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On Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 3:55 PM, Florian Effenberger
<> wrote:

Robert Burrell Donkin wrote on 2011-06-07 09.00:

(I'll try to avoid asking too many questions at once)

Feel free, I try to reply to all of them, if they haven't been replied in
the meantime by someone else. Hard time following all mail threads. :-)


1. What would constrain this legal entity from closed sourcing these
assets or selling them?

Our statutes. We have binding statutes that are for fostering free office
software, and we are acknowledged of being charitable. So, "simply" changing
or closing down things would be nearly impossible.

Great :-)

In addition, such topics could be covered by a contract. I can imagine,
without speaking officially for the German association here, that there
would have been no problem in signing a contract that sets certain
limitations on what could be done with the assets. Like "You have to keep
the assets, do not sell them, and do not make closed source out of things.
If you cannot manage them at some point in the future, you have to hand them
over to another entity taking care of that.".

True but requires a level of trust in the corporate counter-party (for
anything more than a simple and clean contract). Too often, just
nothing more than a move in the game...

The question is similar to "What would be if Apache Foundation stopped to
exist tomorrow?".

(Each member has the information required to quickly reboot an ASF clone)

For all these things, precautions can be taken. :)


Will TDF be in a position to easily clone and reboot without serious
damage to the wider ecosystem?

2. What would transfer of assets achieve for the TDF that a license would

I guess it depends on the type of the exact license. An asset transfer is
"more" than a license, and gives more safety and stability,

IMHO the choice between licensing and ownership is not so simple, and
there are times when licensing has advantages...

If a legal dispute bankrupted TDF, what would prevent assets
transferred being sold?

but depending on what is in the license, the latter one could have been enough.

(So, I'd like to work towards a clearer public understanding of these
essential requirements)

But, we need to see two things:

If you read the letter of intent, we did not ask for a copyright assignment
(i.e. asset transfer) on the *code*, but rather for a relicensing of the

Talking about a work having a license is useful short hand but I
sometimes find this language confusing. More precisely but less
concisely upstream producers issue licenses which permit downstream
consumers to perform actions otherwise restricted by one or more IP

Could you expand on the precise meaning of "relicensing" in this case?

We did indeed ask for a *trademark* transfer (i.e. asset transfer),
but I guess a good license could have worked as well. It's hard to predict
that without knowing details, of course, but discussing always helps... :)

AIUI Trademarks have to be defended and maintained. A transfer
therefore implies costs (above an unlimited license, say) but allows
tighter control.

Does TDF own rights to the LibreOffice brand?


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