I present this to ICE or FTC or whoever is supposed to be enforcing this thing. Do you think BIGMEDIA_GUY is going to see their domain yanked?

        I don't...

        • by Synerg1y (2169962)

          How is this different from if they were to take out a DMCA against you?

          • Re:Again (Score:5, Insightful)

            by DarkOx (621550) on Monday January 09, 2012 @04:00PM (#38641032) Journal

            Well I am not fan of the DMCA either but this is much worse. If I get a DMCA take down requests, I have options.

            I can simply comply, the offending material gets removed, I still have my domain, and control over my other stuff.

            If I don't think the request is valid, I can choose not to comply, then go lawyer up. Again I still have control over my stuff initial and unless a judge issues some kinda of order or injunction, I have control until the process gets resolved.

            With the SOPA, Most likely the first I hear about anything is when I get an alert from my monitoring service that my site is down. That is BIG difference. It may not seem like it but that could mean all kinds of follow on effects in terms of lost customers, reputation, and lost time. I am pretty sure even if things are eventually found in your favor you're getting compensated for none of it! Heck something like this can easily be abused just to disrupt upstarts they don't like.

            Its wrong. Its un-American, its anti-freedom, its anti-free enterprise, it amounts just rent seeking on the part of the cartel's interests.

            • by Svartalf (2997)

              Not to mention that it fails upon the 14th Amendment (Equal Protection Under the Law) and the 5th Amendment (Due Process Requirement).

              Yeah, I know...they don't give a damn. The thing is...those Amendments...they're not automatic things. They require a belligerent Citizen DEMANDING that they be upheld. You can't plead the Fifth without you there to do it in a Trial, your Attorney CAN'T do it for you. Same goes for a demand that all evidence and the case get tossed due to violations of the Fourth Amendmen

            • by shentino (1139071)

              Which is why we need to balance it with stiff penalties against those making frivolous complaints.

              I'd call getting locked up for 5 years for perjury and having your bar membership revoked would be a good start.

        • Re:Again (Score:4, Informative)

          by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday January 09, 2012 @03:29PM (#38640630) Homepage

          I present this to ICE or FTC or whoever is supposed to be enforcing this thing.

          That's part of the fun of SOPA too -- while the government does have to get involved with enforced takedowns, the bill also removes any liability for voluntary takedowns by ISPs. So if Warner Cable decides to censor any website hosting information on how to rip DVDs, they cannot be held liable despite the fact that they operate a communications service with the benefit of government granted easements (like cable rights of way) and, in many markets, government granted monopolies.

        • by Jawnn (445279)
          Damn right, parent's post is insightful.
          Want to fix that? Start here - http://movetoamend.org/ [movetoamend.org]
          Take the money out of politics and $BIGMEDIA_GUY won't be able to buy horrid (for people) legislation like SOPA and the like.
      • Re:Again (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:35PM (#38639194) Journal

        The problem is the copyright claim, not the enforcement.

        The problem is that enforcement occurs before the validity of the copyright claim is established.

      • I am not sure if this is factually true. Even so lets assume that it is, I can think only of 3-4 FOSS developers that could actually push hard enough to get a GPL violator closed down.
        The most plausible outcome I can see is him being shrugged of and ignored with the self incriminating excuse that "This SOPA thing is only meant to close video sites"

    • by mark-t (151149)
      IF it passes???
      • I believe some are still hoping that the Congress can be reasoned with, or that SOPA is designed to be the bone thrown to us to make up for the NDAA. Kind of a "Oh look, you guys convinced us on SOPA! What a good little constituency. See, we listen to you. Yes we do, yes we do. Now go in the corner and sit for a while."

  • Konami once sued Roxor Games for infringing Konami's patents on Dance Dance Revolution. Why can't Konami just send a takedown notice to OpenDDR for using a confusingly similar trademark?
    • Konami once sued Roxor Games for infringing Konami's patents on Dance Dance Revolution. Why can't Konami just send a takedown notice to OpenDDR for using a confusingly similar trademark?

