I work for a company that produces open source software (MIT-licensed, to be specific) and provides services using and built on that software. I have no connection with OpenDDR or WURFL, although I have colleagues who are currently using either WURFL or something similar (I’m not involved, so I’m not actually sure) in a mobile web application. Given what I see as unreasonable legal action taken against someone using WURFL data in compliance with the terms of the license (and ScientiaMobile has provided nothing to contradict this beyond baseless assertions, despite repeated requests for clarification), I’m hesitant to identify myself more specifically than that for fear of exposing my colleagues to similar legal action.

As far as I can see, OpenDDR is not trying to sabotage WURFL. They are trying to provide an open alternative, which is exactly what WURFL used to be. The existence of a free alternative will no doubt impact ScientiaMobile’s revenue, but they way to compete with that is to provide a better product or service.

You claim that OpenDDR is “misappropriating ScientiaMobile’s intellectual property”. I can only see three possibilities for this to be the case, which I have already enumerated, and I’d like to know which you believe to be the case.

As I read the license terms, I don’t see anything they have done wrong. There is no requirement to mention WURFL or ScientiaMobile, and doing so might actually open them to legal action regarding trademark infringement or something. There is no requirement to ask for permission from ScientiaMobile before using the data, and the term clearly state: “You are allowed to use WURFL in any of your applications, free or commercial. The only thing required is to make public any modification to this file, following the original spirit and idea of the creators of this project.”

In fact, there’s a strong argument to be made that ScientiaMobile are in violation of these license terms. Surely prohibiting access to the data by means other than the provided APIs (which are unavailable for a number of popular programming languages) does not follow “the original spirit and idea of the creators of this project”? Given that much of the data “has been collected by many different people from many different countries”, does ScientiaMobile even have the right to change the terms of the license without consulting all the contributors? (You need some kind of copyright assignment in order to do that, as I understand it. Since the contribution process isn’t clearly documented, I don’t know if this has been done.) Personally, I’d be extremely upset if I contributed to a project only to have my right to use it summarily revoked.

Please note that I’m not trying to criticise ScientiaMobile for wanting to build a business on open source software development — I’m criticising the manner in which it is being done. By sending takedown notices to competing projects, you are creating a hostile environment and discouraging others companies from opening their codebase.