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Old 04-03-2003, 01:28 PM   #1
the_logos
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Hi. I'm currently exploring the possibility of a lawsuit against Medievia for their violations of the DIKU license. I haven't yet spoken to the DIKU license holders about it as I want to wait to go to them until I've collected a bunch of people who are willing to contribute to a lawsuit. So far I have 7 people including myself willing to contribute.

If you hate the kind of thievery that the Medievia owner is accused of and hate it enough to be willing to contribute to a legal fund to sue him, mail me at matt@achaea.com and I'll put your name on a list I'm maintaining. There's no committment but please don't mail unless you' have the means and the will to contribute cash. Lawsuits aren't free.

After I have a dozen or so names, I will approach the DIKU license holders and see if they're interested.

--matt
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Old 04-03-2003, 02:08 PM   #2
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Unless the Diku people want to get involved in a lawsuit, I don't see how you can proceed. A contract dispute is a civil action and third parties who are not in privity to the contract have no standing to to sue.

I think it's pretty safe to assume a qui tam action is not an option
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Old 04-03-2003, 02:14 PM   #3
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I think he's planning to approach the Diku people with a plan of action, and funding, and ask them to do what they need to do beyond that.
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Old 04-03-2003, 02:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Alaire @ April 03 2003,14:14)
I think he's planning to approach the Diku people with a plan of action, and funding, and ask them to do what they need to do beyond that.
Yes, exactly. I'd just rather not approach them empty-handed.

--matt
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Old 04-03-2003, 02:24 PM   #5
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Thumbs up

An admirable cause. I wish I had alot of money to help out. Is there a low limit to what you want people to donate? While people with bigger pocketbooks would be good to approach in the beginning, setting up a place for people to send smaller donations might be a good idea. I know many people would give more if they could.
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Old 04-03-2003, 02:24 PM   #6
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In any case, isn't the statute of limitations for civil suits commonly 2-3 years? According to Kavir's site, the license was first violated in 1995, more than 7 years ago. Or would it depend on whatever is the most recent "new" violation?
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Old 04-03-2003, 02:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Alaire @ April 03 2003,14:24)
An admirable cause. I wish I had alot of money to help out. Is there a low limit to what you want people to donate? While people with bigger pocketbooks would be good to approach in the beginning, setting up a place for people to send smaller donations might be a good idea. I know many people would give more if they could.
There's no lower limit currently. I think what we'd probably do is try to set a limit whereby if you donated over X amount and we were able to get any cash out of Medievia, you'd get a tleast some of your donation back. That's just speculation right now though. It's all very speculative right now.

I'm sure we can set up a paypal donation system or whatnot for small donators when the time comes. I think you're right that a lot of people would like to donate a bit here and there.

--matt
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Old 04-03-2003, 02:42 PM   #8
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Statute of limitations are different for each state. My guess is that the SOL would only apply if the Diku people knew about the breach and did nothing about it. However, even if they didn't know there is still a chance they could be barred from suit.

Overall, I think a lawsuit in this instance is a non-starter. There are too many reasons why such a suit would be a waste of money and resources. If you're that concerned about Medievia, a cease-and-desist order from the Diku people would probably be your best bet.
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Old 04-03-2003, 02:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Mason @ April 03 2003,14:42)
Statute of limitations are different for each state. My guess is that the SOL would only apply if the Diku people knew about the breach and did nothing about it. However, even if they didn't know there is still a chance they could be barred from suit.

Overall, I think a lawsuit in this instance is a non-starter. There are too many reasons why such a suit would be a waste of money and resources. If you're that concerned about Medievia, a cease-and-desist order from the Diku people would probably be your best bet.
Yep, could well be. Only way we'll know is to move ahead with it and see what happens. It's not your time being spent. =)

--matt
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Old 04-03-2003, 05:42 PM   #10
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Don't forget to contact the Merc team as well - Medievia is a derivative of Merc 1.0, which is a derivative of Diku.
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Old 04-03-2003, 05:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ April 03 2003,17:42)
Don't forget to contact the Merc team as well - Medievia is a derivative of Merc 1.0, which is a derivative of Diku.
Ahh, excellent. Could you point me to them?

---matt
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Old 04-03-2003, 07:31 PM   #12
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This is not legal advice (as I was once an attorney, but am not currently practicing or the member of a bar, I have to say that):

The statue of limitations is not really the problem since they infringe on the copyright again every day they exist.