      Trademarks work very differently than Copyright. For starters, they are limited to a field of use. So DDR would be trademarked in the Gaming community. If OpenDDR tried to enter that field of use, then the trademark would apply. So long as they are not in that field of use, they are free to use the term as they like.

      The same applies for Microsoft per Windows - field of use is the software operating system market, and it bares no burden on Anderson Windows to use the term. The same would apply for an auto

      • Trademarks work very differently than Copyright. For starters, they are limited to a field of use.

        The most famous trademarks for consumer products are protected independently of a field of use. See trademark dilution [wikipedia.org]. "Super Mario" would probably qualify as famous, but I'm not so sure about "DDR".

        • by LizardKing (5245)

          "Super Mario" would probably qualify as famous, but I'm not so sure about "DDR".

          The Deutsche Demokratische Republik might disagree.

        • Trademarks work very differently than Copyright. For starters, they are limited to a field of use.

          The most famous trademarks for consumer products are protected independently of a field of use. See trademark dilution [wikipedia.org]. "Super Mario" would probably qualify as famous, but I'm not so sure about "DDR".

          Trademarks outside of the field of use are more rare than those inside a field of use. There is also nothing to prevent multiple fields of use. However, it is a far harder burden to prove trademark dilution outside the field of use - you first have to show that your trademark was somehow hurt in the field of use by the use outside the field of use. Duable in some cases; not so doable in others. This is also typically more the case when the term is very unique - e.g. there are no other known uses in other fi

          • Konami have a problem with DDR the outside field of use infringement as there are other uses already out there (e.g. DDR Ram), so they can't argue the uniqueness factor and would have to explicitly argue that that use hurts their games, which would be a lot harder to do as the use has nothing to do with games.

            Except it isn't just DDR, its both DDR and DanceDanceRevolution. So, is OpenDDR just "OpenDDR" or does it explain it as an initialism? (not an acronym! )
            If they state it as "Open Dance Dance Revolution" then that's a whole different ballgame. And I would argue DDR in the gaming field, especially dance games, implies Dance Dance.

            • Konami have a problem with DDR the outside field of use infringement as there are other uses already out there (e.g. DDR Ram), so they can't argue the uniqueness factor and would have to explicitly argue that that use hurts their games, which would be a lot harder to do as the use has nothing to do with games.

              Except it isn't just DDR, its both DDR and DanceDanceRevolution. So, is OpenDDR just "OpenDDR" or does it explain it as an initialism? (not an acronym! ) If they state it as "Open Dance Dance Revolution" then that's a whole different ballgame. And I would argue DDR in the gaming field, especially dance games, implies Dance Dance.

              Please read TFA and TFS. OpenDDR has nothing to do with gaming period. The DDR is for Device Description Repository, and they target mobile & web developers, not gamers.

              I do agree that if they were in the gaming field there may be an issue; but it's pretty obvious even from TFS that they are not, and if you follow through to the links it is even more so.

              • There were a few links, the one I read explained the legal case very clearly but did not explain what OpenDDR was at all. Grandparent mentioned Konami possibly suing, so I assumed openDDR was an open DDR game project that used the WURFL for peripheral support. I guess he was just concerned about the "DDR" initialism being used in any context, but yeah, as people pointed out, if its not in the same field, it doesn't count.
                Calm down, I did read TFA and TFS.

                "ScientiaMobile, the company formed behind the open source library WURFL, an API used to do mobile device detection for web applications, has issued a DMCA takedown notice against the OpenDDR project on Github. ScientiaMobile claims that OpenDDR is 'ripping them off' by forking their database, which used to be licensed under a liberal license. Newer versions of the device database are licensed under restrictive licenses which do not allow any modification or redistribution."

                You show me where in that it is

                it's pretty obvious even from TFS that they are not

                It specifies that i

                • There were a few links, the one I read explained the legal case very clearly but did not explain what OpenDDR was at all. Grandparent mentioned Konami possibly suing, so I assumed openDDR was an open DDR game project that used the WURFL for peripheral support. I guess he was just concerned about the "DDR" initialism being used in any context, but yeah, as people pointed out, if its not in the same field, it doesn't count. Calm down, I did read TFA and TFS.

