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SPI finds Al Gore breaks the Open Source Definition

Apr 07, 1999, 16:56 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dave Whitinger)

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By Dave Whitinger

Carrying through their mission to protect Free Software and the Open Source mark, Software in the Public Interest is currently drafting a legal letter to Al Gore, requesting that corrections be made to Mr. Gore's "Open Source" website.

J.H.M. Dassen opens the discussion by observing, "I strongly doubt this fits the Open Source definition, and I suspect this will be yet another contributing factor to the effective watering down of the meaning of "Open Source" to "meaningless buzzphrase" in the public's mind if it isn't corrected. Could someone please draft a nice letter encouraging Mr. Gore('s campaign team) to use "Open Source" in accordance with the service mark, or refrain from using it?"

Brent Fulgham has responded with a draft of the letter that will be sent to Al Gore.

In accordance with United States law, a trademark holder must defend that mark or the mark becomes void and un-enforcable. The process of contacting Al Gore about this issue is a necessary and responsible thing to do.

Update:J.H.M. Dassen has written in with addition information:

Not quite. I posted to the spi-general@lists.spi-inc.org mailing list asking if someone could draft a letter regarding this issue (as SPI board members are very busy people, it would be easiest to present them with a more or less finished letter to send).

spi-general is a mailing list open to the public, for those that are interested in SPI. Viewpoints expressed there, or actions proposed there do not necessarily reflect the views of SPI. (See http://www.debian.org/Lists-Archives/spi-general-9904/threads.html ; for some reason the webmasters haven't gotten arround to moving the SPI lists archives to www.spi-inc.org)

At the moment, SPI == the SPI board of directors. Everyone agrees that this has to change, and that participating members of the free software community should be able to join SPI as members. Proposals for changing SPI's structure are being discussed on the spi-general list.

Russ Nelson of OSI has already sent out a letter to Al Gore, relieving SPI of the responsibility.