Re: Open Software License v2.1
Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> So there are some legitimate patents, though they're probably a
> minority. But that means that those people do have a legitimate
> recourse to the courts to enforce their intellectual capital grants.
> And a license which compels them to surrender that recourse is no more
> free than a license which compels them to surrender any other recourse
> to the courts.
OK. Suppose there exists a patent on a mathematical algorithm (call it
"RSA"). Suppose that RSA is implemented by Joe in the program joe-rsa, and
he licenses his copyright under a free software license.
Suppose then that the RSA patent holders hold a legitimate patent (not
freely licensed). Then joe-rsa was never free, regardless of what license
Joe issued it under, so the license contents are irrelevant.
Suppose instead that the RSA patent holders hold a legitimate patent, freely
licensed. Then Joe will have permission to implement RSA (this is pretty
much required for a free patent license), so the RSA patent holders will
not sue. (Wait. I thought of a case: suppose the patent license requires
a statement of credit -- and that's considered free -- and joe-rsa doesn't
contain the credit statement. Then the RSA patent holders would sue to
enforce their free patent license, and lose their free copyright
license.... hmm, that could actually be a problem).
Suppose instead that the RSA patent holders hold only illegitimate patents.
Then the patent-retaliation clause is very clearly in the best interests of
free software, and the license is Free.
In other words, the patent-retaliation clause only imposes a burden in the
(a) the work is already non-free for other reasons
(b) the people being burdened are being abusive
(Barring the case I just thought of above, which might be an actual
Accordingly, it is acceptable in a free license, no?
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