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saulgoode
October 9th, 2008, 04:14 PM
This discussion is prompted by the reasoning presented for the closure of this thread (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=5925830#post5925830).


No matter what people's opinions are, no one here is able to practice law on this forum, and the giving of legal advice is not allowed.

This thread was closed because the answer is written clearly in the trademark policy and any input here would be unlawful legal practice, or off topic, not because of any other reason, least of all the example uri's given...

First, whether the trademark policy is written clearly is a matter of personal interpretation, and it might indeed be clarification of wording of that policy which the querent seeks (perhaps even owing to a less than formidable command of the English language). In addtion, the validity of assertions of the trademark policy may be dubious -- trademark enforcement is premised on the likelihood of confusion between the services/products, not whether one name contains a portion of the other.

Furthermore, beyond any discussion of the legal issues broach by the thread topic, responses might very well address the civility aspect of URL naming (i.e, what would be the "polite" approach); or perhaps the effectiveness of presenting the desired message; or even the aesthetic aspects in attracting a target audience. Such responses would not even approach the allegedly illegal "unauthorized practice of law".

Yet most disconcerting is the seeming assertion in the closure reasons that "giving legal advice" is not allowed under the forum's Code of Conduct. Since the CoC does not specify such a prohibition explicitly, the staff member appears to have presumed that "giving legal advice" would equate to "unlawful legal practice". Such a presumption presents a problem for any and all discussions in the forums, especially so if threads should be preemptively closed because respondents might post responses that might cross the line of engaging in unlawful legal practice, and in so doing, preclude worthwhile legitimate discussion from occurring.

If giving advice on any issue of legality is deemed to be equivalent to engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, the ramifications are extremely dire for reasonable discourse taking place in the forums. Is every thread where someone asks about giving away a ShipIt to be locked because it is a legal issue? If someone suggests returning an uninstalled Windows for a refund is that thread to be locked because that person is offering advice on a legal transaction? When it was proposed Firefox be removed from Ubuntu because of its EULA and trademarks, was that not "giving legal advice"? Did any of these constitute "unlawful legal practice"? (When the FSF requested comments and criticisms of the GPL3, where all the responses breaking the law?)

I would propose that the forums adopt the interpretation of "unlawful legal practice" based on the definition of legal practice provided by the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in January of this year (http://www.ftc.gov/os/2008/01/V080004letter.pdf) wherein it is stated:
The Justice Department and the FTC believe that the definition of the practice of law should be limited to activities for which specialized legal knowledge and training is demonstrably necessary to protect consumers and an attorney-client relationship is present.

I propose this not because these forums fall under U.S. code, but because it is a reasonable interpretation that best serves the staff, forum members, the legal profession, and the public at large. It is unreasonable to prohibit the sharing of experience, knowledge, philosophy, and criticism in this community merely based on a fear that discussion may lead to a post opining on a legal pertinence -- practically every question of "should I" or "shouldn't I" could invite comment on legal issues, and such commentary should not be considered illegal.

hyper_ch
October 9th, 2008, 05:05 PM
No matter what people's opinions are, no one here is able to practice law on this forum, and the giving of legal advice is not allowed.
I wonder why no one is able to practice law on this forum and where it says that giving legal advice is not allowed?

The funny thing is though that with that statement you sort of give legal advice also ;)

LaRoza
October 9th, 2008, 05:54 PM
I wonder why no one is able to practice law on this forum and where it says that giving legal advice is not allowed?


In the law. Unlawful legal practices are against the law in almost every country that I can think of. This forum has a rule against breaking the laws:



6. Adult Content/Violence/Illegal Activity: Messages containing sexually oriented/violent/illegal dialogue, images, content, or links to these things will be deleted. Messages with links to or suggesting illegal activity will also be deleted. Posting or linking to any of these could result in a ban.


The course of action for that particular thread was laid out in the policy of the company and keeping the thread opening was pointless and would invite violations of that rule.

hyper_ch
October 9th, 2008, 06:28 PM
now, what do you understand by "no one is able to practice law on this forum" and "unlawful legal practices"? IMHO that refers to different things ;)

LaRoza
October 9th, 2008, 06:36 PM
now, what do you understand by "no one is able to practice law on this forum" and "unlawful legal practices"? IMHO that refers to different things ;)

Are you a lawyer?

Perhaps I should word it differently.

I'll put it plainly, in Latin, for the lawyers: Mea navis aėricumbens anguillis abundat

For everyone else, don't give legal advise on the forum. Simple.

hyper_ch
October 9th, 2008, 06:51 PM
I do have a little legal background and that latin phrase, what are you trying to express with it?

LaRoza
October 9th, 2008, 06:52 PM
I do have a little legal background and that latin phrase, what are you trying to express with it?

Humour, for the geeks.

