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Re: Taking a position on anti-patent licenses

Josh Triplett <josh.trip@verizon.net> wrote:
> MJ Ray wrote:
> > My main argument for not mixing them is that most of these terms
> > seem extend software patents into places which don't have them
> > yet, but do have software copyright. [...]
> That seems like a reasonable argument.  However, I don't see how these
> clauses would cause a problem for people in
> non-software-patent-afflicted areas.  It seems like the only way these
> clauses could affect you would be if you sued someone using the software
> because they infringed your software patent.

These licences are not normally so considerate as to limit
themselves to swpat claims. Even the RPSL, which seems one of
the less offensive ones, says "any patent". I wouldn't mind so
much if I only lost patent permission that I didn't need anyway.

There's also the simpler objection of having to check all these
patent-copyright interactions for new problems. We've not done
much work on that, mainly because it's so unclear still. Having
them split is a lot easier for all.

> If you are in a
> non-swpat-afflicted area, then either 1) you have no such patents to sue
> with, or 2) you would use another legal jurisdiction for the suit, in
> which you do hold such patents.  In the former case, the clause doesn't
> affect you, and in the latter case, we aren't talking about the
> swpat-free jurisdiction.

In the latter case, I lose the copyright licence in my home
jurisdiction too.  An offensive patenter could sue my US
branch about some patent and the branch uses some patent
(either obtained or a patent not used for software at home)
to help defend it... it's not hard to see possible ways for
interactions to go cross-border, thanks to the Berne Union. :-(

My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
Subscribed to this list. No need to Cc, thanks.

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