Earlier today I sent a draft article about the Todogroup ‘Open Code of Conduct’ (archive here) to GitHub. The Code has been criticised for a passage under the ‘Definition of Harassment’, which reads as follows –
“We will not act on complaints regarding:
- ‘Reverse’ -isms, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’ and ‘cisphobia’”
I sent GitHub the whole draft article. Just before publication I received a 2 paragraph unsigned note from a ‘legal’ email address at GitHub –
“We write on behalf of GitHub. We have received your message regarding your proposed blog post. Your use of the images of our employees is unlawful and violates, among other things, international copyright law.
We have no comment regarding the substance of the post beyond noting that it contains a number of factual misrepresentations that are likely themselves also actionable. The company reserves all rights and advises you to proceed accordingly.”
Perhaps. If they object to my use of photos from their website I can always license stock photos of their CEO, or otherwise lawfully obtain licenses. If they object to content, UK libel law requires they set out the text complained of, the meaning imputed to it and the facts disputed per the Pre-Action Protocol for Defamation.
So my article is not appearing tonight. Instead I have written back inviting them to set out which facts are disputed and I will look at them ethically. I am offering to delay until Monday, 5pm PDT to give them time to set out their concerns more fully.
In the meantime, people who disagree with the Code can politely tweet @defunkt, the CEO and let him know how they feel.
(Updated to clarify as some people thought she was the nameless ‘lawyer’)