I also have legal background (well, Criminal Law only) although I am not a lawyer.

KiwiNZ
October 10th, 2008, 03:46 AM
The answer is .

The providing of legal advice , counsel or opinion is forbidden on these forums.

If you need that sort of advice seek it from a duly qualified person in the country you reside.
or the country that the query relates to.

End of discussion

LaRoza
October 10th, 2008, 09:25 AM
End of discussion

Unless you understand Latin :-)

That phrase of mine means "My hovercraft is full of eels".

saulgoode
October 10th, 2008, 02:00 PM
The answer is .

The providing of legal advice , counsel or opinion is forbidden on these forums.
Where is this prohibition stipulated? It is not mentioned in the Code of Conduct.

LaRoza
October 10th, 2008, 02:07 PM
Where is this prohibition stipulated? It is not mentioned in the Code of Conduct.

Number 6, illegal activity.

hyper_ch
October 10th, 2008, 02:11 PM
giving legal advice is not an illegal activity per se :)

giving illegal advice would be ;)

LaRoza
October 10th, 2008, 02:13 PM
giving legal advice is not an illegal activity per se :)


It is, on this forum.

hyper_ch
October 10th, 2008, 02:13 PM
legal advice cannot be illegal ;)

LaRoza
October 10th, 2008, 02:14 PM
legal advice cannot be illegal ;)

There is no such thing as legal legal advice on this forum.

Illegally giving illegal legal advice is the only way possible to do it on this forum.

saulgoode
October 10th, 2008, 02:17 PM
Number 6, illegal activity.

Presuming that providing a legal opinion is illegal is itself a legal opinion.

How do you expect to moderate a rule which demands that application of the rule inheres a violation of that rule?

hyper_ch
October 10th, 2008, 02:21 PM
legal advice cannot be illegal... illegal = against the law... forums rules != law

lukjad007
October 10th, 2008, 02:25 PM
So, to understand this, asking what the GNU Public Licence means and if it is applicable in my country would be fruitless as it would be illegal for anyone to answer me? I'm not too sure if I'm reading this right.

hyper_ch
October 10th, 2008, 02:27 PM
wikipedia is also interesting on this topic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_advice


In the common law, legal advice is the giving of a formal opinion regarding the substance or procedure of the law by an officer of the court (such as solicitor or barrister), ordinarily in exchange for financial or other tangible compensation. Advice given without remuneration is normally referred to as being pro bono publico (in the public good), or colloquially, pro bono.


Basically as long as you don't charge for it you don't give legal advice ;)

tariquepark
October 10th, 2008, 02:37 PM
having read the original thread i think everyone has completely missed the point and are debating an unwinable argument on both sides
the original posted in what i would think was the perfect place to find out what he/she should do or where to go to find out
all that was required( particularly from the mods and admin)
was " please direct this question to "whoever it should be" rather than making such a big deal perhaps with an email link or something
also no advice on any of the posts were claiming to be legal advice and i dont think anyone on these forums would be naive enough to believe it to be so
my 2 cents

LaRoza
October 10th, 2008, 02:46 PM
We don't want people acting on information on this forum which could lead them to legal troubles. In most legal discussions, people say "I am not a lawyer" but they give what they know and advise to consult authorities on the matter if there is any doubt.

Basically, the thread that was closed had the policy stated clearly and it was closed to prevent anyone from giving bad advice because there was no other advice that could be given.

hyper_ch
October 10th, 2008, 02:50 PM
if you'd take any legal opinion given on a forum for granted you are doomed anyway. IMHO it's a question about how much credit do you give people to think for themselves.

tariquepark
October 10th, 2008, 02:54 PM
so where does that leave the OP then? with a shut down thread, feeling as though noone can help and may not come back. is that really what we are trying to do here?
and I for one still have no idea as to what the OP should do or where to find such information?

its ok i found it http://www.ubuntu.com/aboutus/trademarkpolicy

Permitted Use

Certain usages of the Trademarks are fine and no specific permission from us is needed.

Community Advocacy. Ubuntu is built by, and largely for, its community. We share access to the Trademarks with the entire community for the purposes of discussion, development and advocacy. We recognise that most of the open source discussion and development areas are for non-commercial purposes and will allow the use of the trademarks in this context, provided:

*

the Trademark is used in a manner consistent with the Usage Guidelines below
*

there is no commercial intent behind the use
*

what you are referring to is in fact Ubuntu. If someone is confused into thinking that what isn't Ubuntu is in fact Ubuntu, you are probably doing something wrong.
*

there is no suggestion (through words or appearance) that your project is approved, sponsored, or affiliated with Ubuntu or its related projects unless it actually has been approved by and is accountable to the Ubuntu Community Council


im thinking that the OP certainly fit this category?

pp.
October 10th, 2008, 03:08 PM
if you'd take any legal opinion given on a forum for granted you are doomed anyway.

