Re: The OSI/SPI situation (was Re: [DRAFT 3]: Charter for the Open Source Committee)

From: "Darren O(dot) Benham" <gecko(at)benham(dot)net>
To: "graydon(at)pobox(dot)com" <graydon(at)pobox(dot)com>
Cc: spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Re: The OSI/SPI situation (was Re: [DRAFT 3]: Charter for the Open Source Committee)
Date: 1999-11-09 04:47:30
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On Mon, Nov 08, 1999 at 11:22:06PM -0500, graydon(at)pobox(dot)com wrote:
> (1) What kind of a legal entity / organization is OSI? It says on the
> website that it is a nonprofit seeking 501(c)3 in California. What
> does this mean, particularly outside Cali? How is it legally or
> financially related to SPI?
OSI, itself, is not related to SPI. The process they are going through,
however, is something that SPI has completed. Being a 501(c)3, basicly,
means that dontations to the organization are tax deductable. There are a
bunch of other things but that's the major one as the organization relates
to the outside world.

> (3) Has the Open Source trademark, in its legally registered form
> (enforceable or not) lapsed, as in timed out, as in
> no-longer-exists? Or does anyone have a piece of paper somewhere
> which says "Bobo owns the trademark 'Open Source'". If so, who is
> Bobo? And what is the juristiction of the trademark?
Yes, it has formally lapsed and does not exist in any registered form.

> (4) whois says Darren and Martin are contacts for the domain
> opensource.(org|net), whereas Bruce and Tim are contacts for
> open-source.(org|net). Who is on which board, and who is trying to
> hold/transfer which domain(s)? It sounds like there's some
> disagreement on this too. Who here actually feels like it's
> "their" domain and they should be the contacts? Everyone? Why do
> they feel this way? Do they have any legal grounds for this
> feeling? This probably depends a little on #1, doesn't it? Does
> anyone here know enough Domain Name Law" to know which of the 2
> organizations can hold claim to which names? (remember, short
> answers)
This starts with a very straight forward answer from InterNic.. the
"Registrant" of any domain is the owner of that domain. It's the
registrant of said domains that get to say who each contact is. The fact
that Darren and Martin are contacts for one and Bruce and Tim are contacts
for the other are at the whim of the registrant.

> (5) OSI was, by SPI's (self-interested) telling, established to
> monitor the Open Source trademark, which SPI owns. OSI claims
> (truthfully or not) that this trademark is defunct, and is now
> certifying software using the "OSI Certified Open Source"
> certification mark. At this point, is OSI effectively saying that
> they (the board members) do not want to have anything to do with
> the SPI board members anymore? If so, why not just say so? What is
> tying the two groups together if they disagree, goodwill? In other
> words, how is any of this different from me going out and making a
> Funky Software Initiative, and beginning to certify things
> Certifiably Funky Open Source? Certainly SPI would not have
> anything to do with that -- why is OSI any different anymore? Is
> is it just the domain name?
The only official connection between OSI and SPI is the
domain. They've been using the domain name ever since they started
monitoring the open source trademark. Now they have requested SPI to
transfer legal ownership (registration) of that domain name.

> (6) out of curiosity: does SPI have any plans on forking another group
> to certify things, assuming that OSI's certifications are not
> agreeable? Or is OSI doing right by SPI these days? If not, is
> there any legal or financial recourse?
No formal statement has been issued but there are people in SPI who feel
less than satisfied with how OSI has been handling several recent licence
issues. The committee proposal that sparked Russ's outrage is being formed
to explore such issues as the Open Source Mark, the final end of the domain and such issues. Forking another group is not
possible as SPI is not OSI.. creating another group would, I suppose, be an
alternative but it's hard to see that happening (to me). We'll have to see
what the Committee comes up with.
> to work out what's happening. Please don't take this as fuel for
> flames. I just want to get a picture of the current situation as each
I agree.. this is not meant to be any sort of fuel for flames and I won't
participate if anyone reading this trys to add flame to the flammibles

This is also not an Board Approved response. This are answers from my
knowledge and opinion... opinion needing hightlighting..

Please cc all mailing list replies to me, also.
* <gecko(at)benham(dot)net> <>< *
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