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Re: Answers to your questions about W3C patent policy

From: bts@alum.mit.edu (Brian T. Sniffen)
> I don't see how that can possibly coexist with this sentence of the
> GPL, section 7:
> : if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of
> : the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly
> : through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this
> : License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.

This sentence would not disallow a field-of-use limited grant.
The patent is licensed for everyone's free use. They forgot to
say "for any purpose", surely something that will be fixed in
the next version of the GPL. If the patent were used for a
non-standard-related purpose, the program would not be distributable.

> The recipient of the program (which combines a GPL'd framework
> with a patent-encumbered MIT library) will be able to use the program
> to implement the standard, but not for any other purpose.


> Certainly,
> if he modifies it to use the patented material for some other purpose,
> he won't be able to redistribute *that*...


> and since he won't be able
> to do so, you can't distribute the GPL'd code for which you don't have
> copyright.

Well, I think there is no problem _until_ the patented material is
modified to exercise the patent for some non-standards-related purpose.
Then, you would not be able to distribute the modified version. But the
unmodified version would be fine.

You can approach this another way. Take any known patent, for example
the Unisys GIF patent. Take any random GPL program, for example GNU Emacs.
You may not modify GNU Emacs to do GIF encoding. But you can still
distribute GNU Emacs until it is modified to do that.



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