                  "ScientiaMobile, the company formed behind the open source library WURFL, an API used to do mobile device detection for web applications, has issued a DMCA takedown notice against the OpenDDR project on Github. ScientiaMobile claims that OpenDDR is 'ripping them off' by forking their database, which used to be licensed under a liberal license. Newer versions of the device database are licensed under restrictive licenses which do not allow any modification or redistribution."

                  You show me where in that it is

                  From the 1st link [sourceforge.net], first two paragraphs (emphasis added):

                  So... What is WURFL? WURFL is a Device Description Repository (DDR), i.e. a software component which contains the descriptions of thousands of mobile devices. In its simplest incarnation, WURFL is an XML configuration file plus a set of programming APIs to access the data in real-time environments.

                  The main scope of the WURFL Project is to be an independent central repository of device information , which Open-Source developers from around the globe can utilize to build their mobile web applications.

                  From the 2nd link [openddr.org] fourth paragraph (emphasis added):

                  elow some background to explain the origins of the story. OpenDDR project has been made by a group of web & mobile developers aware of the importance for their work of an always up-to-date Device Description Repository (DDR), and of good APIs to access it.

                  From the 3rd link [openddr.org], first two paragraphs (emphasis added):

                  Everyone knows it. There is nothing worse than a not tailored content. Just think how frustrating is surfing a very complex website on the small screen of your cellular phone. You probably waste your time zooming and scrolling the pages, but, anyway, it’s clear: if you want a comfortable user experience you need dinamically adaptable contents according to hardware and browser specifications of your device .

                  That’s the reason why Device Description Repositories (DDR) exist. These are databases that store a huge amount of information concerning mobile phones, tablets, Interactive TVs, set top boxes and any device having a Web browser , in order to allow developers to realize applications extremely enjoyable on each client.

                  From the fourth link [shkspr.mobi], first and third paragraphs (emphasis added):

                  When a phone’s web browser visits your site, how can you tell what capabilities that phone has? How can you work out its screensize, whether it can play mp3s, or know if it supports a particular bit of JavaScript?

                  ...

                  Out of this frustration, a number of databases have been developed to track the capabilities of as many devices as possible. For the longest time, the most popular and accurate was WURFL – the Wireless Universal Resource FiLe.

                  it's pretty obvious even from TFS that they are not

                  It specifies that it is used for web applications, but games can be web applications. It does say mobile device detection, and I might have skimmed that as just "device detection", but still, not exactly spelling it out.

                  And from TFS (emphasis added):

                  WURFL, an API used to do mobile device detection ...OpenDDR is 'ripping them off' by forking their database ,

                  End quotes.

                  Seriously, honest mistake. But it was fairly ambiguous. Get off your high horse. There are FOUR links on that page. Do all 4 count as TFA? Between them, two are just links to the websites of the things involved, those aren't "fing articles" so we're left with two: A plaintext post of the takedown notice A blog entry detailing the events, giving context, and including quotes and legal information and history of the involved. Of those two, which is TFA? The second never mentions ANYTHING about it being a mobile device registry.

                  As pointed out abov

  • Success (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 09, 2012 @12:58PM (#38638688)

    So it's like this,

    When the software is born look look at us, help our community were are open source blah blah blah.

    Suddenly the cow fattens , Oh no this is proprietary code blah blah yes open source , but our work business model etc.

    Seen this movie a lot of times, sadly

    • Re:Success (Score:4, Interesting)

      by galaad2 (847861) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:27PM (#38639100) Homepage Journal

      oddly enough their support forum is called "Community Support Forum"... shouldn't that be "Proprietary Support Forum" now?
      http://www.scientiamobile.com/forum/ [scientiamobile.com]

      Also, Scientiamobile itself is in breach of SourceForge's Terms of use (they use SourceForge for file distribution!) because the Terms state:

      http://geek.net/terms-of-use [geek.net]
      "Except as otherwise expressly permitted by these Terms, any Code submitted to SourceForge.net must be licensed to Geeknet and other licensees under a license that is: compliant with the Open Source Initiative ("OSI")'s Open Source Definition (http://www.opensource.org/docs/osd) or certified as an "OSI-Approved License" (http://opensource.org/licenses)."

