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

On Wed, 2002-10-23 at 16:33, Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS wrote:
> I know nothing about patent law, US or otherwise, but I keep seeing
> programs that are made freely available as source code, but not as
> binaries, because they implement patented algorithms.

I believe that this, like the warez scene 24-hour rule, is a completely
bogus invention of people desperately wanting to believe.

>  In most cases
> the intention is obviously that people will download the source,
> compile it and use it. If that is possible, I would be surprised if
> Debian can not distribute source code where the intention is obviously
> that people will not use the patented algorithm, because it is
> disabled by the build script.
> I don't find the text of "35 USC 271" particularly enlightening. What
> does it mean if someone "makes ... any patented invention" in the case
> of an algorithm (or a teaching method, for that matter, seeing as you
> also patent those in the USA, I think)?

Certainly, any code (source or binary) which implements an algorithm
"uses" it.  What else could "use" possibly mean?   And anyone who writes
such an algorithm clearly "makes" that invention.  Even if souce code
doesn't "use" an algorithm, the author of said code is clearly covered
under Section (b) and (c).   I just can't see any other sane

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

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