Under that premise, why would anyone ask in a forum about legal matters, and why would anyone reply to such questions?

Anyway, I think this thread goes about its supposed business in lopsided manner.

Why can't we just agree that the management of this forum does not tolerate the giving of advice in a whole lot of disciplines such as law or medicine?

It's utterly useless to debate if such advice might be useful, harmful, educational or whatever to the giver and the recipient. The owners of this forum have thought about that matter, they have decreed that they do not want such stuff on the forum and they have communicated it.

End of story.

cyberdork33
October 10th, 2008, 03:11 PM
so where does that leave the OP then? with a shut down thread, feeling as though noone can help and may not come back. is that really what we are trying to do here?
and I for one still have no idea as to what the OP should do or where to find such information?

its ok i found it http://www.ubuntu.com/aboutus/trademarkpolicy

im thinking that the OP certainly fit this category?
which is already linked / quoted in the closed thread...

koenn
October 10th, 2008, 04:12 PM
Why can't we just agree that the management of this forum does not tolerate the giving of advice in a whole lot of disciplines such as law or medicine?

The owners of this forum have thought about that matter, they have decreed that they do not want such stuff on the forum and they have communicated it.

End of story.
Well, it's a bit sudden.
I've seen a pile of threads discussing the legalities of using the ubuntu logo, selling open source software on Ebay, the naming of "ubuntu-based" distro's, license, patent and copyright issues .... In all of those threads, people would give their opinion on what they think about the matter, or point to places where more info on the subject is available. All of this is some form of advice on legal issues, and apparently, now suddenly all of this advice is considered "unlawful legal practice" so that it can fit under rule #6: Illigal activity is not allowed - and the first and only communication I've seen about it is in this thread, in reply to a post by a forum member, not initiated by a mod or an admin.

So technically "they have decreed that they do not want such stuff on the forum and they have communicated it." but it is a bit of a weird way to go about it, don't you think ?

DrMega
October 10th, 2008, 04:34 PM
The answer is .

The providing of legal advice , counsel or opinion is forbidden on these forums.

If you need that sort of advice seek it from a duly qualified person in the country you reside.
or the country that the query relates to.

End of discussion



giving legal advice is not an illegal activity per se :)

giving illegal advice would be ;)

It is, on this forum.

If you are telling us it is illegal to give legal advice on this forum, then aren't you breaking the law by advising us that it is illegal to give legal advice?

LaRoza
October 10th, 2008, 05:27 PM
so where does that leave the OP then? with a shut down thread, feeling as though noone can help and may not come back. is that really what we are trying to do here?
and I for one still have no idea as to what the OP should do or where to find such information?


No, search the policy, or see my quoted portion of it. It explicitly says one must ask for permission for having it in domain names.


If you are telling us it is illegal to give legal advice on this forum, then aren't you breaking the law by advising us that it is illegal to give legal advice?

No.

lukjad007
October 10th, 2008, 05:29 PM
This is one of the funniest and most confusing threads I have read in this section.

rune0077
October 10th, 2008, 05:46 PM
If it's illegal to give legal advice about illegal activities, would it also be considered illegal to give legal advice about legal activities? And if it's legal for a mod to give illegal advice about legal activities, is it also legal for a mod to give illegal advice about illegal activities?

(I have no idea what I just asked, but it sounds pretty funny if read out loud :))

LaRoza
October 10th, 2008, 05:47 PM
(I have no idea what I just asked, but it sounds pretty funny if read out loud :))
Yeah, we were doing that earlier.

DrMega
October 10th, 2008, 06:05 PM
No.

How so?

LaRoza
October 10th, 2008, 06:07 PM
If you are telling us it is illegal to give legal advice on this forum, then aren't you breaking the law by advising us that it is illegal to give legal advice?


How so?

Informing someone of the law isn't legal advice. I am offering no opinion or interpretation of it.

If that doesn't satisfy, use this because the admins said so.

chucky chuckaluck
October 10th, 2008, 06:15 PM
is saying "murder is illegal in the US" against forum rules?

DrMega
October 10th, 2008, 06:15 PM
Informing someone of the law isn't legal advice. I am offering no opinion or interpretation of it.

If that doesn't satisfy, use this because the admins said so.

Ok. So just to be clear in my mind, if I said to someone "The Data Protection means you have a legal duty to protect personal data from unauthorised use", that would be ok, but if I then went on to say "that means you should..." then that would not be OK?

LaRoza
October 10th, 2008, 06:27 PM
is saying "murder is illegal in the US" against forum rules?

Murder, by definition, is illegal everywhere.

Homicide, the act of a human killing another human, isn't always illegal. Manslaughter, Murder and other forms of homicide are usually illegal, with a few exceptions for accidents, self defense or state executions.

