Open-Source Copyright Conflict Heats Up

A quick resolution to the Mambo open-source copyright dispute seems unlikely now that one of the parties has rejected an offer for mediation.

The copyright dispute between Furthermore Inc. and Miro International Pty Ltd. over the open-source Mambo content management system heated up on Wednesday when the parties couldnt even agree to talk over their problems.

Chicago-based Furthermore has claimed that some of the code used in Mambo OS was stolen from Furthermore and improperly placed into open source. Miro, of Melbourne, Australia, owns the copyright to Mambo.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about the Mambo copyright dispute.

The Open Source Software Institute had offered to act as a neutral mediator between the parties, but "one of the parties" has rejected that offer, according to John Weathersby, executive director of OSSI. "Therefore, OSSI has informed both parties that we totally and completely recuse ourselves as participants in this situation," he said.

As a result, Brian Connolly, Furthermores president, said his company expects "to send out Cease and Desist letters [to Mambo users] in the coming weeks."

Connolly said he has no other option because Miro has done nothing to try to resolve the dispute. "In light of the fact that Miro has acknowledged that there is an argument about the use of the code, theyve clearly decided again to shift the burden of that responsibility onto end users. Again plainly, User Beware!!"

Despite the impass, Connolly said that he was still more than ready to negotiate with Miro and Mambo.

"Im miffed because Peter Lamont, CEO of Miro, wouldnt even agree to a framework to have discussions," said Connolly.

Miro has announced that it is seeking legal advice and proposes to bring an action against Connolly and Furthermore seeking to restrain Connolly from making further legal threats.

Weathersby, while declining to comment on any details of this dispute, said the open-source community needs "to address these kinds of disputes as pragmatic business men.

"These conflicts will happen. We need to set up mediation boards with professional mediation and binding arbitration for issues relating to open-source software, just as there are in other industries," Weathersby said.

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