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Subject: Re: Legal issues, names, privacy, and pseudonyms
From: Björn Stenberg (bjorn_at_haxx.se)
Date: 2004-06-09


Fred Maxwell wrote:
> I am a strong advocate of privacy and have to side with Bluechip on this
> one. Suppose, for instance, that Bluechip holds a job with the RIAA.

Yes, let's suppose an anonymous contributor was holding a job as a programmer at RIAA, writing DRM code for portable audio players. Suppose then some lawyer at RIAA finds out he has been contributing code to Rockbox, a "contraband" player firmware that allows people to listen to shared music without DRM restrictions. Suppose RIAA has one of those mandatory signoffs that say all code you write is the property of your employer. RIAA then has valid legal claims to core Rockbox code...

I don't want to have to think about scenarios like that. There is no way to make us immune to it, but one way to reduce the risk is to have people "bet their name" on their contributions. It is well established that anonymity breeds irresponsibility, and lawyers know it too.

Note that I'm not saying Bluechip is some shady figure trying to slip in other people's code. This has nothing to do with him. What I'm saying is that I want Rockbox to be sparkling clean without a speck of suspicion when lawyers come around digging for dirt. You could say I'm being overly cautious, but I prefer to err on the side of safety. It has worked well for us so far.

-- 
Björn
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