Erlang forums (was Re: PING TEST)

Ivan Uemlianin ivan@REDACTED
Thu Dec 16 18:23:40 CET 2021

The problem with the Erlang Forum ToS is not at all the content, which 
is standard.  The problem is that they claim the terms are legally 
binding but there is no indication who or what is the legal entity 
behind Erlang Forums.

The domain name is registered anonymously in Iceland.

Is Ericsson the legal entity that owns  If not, who is?


On 16/12/2021 16:27, Fred Hebert wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 15, 2021 at 12:53 PM Scott Ribe 
> <scott_ribe@REDACTED> wrote:
>     > On Dec 15, 2021, at 10:27 AM, Contact | Erlang Forums
>     <contact@REDACTED> wrote:
>     >
>     > This is not the case. Code use is based on context and intent.
>     So if somebody posts a code snippet in a thread where someone is
>     asking a question about how to do something, they are, by
>     contributing to the thread, implicitly stating that that person
>     (or anyone reading the thread in future) may use that code in the
>     context of the thread that they posted their snippet in (otherwise
>     they wouldn't have contributed to it).
>     While I imagine this is the INTENT, the ToS restrictions go well
>     beyond:
>     "You may not adapt, alter or create a derivative work from any
> <> content except for your
>     own personal, non-commercial use."
>     "You may not copy, reproduce, republish, post, broadcast,
>     download, transmit, make available to the public, or otherwise use
> <> content in any way
>     except for your own personal, non-commercial use."
>     Restrictions on republishing, posting, broadcasting are
>     understandable. But we may not download nor "otherwise use"? Really???
> Unfortunately, most of these clauses are generally correct even in the 
> context of a mailing list. Copyright applies implicitly without needs 
> to declare it at all, and the clauses of "not creating derivative use 
> except for personal use" are active for any code you find online, get 
> sent by email, and so on, unless noted otherwise by a license. If 
> someone shows you code in a thread where asking for help but that code 
> is not licensed, there is actually no legal permission to use any of 
> that code in any sort of commercial systems nor for redistribution.
> Code and even quoting people requires explicit legal permission to be 
> reusable in most jurisdictions, and any use you have made of such 
> contributions could have been considered by the original author to 
> have been intended for education purposes, and reusing them may be a 
> legal liability (which your lawyer -- which I am not -- should inform 
> you about). I have written books where even quoting someone from a 
> public mailing list was a big no-no without written permission, and if 
> I wanted to cite Joe Armstrong after his death, I'd have had to ask 
> for written permission from his estate in order to publish. Contexts 
> in terms of academic reviews or literary criticism tends to offer more 
> freedom, but none of this is guaranteed.
> Particularly, bits like:
> Where you are invited to submit any contribution to 
> <> (including any photographs, text, graphics, 
> audio or video) you agree, by submitting your contribution, to grant 
> Erlang Forums a perpetual, non-exclusive, royalty-free, 
> sub-licenseable right and license to use, modify, reproduce, publish, 
> translate, distribute, make available to the public. By submitting 
> your contribution to <>, you: ...
> tend to lean on "non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub-licenseable right 
> and license" as legal jargon to say "you allow the erlang forum to 
> republish your stuff" (because otherwise they can't display it to 
> other users whether logged or not). The fact that a license is 
> non-exclusive means that you are free to keep another license for 
> other uses, but implies that you also had a license in the first place 
> where it was legitimate to share that code and grant that right. Eg. 
> you can't share code your employer owns and isn't open source and 
> legally grand rights to it.
> These are standard and would usually have been required or implied by 
> the erlang-questions mailing list archive. That Ericsson didn't 
> explicitly set them up is up to their lawyers; but there were, for 
> example, a google groups mirror of the list, which are posted under 
> the following general terms: , 
> specifically the section "Permission to use content" which similarly 
> contains a "non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free" license to 
> anything that gets posted there.
> As such, if you look into the way the groups are mirrored for the 
> mailing list, anything posted there may already more or less abide by 
> similar-sounding licensing terms and there isn't much that's new under 
> the sun. In fact, the erlangforums terms may even be narrower than 
> Google's terms, which also include permissions to data-mine and 
> translate whatever is posted to their systems.
> Also let me add a mandatory "I am not a lawyer, this is not legal 
> advice" disclaimer here; I am speaking of my experience having had to 
> deal with copyright before in various functions as an author and 
> someone having had to deal with lawyers in corporate settings around 
> open source, but have no such qualifications myself.

Ivan A. Uemlianin PhD

Ymchwil a Datblygu Technoleg Lleferydd
Speech Technology Research and Development


                         festina lente
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