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Zotero is being sued

According to a recent article on the Courthouse News Service, Thomas Reuters (makers of EndNote) are suing the inventor of Zotero.  This is very sad news for those of us who have grown to love Zotero.  This is one of the dangers of Open Source tools and should be another alarm for the crisis we are facing in innovation.

If the claim is valid, the GMU creator should be reprimanded.  I have a feeling that there will have been something amiss in the claim.  The funding for this project came from several well-known sources and I would hope that their lawyers looked at the plans before dealing out the money.

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  1. Rick
    10/06/2008 at 3:01 am

    Most of the claim is demonstrably false–the origin of the feature to use the undocumented EndNote style files “as-is” and the origin for all open citation style languages is public knowledge. The Zotero developers decided not to ship any EndNote styles or to convert EndNote styles over copyright concerns.

    Even if Thomson Reuters claims were accurate, why should the devs be reprimanded? There is little creativity in style files & they may not be copyrightable (just as simple formulas or recipes can not carry a copyright). Furthermore, many EndNote style files were not created by Thomson Reuters–they were created by publishers and end users. I’d certainly like to have the ability to use what I created in any way that I wish!

    Finally, this is just a contract dispute. Who knows if all people at a university are held to a site license agreement (particularly if they do not use the software that is licensed)?

    Thomson Reuters’s filing is bone-headed. They got their facts wrong and their image will be blackened & bruised by taking on a public university and free/open source software.

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