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Re: DFSG Freeness of Patent Reciprocity Clauses

Nathanael Nerode wrote:
Brian Sniffen wrote:

Would the following be considered Free by anybody here?

     If You institute litigation against any entity (including a
     cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that the Work
     or a Contribution incorporated within the Work constitutes direct
     or contributory copyright infringement, then any licenses
     granted to You under this License for that Work shall terminate as
     of the date such litigation is filed.

Yep, I think it's Free, and here's why.

If you allege that the Work contains copyright violations, you are implicitly alleging that the license for the Work does not grant a valid license.

Not at all -- it grants a perfectly valid license to some of the work, but part of the work is mine. As a result, I'm the *only* person who can legally copy the work. For example, consider that I'm RBN, a large Utah-based software company (formerly Volcano, formerly RBN).

If I point out that the Linux kernel contains some of my copyrighted code, then all the licenses on others' code (BSD, GPL, etc) certainly permit me to copy that code (providing I comply with their other restrictions, of course -- so I can copy the code in a Free way). Others cannot do so without a license grant from me, so I sue to stop them.

Accordingly, you shouldn't be using the Work under that license *anyway*
(you believe that the license is invalid!). Explicitly revoking the licenses revokes only those rights you have claimed that you don't have.

No, it punishes me for attempting to enforce my legal rights. I never forfeited my claim to those rights, certainly not by suing to enforce them! Explicitly revoking the licenses imposes a non-Free restriction on what I can do.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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