Don Marti

Thu 18 May 2006 07:08:59 PM PDT

Wall fought the law, and Wall won, or I Sued the Sheriff

Seth Schoen sent me a link to the 9th Circuit decision in Wall Data v. Los Angeles County. Interesting point here.

"Finally, the district court decision to exclude Wall Data's instructions to sales personnel describing RUMBA software licenses was not reversible error. The licenses clearly state that reliance should not be placed on representations made by Wall Data employees."

In this case, the LA County Sheriff's Department imaged about 6000 drives with a proprietary software product, but only gave access to the software to about 3000 users. Does the license let you do that? Or, how about installing n copies on a server and letting all m users run the software?

Don't ask your sales rep. According to the Ninth Circuit, he or she is allowed to mislead you. No matter what the company tells you about the license, you still need to have your own lawyer check it out.

This is a powerful argument for standardized licenses. Get a lawyer to put it on your approved list once and you're good for all software under that license. The Free Software side does have an advantage here, as long as we keep to a common set of licenses and don't start slinging " Open Source License" around.