27 September 2008
Thompson owns Endnote and has decided to sue the developers of Zotero (George Mason University) for (they claim) violating the EULA (end user license agreement) for Endnote by reverse engineering the Endnote style file format (.ens). This is fascinating on so many levels. (1) Thompson really thinks the way to build a customer base for reference manager software is to sue an academically produced, open source, Firefox plugin? (2) The case seems awfully weak given that the Zotero team has shipped nothing at all derived from .ens files. (3) Just how enforceable will EULAs (those contract terms attached to ripping open a software box or clicking “I read it” on a computer program) turn out to be?
I hope Thompson rots for this kind of behavior. Between this and suing to prevent others from citing law based on the page numbers they add to legal proceedings, I have pretty much decided they are on the wrong side of the IP issues I care about.