So saying "murder is illegal" is like saying "water is wet".


Ok. So just to be clear in my mind, if I said to someone "The Data Protection means you have a legal duty to protect personal data from unauthorised use", that would be ok, but if I then went on to say "that means you should..." then that would not be OK?

Beats me. I am not a lawyer.

cyberdork33
October 10th, 2008, 06:30 PM
is saying "murder is illegal in the US" against forum rules?
Saying "Murder is illegal" is much different than saying "I don't think that all instances of killing is considered murder". The first is fact, the second is opinion.

Take the Apple OS X EULA, for example, that people indirectly ask about quite often. It states that you can run one copy of the OS on Apple hardware. That can be stated, and even quoted from the EULA itself, but speculating on what that actually means or how to work around that language "legally" is a different story.

LaRoza
October 10th, 2008, 06:32 PM
Saying "Murder is illegal" is much different than saying "I don't think that all instances of killing is considered murder". The first is fact, the second is opinion.

No, the second is also a fact, as I pointed out :-)



Take the Apple OS X EULA, for example, that people indirectly ask about quite often. It states that you can run one copy of the OS on Apple hardware. That can be stated, and even quoted from the EULA itself, but speculating on what that actually means or how to work around that language "legally" is a different story.
And since the same wording is used in Windows versions of Safari, it is even more confusing.

chucky chuckaluck
October 10th, 2008, 06:39 PM
is it the content of what one says that makes a statement an illegal practice of law, or is it the appearance of giving legal advice, when one is unauthorized to do so, the illegal practice?

hyper_ch
October 10th, 2008, 06:41 PM
Murder, by definition, is illegal everywhere.
I challenge that... do you know all 200+ criminal law conceptions in the world? You assume that all of them have a crime "murder" in them. I might well envision that is not the case. I rather daresay all of them have a homicide. Murder here is a qualification of homicide with certain elements so I might as well envision that there are criminal law conceptions out there that do not have "murder".



Saying "Murder is illegal" is much different than saying "I don't think that all instances of killing is considered murder". The first is fact, the second is opinion.

Take the Apple OS X EULA, for example, that people indirectly ask about quite often. It states that you can run one copy of the OS on Apple hardware. That can be stated, and even quoted from the EULA itself, but speculating on what that actually means or how to work around that language "legally" is a different story.
Problem is, by just copying and pasting the legal formulation you also give an opinion (or "advice") and it even more so depends on the context and how you present that forumlation. Just by copy'n'pasting it you interprete it already.

pp.
October 10th, 2008, 07:04 PM
I challenge that... do you know all 200+ criminal law conceptions in the world? You assume that all of them have a crime "murder" in them.

I would be willing to place a (smallish) bet that the definition of the word 'murder' contains the element of illegality. That makes the phrase 'murder is against the law' a tautology. Hence, any country in which a term with that definition is unknown can not be considered in that context.

pp.
October 10th, 2008, 07:06 PM
is it the content of what one says that makes a statement an illegal practice of law, or is it the appearance of giving legal advice, when one is unauthorized to do so, the illegal practice?

Why don't we just start a thread with the purpose of answering the question about how many angels can sit on the head of a needle, or where your lap goes when you stand up?

hyper_ch
October 10th, 2008, 07:11 PM
I would be willing to place a (smallish) bet that the definition of the word 'murder' contains the element of illegality. That makes the phrase 'murder is against the law' a tautology. Hence, any country in which a term with that definition is unknown can not be considered in that context.

Hmmm, you have to differentiate between common use of murder and murder in legal terms. The act of murder is against the law by including it as crime in the criminal law. If murder was not defined in the criminal codex then it would not be illegal and just reduced to a homicide.

LaRoza
October 10th, 2008, 07:16 PM
I challenge that... do you know all 200+ criminal law conceptions in the world? You assume that all of them have a crime "murder" in them. I might well envision that is not the case. I rather daresay all of them have a homicide. Murder here is a qualification of homicide with certain elements so I might as well envision that there are criminal law conceptions out there that do not have "murder".


Homicide, by definition is just the killing of a human being by another.

Murder has variety tests, but it is always the unlawful killing of another.

There are other acts of criminal homicide, like manslaughter, degrees of murder, etc.

Murder http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder

pp.
October 10th, 2008, 07:17 PM
Hmmm, you have to differentiate between common use of murder ...

I don't. Usually, I solve my differences by other means.

KiwiNZ
October 10th, 2008, 07:32 PM
The answer is .

The providing of legal advice , counsel or opinion is forbidden on these forums.

If you need that sort of advice seek it from a duly qualified person in the country you reside.
or the country that the query relates to.


" or any other material that may violate any applicable laws." source COC


End of discussion