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Re: AROS License DFSG ok?

On Sat, Jan 08, 2005 at 01:40:46PM -0500, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 08, 2005 at 10:19:33AM -0800, Josh Triplett wrote:
> > >>>As far as I know, *nobody* thinks that is OK.  For instance, it could be over 
> > >>>Participant's use of your patent for extracting aluminum from ore.

> > >>It terminates a right we don't require in the first place. If the patent
> > >>is actively enforced, we potentially have problems - if it isn't, why is
> > >>it more of a problem than a license which didn't grant those permissions
> > >>in the first place?

> > > Thus is not just about software patents.  If I have invented a new
> > > Wheel, and microsoft rips me off and begins producing my Wheel, I
> > > would like to sue them to get them to stop.  If they're a Participant
> > > here, I can't do so!  At least, if I do sue them, I lose my copyright
> > > license to this software.

> > Actually, no, you don't.  8.2a says that if you sue a Participant saying
> > *the software* infringes a patent, you lose the entire license.  8.2b
> > says that if you sue a Participant over *any patent*, you lose *only
> > their patent license for the software*.  Hence Matthew's statement that
> > "It terminates a right we don't require in the first place.".

> That's an ugly, fuzzy, ill-focused gray area, though.  We do require the rights
> restricted by patents; but in the case where we don't have the right, but the
> restriction isn't being enforced, we grunt and act as though we do.  The ugly
> patent situation seems to make it impossible to treat everything with proper
> consistency.  I don't like a line of reasoning that says "we don't require
> the right to do the things restricted by patents", but at the same time, we
> really don't require explicit patent licenses.

I don't think this is a gray area at all.  Mind that I haven't read the
license at the root of this thread, but if the recap given above is
accurate, I believe that is a perfectly good, free license where patents are

The reality is that we do *not* require authors to extend us a license to
patents as part of their software license in order to consider it free.  We
merely opt not to distribute software that's covered by patents that are
actively being enforced.  The current patent regime is sufficiently broken,
and so much inanely trivial activity is covered by patents, that *asking*
people for patent licenses really is a slippery slope that we don't want to
start down.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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