[linux-elitists] [jv@zork.net: [pigdog] SCO goes public with news, private with evidence]

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Thu Aug 7 12:27:04 PDT 2003

Quoting Martin Pool (mbp@samba.org):

> Is there an equity principle in US law or in the copyright code that
> parties should act in good faith and promptly?  

It puts me in mind, at least, of the civil-law doctrine of "laches"
(derived from the French word for negligence).  

In general, a party whose rights have allegedly been infringed is
expected to be vigilant in acting to minimise or curtail that damage.
Laches is an affirmative defence that can be raised by the defending
party:  Neglecting to do what should or could have been done to assert a
claim or right, or neglecting to act to minimse alleged damage, prejudices 
one ability to assert that claim or right.

The law outlines what one is supposed to do with copyright infringers:  
You notify them of the infringing action, and get them to stop.  In some
cases, especially willful infringement, you might also be able to
extract damages.  But failure to substantively give notice, it seems to
me, shows exactly the sort negligence the doctrine of laches entails.
Saying "I'm sorry, J.K. Rowling, you've wrongfully parts of _Gone with
the Wind_ into your novels and now owe damages to the Margaret Mitchell
estate -- but we won't show you where because you might fix it" means
you're _not_ seeking to end the alleged infringement at all, but rather
aim to use copyright law as a protection racket.

"Is it not the beauty of an asynchronous form of discussion that one can go and 
make cups of tea, floss the cat, fluff the geraniums, open the kitchen window 
and scream out it with operatic force, volume, and decorum, and then return to 
the vexed glowing letters calmer of mind and soul?" -- The Cube, forum3000.org

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