Software Freedom Law Center

Shachar Shemesh wine-devel at
Wed Feb 2 01:14:31 CST 2005

Brian Vincent wrote:

>On Tue, 01 Feb 2005 07:38:42 -0600, Jeremy White <jwhite at> wrote:
>>I've been speaking privately with Eben Moglen about this
>>new effort, and he tells me that they would like to
>>have the Wine Project as one if their very first clients.
>I think this is an excellent idea.  
A little of my experience with lawyers. I fully trust Jeremy to know 
this, and know how to handle this. Still, it's something to keep in mind.

Lawyers are hired to cover their asses. When you go out to consult with 
one, they are usually trained to do just one thing - alert you to the 
dangers of the actions you are about to take. Actually, at least in 
Israel, malpractice laws more or less require them to do so.

It is therefor usually not beneficial to ask them questions that revolve 
around "is there a risk in doing....". Almost always the answer will be 
"yes, there is". You usually want to know not whether there are risks, 
but what these risks are. A lawyer can sometimes help you with that, but 
more often then not can't.

>Your three ideas were great.  I can also think of a few other things:
>1) EULA enforcement.  Are there areas where EULA's don't apply, is
>that information useful to us in any way, or is it information we want
>to publish?
I can answer that one for you. Sometimes they are, sometimes they are 
not. I'm pretty sure I've read about precedences pointing both ways. For 
example - an EULA where the user has a chance to read it before making 
the actual transaction is more likely to bind. In my eyes, an EULA that 
comes way after you have already started using the product, such as with 
the Microsoft Updates site, cannot be binding (but that's just me).

The question is therefor not whether EULAs apply, or whether any 
specific EULA applies. It's whether you are likely to get sued.

>2) Along the same lines, I'm sure most MS EULA's have boilerplate that
>says, "If any part of this EULA is unenforceable, it does not affect
>the other parts."  Are there any parts of MS EULA's that aren't
>enforceable because they are a monopoly?  What about redistribution
>rights?  Can the "core fonts" be packaged?
I can give you my answer to the last one. No, they cannot. You need to 
remember that Microsoft is likely not even the copyright owner. Also, 
fonts are typically protected by something called a "design patent".

We can gather some money (I think it's somewhere in the $50K area) and 
buy copyright and patent license for distributing them. It's been done 
with some Hebrew fonts and OpenOffice - you are allowed to give those 
proprietary fonts with OpenOffice, but only if it's a release sanctioned 
by Sun.

I think the more important aspect here is a moral one - these is 
copyrighted work. We need to respect this copyright.


Shachar Shemesh
Lingnu Open Source Consulting ltd.

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