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Re: A radical approach to rewriting the DFSG

On Mon, May 31, 2004 at 03:27:06AM +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:
> I understand what you're saying, but when I attempt to explain it such
> that it is clear for an uninitiated reader what the problem is, it
> gets very convoluted. Can't we just hope that an attempt to ITP a
> license text as a work in its own right will get rejected as pointless
> by the ftpmasters, such that this does not become a DFSG matter in the
> first place?

Such a package would be far more useful to me ("archive of free and non-
free licenses") than some other packages (eg. bible-kjv-text).  For example,
I frequently refer to /usr/share/common-licenses to look up clauses; a
package installing other free and non-free licenses in there would be
helpful.  So, it might be hard to reject them on the basis that they're

> I'm fairly certain, however, that the *current* consensus is that a
> free license cannot retailiate against patent attacks by revoking
> *copyright* licenses. I'm not quite energetic enough tonight to try to
> track down list referneces, but can anyone remember a case where this
> was *not* the conclusion?

I think that many people are arguing this, but that there isn't consensus.
Personally, I'm undecided: I think patents are such a serious threat to
free software that using one of the only levers we have as a defense is
sensible, but I agree that if at all, it needs to be done right (eg. not
preventing defensive patent use, etc).

Also, if "done right", it may not be very effective.  Would Fraunhofer really
care if they lost the right to use LAME?[1]  If they lost the right to use a
huge chunk of free software due to one lawsuit, they might, but I think there
is strong consensus that terminating a license due to an unrelated lawsuit is
going too far.  A litigation firm holding patents may not actually use the
technology at all, anyway.

[1] poor example, since this is more of a defense against stealth patents;
I just don't have a good example of that handy.

Glenn Maynard

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