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Official Statements and Responses  
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
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Official Statements and Responses
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DEVELOPER'S STATEMENT 18.09.2004

Disclaimer: The statement below expresses my personal views and not the views of Mambo development team or Miro International Pty.

Back in September 2003 Mr Connolly paid me to do the Mambo Open Source customization for his site Literatigroup.com. There was no copyright agreement or contract signed.

One of the customizations I did was to enable a “leading story followed by two stories in separate columns” alteration of the frontpage component. I modified an existing Mambo frontpage component and hardcoded nine lines of code that would display the leading story. This alteration was a copy from another part of the original frontpage component released under GPL and copyrighted by Miro International Pty. I was not the original author of the frontpage component in question and thus, Brian Connolly does not own this code.

A month later (October 3, 2003) I developed similar functionality and contributed it to Mambo core. I did not use the same code as the nine lines delivered to Connolly. I implemented a different, dynamic solution with selectable frontpage settings. Again, this code was not same or derived from the snippet made for Literatigroup.com. It was a different development which can be verified by comparing the frontpage component files (I have all files in question).

Mr Connolly still claims that Mambo contains the code developed for him when in fact it does not. If you would take a look, you would see that the code in Connolly’s site differs from the code in any version of Mambo. While software implementation can be protected by copyright laws, ideas in software are not covered by copyright. Nothing stops anyone to implement the same (in this case just a similar) functionality using different code. Not to mention that the whole file was a GPL derivative and, as such, must remain GPL.

Mr Connolly still seems to think that he owns exclusive rights to the “leading story” concept in Mambo and requests the frontpage component re-licensed according to his terms. There were hundreds of sites all over the internet that used the same layout even before October 3rd 2003, so Connolly cannot say it was originally his idea (for example see http://news.bbc.co.uk).

I should mention that Connolly has distributed copies of Mambo under the GPL on his homepage (http://www.literatigroup.com/furthermore/, now removed, screenshot available) which means he has acknowledged that Mambo is GPL and Copyright Miro International Pty. Connolly has only contacted Mambo about a year after alleged breach and during this time he was an active forum member knowing of the existence of this functionality in Mambo core. Connolly also sent threatening emails to mambo users directly and has harassed them (see http://www.mamboportal.com/content/view/1562/). He has been taking my words out of context and posted flat lies in try to prove the claims he can’t prove by simply comparing the code in question.

To summarize it: 1) The code delivered to Brian Connolly is not the same as the code implemented in Mambo. 2) The code delivered to Brian Connolly was derived from GPL, Copyright Miro International Pty. 3) Brian Connolly distributed copies of Mambo that had the so-called 'infringing' functionality under the GPL. 4) There are no copyright assignments with my signature on. 5) Brian Connolly has no trademarks or patents on anything resembling the disputed functionality.

Emir Sakic

FURTHERMORE'S RESPONSE TO DEVELOPER'S STATEMENT

-- With regard to Mr. Sakic's disclaimer, it certainly makes a key point. Ironically, it is now clear that he is unclear about his affiliation, legal and otherwise. When he was under contract with us, when he agreed to transferring all copyrights to us, prior to and at the time of his misappropriation of our code, we certainly thought/expected his loyalty was with us. Then again, when Mambo accepted the stolen code, and as they now have him listed as a lead developer, we assume that they believe Sakic is an agent of Mambo.  Sakic makes it very confusing.

-- With regard to Mr. Sakic's statement that "there was no copyright agreement or contract signed," this is FALSE AND MISLEADING. The following is the email (and header) from Mr. Sakic confirming our agreement. Note a key stipulation was in his words "Upon finished project all copyright rights to code written by me will belong to literatigroup.com."

return-path: [email protected] Envelop-to: [email protected] Delivery-date: Tue, 02 Sep 2003 16:48:17 -0700 Received: from law9-f66.law9.hotmail.com ([64.4.9.66] helo=hotmail.com) by host44.ipowerweb.com with esmtp (Exim 3.36 #1) id 19uKsj-0006pC-00 for [email protected]; Tue, 02 Sep 2003 16:48:17 -0700 Received: from mail pickup service by hotmail.com with Microsoft SMTPSVC; Tue, 2 Sep 2003 16:47:59 -0700 Received: from 213.100.48.109 by lw9fd.law9.hotmail.msn.com with HTTP; Tue, 02 Sep 2003 23:47:59 GMT X-Originating-IP: [213.100.48.109] X-Originating-Email: [[email protected]] From: "Emir Sakic" To: [email protected] Bcc: Subject: agreement letter Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2003 01:47:59 +0200 Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed Message-ID: X-OriginalArrivalTime: 02 Sep 2003 23:47:59.0703 (UTC) FILETIME=[A40B6670:01C371AC]

