Agreement with ICQ

Mark Doliner mark at
Sun May 22 21:09:31 EDT 2011

On Sun, May 22, 2011 at 1:14 PM, Kevin Stange <kstange at> wrote:
> On 05/21/2011 09:05 AM, Ivan Komarov wrote:
>> I admit it sounds weird, but, as far as I understand, the worst that
>> can happen after we sign it is that ICQ orders us to remove the ICQ
>> support from libpurple (which they can do in any case). IANAL, though,
>> and I think we really should talk to our lawyers (if we have any, that
>> is :)) before we do anything.
> If we sign the contract we suddenly have terms for what we can and
> cannot do.  Currently we are subject to no agreement, which means we can
> do whatever we want that's legal.  Maintaining a 3rd party client by
> observing protocol behavior is not illegal (in the US anyway).
> All that they can do is *ask* us not to support ICQ if we don't sign
> this contract.  They cannot order us to remove ICQ support.  We've
> supported protocols without authorization in the past, and AOL battled
> 3rd party clients for a long time.  If ICQ wants to repeat the history
> of AOL and try to block third party clients that haven't agreed to their
> terms, that might be a fun game to play.

I believe this is all correct.  I'll add that services on the internet
can require users to agree to terms of use and the terms of use could
prohibit users from accessing the service via unofficial clients.
However, this restriction falls upon end-users, not upon us as
developers of the client.


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