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Re: MP3 decoder packaged with XMMS

the Federal Circuit ruled that "where, as here, a potential
infringer has actual notice of another's patent rights, he has an
affirmative duty to exercise due care to determine whether or not
he is infringing,"

That's the kind of obligation I was wondering about. GPL section 7 refers to conditions being imposed for any reason, and I'd say a legal duty of care is an imposed condition.

This is not a "condition[] imposed on you ... that contradict[s] the
conditions of [the GPL]," as per GPL Section 7, because exercising due
care to avoid infringing a patent and redistributing software royalty
free are not mutually exclusive.

The exercise of that duty can only lead to the conclusion that
royalty-bearing patents and free software don't mix well.

This is true only if the free software infringes a valid royalty-bearing
patent. But your point is entirely correct, as the GPL states, "any free program is threatened constantly by software patents."


Daniel B. Ravicher
Legal Director
Software Freedom Law Center
1995 Broadway Fl 17
New York, NY 10023-5882
212-461-1902 direct
212-580-0800 main
212-580-0898 fax

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