      imho, the license that they are using now is in COMPLETE VIOLATION with sourceforge's terms.

      i already submitted an abuse report with sourceforge for this... but i'm not sure if only one abuse report is enough

      • Nah, sourceforge probably isn't going to do anything about that even if it does violate their terms. The code is compliant, it's just proprietary data licensed only for use with the project. All they'd have to do is distribute the XML database separately from their own site to comply, and that would just inconvenience people while accomplishing nothing. (Moreover, it would make it inconvenient for people to even look at the XML file)

        Is sourceforge going to remove open source games as well? They quite often

        • Re:Success (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Raenex (947668) on Monday January 09, 2012 @03:27PM (#38640594)

          Is sourceforge going to remove open source games as well?

          I don't know, but they should if they aren't really open source.

          They quite often have data (e.g. artwork, textures, sounds etc.) that is licensed differently than the source code. For convenience, the data is provided in the same bundle yet there may be restrictions on how you can use and distribute that data, if you read the license.

          I'm really sick of this dilution of open source. If, "for convenience", you make a "bundle" to distribute a complete game, then unless the whole game is open source, it isn't open source. You can claim the engine is open source, but to say the whole game is, that's lying for marketing purposes.

          Everybody wants to fly under the open source banner to get the warm fuzzies and marketing buzz, but then they want to add in the proprietary parts to get exclusive benefits. You wouldn't accept this behavior from Microsoft.

          • ...but we would accept it from id Software. Funny, that...
            • id Software doesn't use sourceforge.net's file service to provide propriety downloads.

              Also, id Software hasn't released any game as open source or semi open source. They have only released the source code of their games as open source. Without the game data you need to get from a paid distribution you cannot play the game.

          • I wouldn't accept what behaviour from Microsoft? Microsoft doesn't have one "open source" product that I would ever care about and even if they did, I'd be a fool to use it in a project without hiring lawyers that cost more than my entire project could ever be worth. Even their so called "open document formats" aren't really open in the sense that we would use the word. I don't really accept any behaviour from Microsoft but if I want to play my games, I have to keep a Windows install available. It would be

            • by Raenex (947668)

              While not hosted at sourceforge, the Linux kernel tarballs and trees contain proprietary data different from the kernel license too, for another example. Firmware blobs are bundled for convenience.

              Yes, and these binary blobs have been a source of contention for years. It took a while, but the Debian distro finally moved them out because they are more serious about open source. Linus is more slack about the issue.

              I do accept the behaviour of say, Sauerbraten for an example affecting me, that has content in the archive that's not under the same license as the source, not because I advocate non free content, but because I don't want to go and download the game data separately from the source code I compile.

              Which speaks to my point. You think of the game as a complete unit, and as a complete unit, it is not open source. Users of the game need the proprietary parts, not just a naked engine.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      It usually ends in pitchforks.
    • by nman64 (912054) *

      "Ooh, ahh!" That's how it always starts, then later there's running and screaming.

  • Perhaps we'll get the same posters here as well. I'm really not sure what could stop a fork of a GPL project.
    • I'm really not sure what could stop a fork of a GPL project.

      The database is the problem, not the code, and the data is not GPL.

      And, it would be easy to argue that while the database is commonly known or available information (like a phone book), the collection as it is constitutes a copyrightable work. Extracting the data might be a workaround, but the dataset is so huge it almost requires a hierarchical data organization. Any reasonable attempt would be derivative.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        I'm really not sure what could stop a fork of a GPL project.

        The database is the problem, not the code, and the data is not GPL.

        And, it would be easy to argue that while the database is commonly known or available information (like a phone book), the collection as it is constitutes a copyrightable work. Extracting the data might be a workaround, but the dataset is so huge it almost requires a hierarchical data organization. Any reasonable attempt would be derivative.

        There is no argument. A collection of facts is not copyrightable. It is that simple.

        • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

          There is no argument. A collection of facts is not copyrightable.

          One would have to first prove that the WURFL database is in fact a collection of facts. Until that is established, the legal system does not assume it is the case.