-----Original Message----- From: Emir Sakic [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2003 6:48 PM To: [email protected] Subject: agreement letter Agreement Letter

I hereby state to complete the programming project for literatigroup.com under the following terms:

- Project consists of various modifications and customizations of Mambo Open Source CMS for the client [redacted]

- Project will be completed latest 20. september 2003 - Client will pay [redacted] US deposit and [redacted] US upon finished project

- Upon finished project all copyright rights to code written by me will belong to literatigroup.com Emir Sakic

-- With regard to Sakic's statement that "This alteration was a copy from another part of the original frontpage component released under GPL and copyrighted by Miro International Pty. I was not the original author of the frontpage component in question and thus, Brian Connolly does not own this code." This is FALSE AND MISLEADING and the legal conclusion ERRONEOUS. Bottom line: under contract, new code was developed and added to our codebase. We own that. We've never release it. It was misappropriated by Mr. Sakic and contributed to Mambo without our permission.

-- With regard to Sakic's statement that "A month later (October 3, 2003) I developed similar functionality and contributed it to Mambo core. I did not use the same code as the nine lines delivered to Connolly. I implemented a different, dynamic solution with selectable frontpage settings. Again, this code was not same or derived from the snippet made for Literatigroup.com. It was a different development which can be verified by comparing the frontpage component files (I have all files in question). THIS, TOO, IS FALSE AND MISLEADING. At the onset of the development of the "Lead Story Block," we requested and paid for a component to manage it. Pardon the analogy but Mr. Sakic is now arguing that he in effect developed the car for us… and then car with steering wheel for Mambo. That's nonsense. Moreover, we have the receipt for payment on that specifically stipulates "Fix for ordering on the Frontpage. New articles to automatically take first position by default and then order can then be adjusted in admin." But again, in Sakic's words October 03, 2003, "Brian, I implemented double column and double column with lead story to official Mambo. Hope you don't mind."

Here, just a month ago (8/18), in an email to us regarding the matter, Sakic underscores a few key points. And here we also respond to each:

SAKIC: "Why didn't you demand that I remove the code then?" FURTHERMORE: We did communicate our objection to the misappropriation then. Sakic's response to us was, "Hehe I was afraid you would feel like that."

SAKIC: "Why didn't you get me sign an explicit agreement that I couldn't do that before we even started?" FURTHERMORE: We did have an explicit agreement (see above).

SAKIC: "I never again used any of the code I did for you anywhere else." FURTHERMORE: We are pleased to hear that Sakic only misappropriated our property once.

SAKIC: "I say again, maybe I shouldn't put the damn thing in the [Mambo] core." FURTHERMORE: Agreed.

SAKIC: "I think you should drop it and consider the leading story idea as a contribution to Mambo project." FURTHERMORE: How we contribute to Mambo is our choice to make.

-- With regard to Mr. Sakic's "Mr Connolly still claims that Mambo contains the code developed for him when in fact it does not." THIS, TOO, IS FALSE AND MISLEADING. Bottom line: The original code that is the basis for the present code in Mambo was gotten improperly. Also, the right to use any/all derivative works also was/is not granted as defined by law.

-- With regard to Mr. Sakic's assertion, "I should mention that Connolly has distributed copies of Mambo under the GPL," this is ALSO FALSE AND MISLEADING. We take particular exception to this one. Mambo is trying to make the case that by distributing the code, we acknowledge and are then bound to the GPL provisions. HOWEVER, we have NOT distributed the the code. We indeed have a staging area that has various components listed. However, download is by registration only. Among other things, Mr. Sakic was also hired to modify the user registration to ensure that we could prohibit distribution and we have.




CAST YOUR VOTE
What form of resolution is best for Open Source?
Parties compromise and agree to a reasonable settlement
Parties defer to Industry arbitration
Castley and Mambo hobbiest ignore it hoping it goes away
Furthermore sues individual Users
Various opinions and mudslinging in tech and business press ongoing
  
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