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Re: LZW patented file left in .orig.tar source package?

On Wed, 2002-10-23 at 15:30, Jeff Licquia wrote:
> On Wed, 2002-10-23 at 13:08, Walter Landry wrote:
> > Richard Braakman <dark@xs4all.nl> wrote:
> > > On Wed, Oct 23, 2002 at 09:58:50AM -0700, Walter Landry wrote:
> > > > You have to take it out of whatever Debian distributes.  I can
> > > > download the the .orig.tar.gz file, so it can't be in that.  Even if
> > > > the .diff.gz takes it out.
> > > 
> > > Hmm, but why?  You're explicitly allowed to describe how a patented
> > > algorithm works, that's the whole point of patents.  And source code
> > > is just a detailed description of how the algorithm works.
> > > 
> > > Are you talking about distributability or about freeness?
> > 
> > I'm talking about distributability.  You are not allowed to distribute
> > an implementation of a patent.  The code is an implementation of that
> > patent.  We can argue whether that makes sense, but that is my
> > understanding of the law.
> That doesn't sound right to me.  (Though, really, what do I know?  All
> standard disclaimers apply.)
> I was under the impression that patents are use licenses, and are as
> such tied to the use you make of the objects covered by them.  You can
> make a car engine that infringes on a particular patent, for example,
> without a license; you just can't put it in your car and drive around. 
> If that particular configuration of metal just happens to be very good
> at distributing water to a row of plants in a garden, the patent holder
> is out of luck regarding my use of the engine as a watering can (unless
> s/he owns the patent on that use of the engine as well).

35 USC 271 says:

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this title, whoever without
authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention,
within the United States or imports into the United States any patented
invention during the term of the patent therefor, infringes the patent.

(b) Whoever actively induces infringement of a patent shall be liable as
an infringer.

(c) Whoever offers to sell or sells within the United States or imports
into the United States a component of a patented machine, manufacture,
combination or composition, or a material or apparatus for use in
practicing a patented process, constituting a material part of the
invention, knowing the same to be especially made or especially adapted
for use in an infringement of such patent, and not a staple article or
commodity of commerce suitable for substantial noninfringing use, shall
be liable as a contributory infringer.

Disclaimer: IANAL.  TINLA.  This isn't necessarily the official FSF
position. Use only as directed.

-Dave Turner
GPL Compliance Engineer
Support my work: http://svcs.affero.net/rm.php?r=novalis&p=FSF

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