          And as long as a court exists, and at least one lawyer, there is always room for an argument. Even worse, with the DMCA, no argument even needs made.

          And that is the answer to "I'm really not sure what could stop a fork of a GPL project" which is what I responded to. I'm not sayin

          • And as long as a court exists, and at least one lawyer, there is always room for an argument.

            If there is a court and a lawyer, there is room for a minimum of two arguments, probably more.

      • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

        And before someone with poor reading comprehension crucifies me on nitpicks, the latest original liberally licensed data was used as a base, not the current explicitly restrictive data.

        That means the whole case depends on how effective the included disclaimer works The data is meant for use with the WURFL API available on the official WURFL website at http://wurfl.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] . If it serves to tie the data to a specific implementation, OpenDDR is hosed. If not, no worries.

        I'm just answering the ques

  • by jenningsthecat (1525947) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:00PM (#38638724)
    There are far too many disputes in tech these days around formerly-open-source stuff that some bastard decides to co-opt and pretend he owns. This case strikes me as simple, clear-cut, winnable, and potentially precedent-setting. It would be good if the EFF brought its weight to bear on this issue - it could be crucial to the future of FOSS.
    • It's not the GPL OpenDDR API that was in question: https://github.com/OpenDDR-org/OpenDDR-Java, but the device database, which was never GPL to begin with: https://github.com/OpenDDR-org/OpenDDR-Resources

      • by Grave (8234)

        Which is irrelevant as I understand it, because you can't copyright a database (at least in the US).

        • by canajin56 (660655)
          Yes you can, your copyright just doesn't protect the facts. You cannot photocopy a cookbook and sell it, but you can rewrite all of recipes it contains (in your own words) and then sell that. So in this case, not every field in the database is necessarily a "fact" so it may be a copyright violation to just copy the entire thing. But it all depends on the specifics.
        • you can't copyright a database (at least in the US).

          Citation needed.
          While I grant you the ability to copyright facts is limited - e.g. the geographical topology of the earth cannot be copyrighted, an individual map (and the intentional flaws introduced by the cartographer) can be - the ability to copyright your interpretation of the facts, your method of storing them, your dataset, is fairly unlimited. Likewise just because you create something yourself does not mean it is wholly yours, if it refers to things that are the property of someone else or covered

          • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:52PM (#38639412) Homepage Journal

            you can't copyright a database (at least in the US).

            Citation needed.

            Feist Publications, Inc., v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340 (1991). Is this citation in the correct format?

            an individual map (and the intentional flaws introduced by the cartographer)

            Flaws like so-called "trap streets"? Nester's Map & Guide Corp. v. Hagstrom Map Co., 796 F.Supp. 729, E.D.N.Y., 1992. "To treat 'false' facts interspersed among actual facts and represented as actual facts as fiction would mean that no one could ever reproduce or copy actual facts without risk of reproducing a false fact and thereby violating a copyright. [...] If such were the law, information could never be reproduced or widely disseminated." (Id. at 733)

            the ability to copyright your interpretation of the facts, your method of storing them, your dataset, is fairly unlimited.

            To what extent does this copyright in the method of storing them survive automated conversion to another method?

            • I stand corrected; I had never come across this before, my apologies.

              To what extent does this copyright in the method of storing them survive automated conversion to another method?

              One would hope it is not the automated part that is of interest (after all it could be a very clever shell script) but of what is added by the conversion and if there is significant value added by said conversion. (I believe that was the crux of the JKR Lexicon case that I was alluding to in my post) The important thing is the author/shell script has to add something of substantial original value to make it a new work protected by copyrigh

  • by Baloroth (2370816) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:02PM (#38638742)

    To give ScientiaMobile the benefit of the doubt, it is possible they simply don't know how the licensing system works and don't realize that changing the license later on doesn't restrict uses of earlier versions that had been distributed under GPL. This would make them idiots, however. Presuming, of course, that OpenDDR doesn't use the newer version of the database (which I am assuming they don't and seems to be the idea from skimming TFA.)

    The alternative is that they are simply assholes deliberately trying to abuse the system. So they are either idiots or assholes.

