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Re: Taking a position on anti-patent licenses (was ' Re: Bug#289856: mdnsresponder: Wrong license')

On Tue, Jan 25, 2005 at 09:17:34PM -0800, Steve Langasek wrote:

> > Requiring that distributors of a piece of software refrain from making
> > accusations of patent infringement regarding the software itself is
> > consistent with the goal of upholding the freedoms of users over that
> > software.  As such, we consider license condititions acceptable that
> > terminate a licensee's rights to the software if that licensee raises a
> > patent lawsuit claiming that the software in question infringes their
> > patent(s).
> Agree with this, though for clarity I would say "their own patent(s)" for
> this last.

On Tue, Jan 25, 2005 at 09:56:16PM -0800, Steve Langasek wrote:

> My answer, so far, is "I have yet to see such a restriction that I think
> should be acceptable."
> I don't see anything to qualitatively differentiate petting a cat if you
> distribute the software, to giving up your rights to unrelated patents if
> you distribute the software.

I'm not sure I understand where you're at now. Earlier, you seemed to
agree with the kind of restriction that Josh mentioned.

As for the "unrelated patents"; well, fine, but that's starting to go
into detail already. If you actually could agree with what Josh suggested,
that looks to me like that implies that you believe that "yes, in principle
it could be acceptable to have a license impose some restriction on the
exercise of software patent rights by a licensee". And that's all I'm
trying to establish at the moment -- whether there is the possibility of
a consensus that it is acceptable to have in a license a restriction,
however minimal, on the use of software patents by a licensee.

> Perhaps if you started with a particular restriction that *you* thought
> would be acceptable, we would stand a better chance of figuring out if there
> is actually a consensus in the project that that restriction is acceptable,
> and expand out from there.

I guess I think that there's more chance of getting something useful out
of this if we try to focus and do one thing at a time. To me, it seems
that we have a strong tendency to home in on details far too early, and
I'd like to avoid that if at all possible.



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