[License-discuss] Companies that encourage license violations

Chris Ochs chris at ochsnet.com
Fri Aug 21 19:19:37 UTC 2015

I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this, if not I'd greatly
appreciate a pointer to the right one.

So I ran into a situation where a company isn't training their employees
very well and is causing all sorts of confusion and in some cases outright
license/copyright violations through what seems to be just simple ignorance.

Company in question has a popular piece of software.  They have a store
where developers can publish extensions and addons to this software.  It's
a huge success with thousands of addons and sales volumes probably into the
millions per month.

Some of these addons are themselves open source.  The majority of the time
the authors of these are not including the open source license.  Which I
think is legally ok, I'm guessing it actually just creates a dual license,
but not an attorney so not sure on this.

The problem is that other addons are including these open source addons.
Literally just copying them into their own distribution.  And they are not
including a copy of the license.  Most of the time not even aware of the
violation because the original author didn't include the license either.

The kicker is that the company has a practice where they decline your addon
if they know it has another addon, even if it's open source.  So publishers
are just including these other addons in a non standard way so that the
company won't notice and won't decline their addon.

If this seems confusing it's because it is.  The end result here is
conservatively thousands of these addons being distributed with open source
libraries that don't have licenses attached.  Just including the license in
a certain way (where the employees reviewing the addon can notice it) will
get it declined.

I'm interested in bringing attention to this in a way that makes them
change and looking for suggestions on the best way to do that.  But I don't
want to cause any trouble for the people that have submitted all of these
addons that are in violation.  Yes they should know better, but they
wouldn't be in the position they are if the company didn't have such a
crazy policy.
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