    • by gman003 (1693318) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:10PM (#38638846)

      So they are either idiots or assholes.

      Or both.

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:14PM (#38638894) Homepage

      To give ScientiaMobile the benefit of the doubt, it is possible they simply don't know how the licensing system works and don't realize that changing the license later on doesn't restrict uses of earlier versions that had been distributed under GPL

      Well, that makes them ignorant of some basic legal principles, and if they received any legal advice which suggested you could retroactively change something like that, their lawyer is incompetent.

      In many places it's illegal to pass a law that is ex post facto [wikipedia.org], and licenses are no different.

      There is no 'benefit of the doubt' to believe they simply didn't know this was the case -- this is either gross lack of knowledge about the legal system, or a blatant abuse of it. It's a pity the DMCA doesn't really have redress for abuses like this. Because I fail to see how this can be classified as an honest mistake.

      And, I don't see why they have to be either idiots or assholes -- in my opinion, they can be both, and if they sent a DMCA takedown, they likely are.

      • by Hatta (162192) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:39PM (#38639250) Journal

        Ex post facto is not quite what you're looking for here. They're not passing laws. I think the relevant legal issue is promissary estoppel [wikipedia.org].

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Ex post facto is not quite what you're looking for here.

          The fact remains that you can't retroactively change a license. Ex post facto doesn't mean they've passed a law merely that they're trying to make a new license retroactive.

          Much like I can't now say that anybody who read my previous post owes me $50.

          Now, of course, IANAL ... but that doesn't mean any lawyer who told them they could retroactively change a contract isn't a complete idiot. Even EULAs say "by continuing to use this service you agree to t

          • by yurtinus (1590157)
            You can't change the terms of a license that both parties have agreed to, but you can change it for future users (or future versions). I honestly haven't read TFA and barely skimmed TFS, so I don't know what's going on here - but generally speaking it is perfectly alright for somebody to change the conditions under which their products or services are provided.
      • by shentino (1139071)

        I dunno, I'd call that retroactive extension of copyright an ex-post facto law.

    • simply assholes deliberately trying to abuse the system.

      And the DMCA seems written explicitly to be abused.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Or they could be using the "sue them even if we we'll lose and they'll be bankrupted" tactic.

  • Bletch (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Having had to integrate that horrible thing into a web application, I can only wonder why OpenDDR didn't just start from scratch with a new API. They would have had to have gone some way to create a worse implementation than the original.
  • by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:13PM (#38638884) Homepage

    the DMCA, afiui, requires some form of [potentially entirely and utterly useless] encryption. this is _data_. in an unencrypted, unencumbered and freely-licensed format. sounds like one for the SFLC....

    • by Hatta (162192)

      The DMCA is a pretty broad piece of legislation. The bit enabling DMCA takedowns is entirely separate from the bit prohibiting circumvention of copyright protection devices.

  • by MrWeelson (948337) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:16PM (#38638916)

    From http://openddr.org/takedown.html [openddr.org], the original file had terms of use as below
    Seems clear to me - as long as OpenDDR are making public any changes.

    "All the information listed here has been collected by many different people from many different
              countries. You are allowed to use WURFL in any of your applications, free or commercial. The only thing required is to make public any
              modification to this file, following the original spirit and idea of the creators of this project."

  • Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by LizardKing (5245) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:19PM (#38638954)

    OpenDDR used the last snapshot of WURFL that had very liberal licensing. This snapshot dates from April last year. In July, the wording on the database file became a bit more restrictive, stating it was only for use with the WURFL API, but not in the terms of anything approaching a formal license. The subsequent version was the one that had the legalese restricting modification or redistribution. So the OpenDDR people were actually pretty careful about this.

    The sad thing is that most of the WURFL data came from third party contributions. These were probably submitted with a belief that the data would remain available the same way it had always been. The the WURFL developer (essentially one guy) decided to commercialise it. The moral of this would appear to be:

    • Don't submit to projects with unclear licensing
    • Don't host open source projects on sites that are subject to US jurisdiction
    • Don't host open source projects on sites that are subject to US jurisdiction

      Agreed, although, god help us.
      This is NOT going anywhere good in the long run...

