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Re: [tdf-discuss] How Close Is TDF...? [WAS Re: OpenOffice.org Apache Incubator Proposal: Splitting^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HREUNITING the Community?]


On Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 12:01 PM, Florian Effenberger
<floeff@documentfoundation.org> wrote:

<snip>

I guess a slight risk that needs to be taken care of exists in all
constellations. In the worst (!) situation, Apache could die as foundation,
so could TDF. For TDF, it is rather unlikely, as German foundations are
built in a way they can not vanish that easily. That's why the incorporation
takes so long, and that's exactly why we've voted for Germany. Once you're
established, you are approved that your budgets and statutes are safe that a
long-lasting foundation is nearly guaranteed.

IMHO For any software foundation, legal risk is probably the most
serious one faced.

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)

Sure, but what would happen to the assets, as the "reboot" would a different
legal entity?

Beyond the brand, Apache chooses to have few assets or employees (I
can remember the time when we had none of either)

What I want to say: I guess the theoretical risks are as high for Apache
than for any other foundation, including TDF.

Different organisations adopt different strategies, and this is
reflect in their degree of legal risk.

Apache takes IP risks very seriously and has an excellent pro-bono
team together with a broader community of experts. Our framework is
public and open for others to learn from. We (and some corporate
players like IBM) believe that this reduces our risk to an acceptable
level.

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

Well, normally, it is not needed, as - see above - German foundations are
built in a very stable way. However, in the worst case, I think the
situation would be similar to other foundations. The knowledge is public, so
anyone could do what we have done. The only question is the legal assets,
but that would happen to every entity and foundation. Apache would have the
same struggles we would have in the very unlikely event of closing the
foundation.

Apache (and foundations with similar structures) are carefully
structured to allow easy replacement within the ecology. But a
trade-off exists and others choose differently.

<snip>

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

The law. Even with the currently existing association there are rules for
what the existing property has to be used, in our case public, chartibable
purposes, that serve similar purposes as we do. So, selling them to a
corporation would be *not* possible when the association gets bankrupt. I
guess that it's even more strict for foundations what you can do with your
assets.

Good :-)

(worth explaining on the website since this setup isn't possible in
many jurisdictions)

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

Basically, what you received from Oracle:
Instead of LGPLv3, the code you have been granted has been (re)licensed
unter the Apache license.

I expect the donation to arrive at Apache using a software grant [1]
(or possibly a CCLA [2]). Apache will then offer licenses to the
public. Oracle need not offer the public a license. This means that
well tested contractual licensing is used between Oracle and Apache
whilst the unilateral public licensing is issued by a non-profit.

We asked for having it (re)licensed under the
LGPLv3+/MPL.

Dual licensing is problematic and requires considerable bookkeeping to
track provenance. AIUI TDF uses LGPLv3 (please jump in if I've
misunderstood). So why did the TDF ask for a dual license?

So, we didn't ask for an exclusive license, nor a copyright
transfer, but rather for having the existing code licensed under a different
license, just as it happened with you afterwards.

(As explained above, the details were quite different.) Now, you can
obtain a public license from Apache compatible downstream with the
LGPLv3.

If Oracle issued a public LGPLv3 license for the code covered by the
Apache donation, what advantages would this have for the TDF which the
public license from Apache does not?

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

I know, but we have the legal options of maintaining and defeating
trademarks. Actually, if that side-note is allowed, I am the one who started
approaching the download fraud sites back in 2008 or 2009, in my role as
Marketing Project (back then) Co-Lead. So, I am not totally unexperienced in
this area. ;-)

So, the TDF brings existing legal experience in trademark defense.

Does TDF own rights to the LibreOffice brand?

Yes. "LibreOffice" and "The Document Foundation" are registered trademarks
in the EU, other applications pending:

http://esearch.oami.europa.eu/copla/trademark/data/1/1/009444571

Great :-)

(For the public record) given it's ownership of existing vibrant
brand, why (for what purpose) does the TDF seek ownership of the
(competing) OpenOffice.org brand?

Robert

[1] http://www.apache.org/licenses/software-grant.txt
[2] http://www.apache.org/licenses/cla-corporate.txt

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