Trademarks are the type of intellectual property where you can lose the protection if you knowingly fail to defend your IP rights.

Good luck to you in this venture, Matt.
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Old 04-03-2003, 08:45 PM   #13
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Threshold:

I'm sorry but the answer to that problem is not so clear.  

The first issue would be to determine whether or not this is a copyright infringement or breach of contract.  My understanding is that a GPL is attached to the code and therefore, in some instances, anyone who uses the code not in accordance with the GPL guidelines is breaching the licensing agreement.  (E.g.  If you were to use software not in accordance with an EULA that you agreed to, you would be liable for a breach of contract claim, not copyright infringement.  Although I acknowledge that there are some instances wherein exceeding the scope of a license can lead to an infringement claim).  Therefore, the first issue would be to determine whether or not this is a breach of contract or infringement claim.

Secondly, even if it was a copyright infringement claim,  17 USC 507(b) states :No civil action shall be maintained under the provisions of this title unless it is commenced within three years after the claim accrued.  If the licensors did not have knowledge of the violation more than 3 years ago it seems they can proceed fairly easily (subject to a determination of reasonable diligence).  Otherwise, there are a number of tricky issues:  Some courts have held that 507(b) barred such actions, some have said that the copyright holder may sue only for infringements within the last 3 years, and others have held, as you suggested, that the recent infringements are part of one continuing action.

While you are certainly correct that the SOL may not be a bar to suit in this instance, neither is the issue very clear as to how a court might rule.
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Old 04-04-2003, 09:14 AM   #14
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Some background? How are they breaking the license?
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Old 04-04-2003, 10:01 AM   #15
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Old 04-08-2003, 06:20 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
In any case, isn't the statute of limitations for civil suits commonly 2-3 years?
I think this has been pointed out before, and the rebuttal was that, well, it may been some time since the original infraction but, well, even if true, he's doing it this very moment, too.

Kas.

(Edit: to which, if I'd noticed there was a second page to this topic, I would have realised it was completely redundant. Sorry)
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Old 04-08-2003, 09:08 AM   #17
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From my own limited understanding of civil suit, based on personal experience...

I believe there exists some sort of clause regarding "past precidence." If something happened and no action was taken, and the violation continues to happen with no action taken, then past precidence demonstrates a lack of concern about the violation. And therefore the statute of limitations would apply to the original date of the violation and not to the current violation thereof.

In english:

If I break a contract, and the one who owns the contract doesn't bring me to court over it, and I continue to break it on a regular basis for years and years, the court's gonna say "Well you should've filed within 3 years of the date you KNEW it was violated in the first place." NOT doing anything about it tells the judge that you didn't think it was important enough to pursue, and the judge is gonna tell you tough noogies.

It's kinda like the whole squatter's rights issue. If you move into an abandoned house and the owner of the house knows you're there, and doesn't make any attempt to kick you out, eventually you earn the right to live there and he no longer has the option of evicting you. Eminent domain stuff, though it's a lot more complex than that.

The same goes for property lines and fences. If I build a fence 3 inches into your lawn, and you are aware that it's on your lawn, and don't make me change the location, then eventually you lose the right to take legal action.

This applies only to situations in which the "victim" is aware of the violation. The Diku people have known about this situation for years, and as far as I know they have not filed any claim against Medievia. The american court system would, from my personal experience and not from any actual legal expertise, tell the Diku folks "Oh well, you should've filed years ago when you first realized you were being victimized."

Again - I reiterate. I have no actual legal background or court case citation other than my own to go by on this issue.
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Old 04-08-2003, 05:06 PM   #18
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The law suit has far bigger problems than statute of limitations. Any decent lawyer can almost always find a way around such problems anyway. In general, when you have someone wronged, courts will TRY to rule that the statute has not tolled, unless it is explicitly clear that it has expired.

As I said, I wish Matt and everyone else involved luck in this matter. I think they are fighting a near impossible battle.
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Old 04-09-2003, 04:25 AM   #19
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Actually, as much as I'd like to see Medievia die, I'm curious as to what the ramifications of such a lawsuit would be - especially if it lost. What sort of state would it put the Diku/Merc codebases in, for example?

Kas.
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