    • by Raenex (947668)

      Don't host open source projects on sites that are subject to US jurisdiction

      Actually, the situation might be worse elsewhere, because the US in general doesn't allow you to copyright databases unless there's some creative element, unlike the European Database Directive [wikipedia.org].

      Also, a DMCA takedown can easily be responded to, and if it's frivolous, you can sue [wikipedia.org] for damages.

      • by LizardKing (5245)
        This has nothing to do with copyright, as it's an attempt at obfuscation. The original license for the WURFL data file, as present on the copy used by the OpenDDR project, allowed copying. The license on later versions of the WURFL data file changed to say it was "meant" to be only used with the WURLF API. Then the version after that essentially went proprietary and closed. The WURFL project leader has - whether in ignorance or maliciously - used the DMCA to get GitHub to take down their hosting of OpenDDR'
        • by Raenex (947668)

          This has nothing to do with copyright

          It has everything to do with copyright, as that's the claim being used to take it down.

          If the OpenDDR project was hosted in the European Union, it would not have had the hosting pulled in this way - regardless of the European Database Directive.

          Maybe, maybe not. ISPs can respond to complaints. Even if they left it up, the parties involved can be sued, just like in the US, which is the real problem. The DMCA can be responded to and within a couple of weeks the data should be back up. It's not the big deal you are making it out to be.

  • person responsible (Score:5, Informative)

    by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:24PM (#38639058) Homepage

    it looks like this person is responsible for the stupidity: https://twitter.com/#!/luca_passani [twitter.com]

    i've advised openddr to contact the SFLC but this is twitter: can i recommend that people also advise openddr on twitter to contact the SFLC, as well as pressurise the moron who doesn't understand what the DMCA is for.

  • by liquidweaver (1988660) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:40PM (#38639266)

    I used to release works that I made under MIT or artistic - thinking the GPL was too extreme for my tastes.
    It is becoming clear to me that businesses _predictably_ try to "proprietize" anything they can - morals are never part of the equation. The only defense you have when writing software for the public (and keep it that way) is the include clear, strong, and pervasive licenses such as the GPL.

    The legal framework we live in, at least here stateside, basically demands we protect our works' right to be free and shared in an active fashion. Corporations only have incentives to try and lock down and monopolize anything they can - it makes sense and history continues to repeat itself. Looks like RMS was right; everything I write is GPL from here on out.

    • by HiThere (15173)

      Look into the AGPL version 3. Of course, for many programs it doesn't make much difference.

  • by Hartree (191324) on Monday January 09, 2012 @02:27PM (#38639834)

    Is it just me, or does the photo of Luca Passani on the sourceforge page look a bit like an aspiring axe murderer?

    • well, his twitter feed is the PR equivalent of an ax murderer on a killing rampage.

      He has clearly no clue what he is talking about (IP law), and apparently is too emotionally
      invested in the matter to even be taken seriously.

      That is not going to end well.

  • You cannot simply change the license of open source software to something else. Every contributor needs to agree to the new license. If a contributor rejects the new license or simply doesn't respond you can only change the license if you remove all contributions of the contributor that didn't agree. This is the reason why FSF included the following in the GPL terms: "or (at your option) any later version.". That would allow you to change to a newer version of the license, but it doesn't allow you to change GPL to AGPL, just GPLv2 to GPLv3.

    Looking at the commit history of wurfl as documented on ohloh.net I see some contributors that committed to the CVS repository, but do no longer appear to be project members (and haven't committed a long time before), for example "Andrea Trasatti" and "Ed Alkema". I have serious doubts that the change from GPL to AGPL was signed off by these inactive contributors.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      sure sounds like this is the case.
      one would think the fork exists only because they changed terms too though?

      and really what is the point for using wurfl? doing auto mobile specific changes to websites served has always only lead to disasters. the devices lie in their headers, there's inaccurate information, it's only good if they're using the standard browser and even if they are then you're better off with just serving basic html to limited devices and the full thing to everything else.

      and for commerciali

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: #44 Zebras are colored with dark stripes on a light background.

Working...