Oracle legal letter prompts closure of independent JD Edwards help site

'I don't fancy going up against charges from Oracle's legal teams,' webmaster says

The operator of an independent website aimed at helping users of J.D. Edwards enterprise resource planning software has shut it down after Oracle alleged the site infringed on its copyrights.

The site, jderef.com, had contained detailed and organized information about thousands of database tables in J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne, providing a reference guide for users.

"It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that jderef.com can no longer exist, having recently been served legal notice from Oracle regarding information copyright infringements relating to their product schemas," the site's webmaster, Clifford Lassnig, said in a recently posted message. "This is a bitter blow, not only for me personally, (having invested many hours creating this shared resource) but mostly for the users like you, who have started to depend on the presence of this resource."

Oracle's action is "narrow sighted" given that the site was supporting J.D. Edwards users and "anyone with access to JDE will technically be able to obtain this information anyway, albeit in a far less convenient and expedient fashion," Lassnig added. "But as a private individual based in the UK - I have no choice but to concede - I don't fancy going up against charges from Oracle's legal teams."

The webmaster posted the contents of a letter he received from an Oracle attorney, which asks him to remove the allegedly infringing material "in as expedient a fashion as possible."

J.D. Edwards users have had mixed reactions to the site's shutdown.

"Anyone who has used jderef.com is certainly mourning its demise as JDE, like most ERP systems, is a bear to understand without a really big instruction book," BI (business intelligence) developer Tim Laqua said in a recent post on his personal blog.

"I am sure there is a lawyer somewhere advising Oracle that diligence is required in protecting their IP, even if it is from someone providing value to Oracle's clients," said one commenter in a thread on the JDElist forum. "One can only hope that Oracle sees fit to find a user-friendly method of filling the gap left by their actions."

To that end, in his blog Laqua shared a method by which J.D. Edwards administrators could get the same information as had been provided by jderef.com on their own.

The jderef.com webmaster's post also called on J.D. Edwards customers to "make a little noise" in the direction of Oracle's legal department: "They may see how valuable this resource was for their users."

An Oracle spokeswoman declined comment Monday.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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