[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Is the Sybase Open Watcom License ok?

On Tue, Jul 04, 2006 at 12:44:35AM +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> > 12.1 Termination.  This License and the rights granted hereunder
> > will terminate:
> > [...]
> > (c) automatically without notice if You, at any time during the
> > term of this License, commence an action for patent infringement
> > (including as a cross claim or counterclaim) against Sybase or
> > any Contributor.
> This copyright licence attempts to enforce all Sybase's and
> Contributors' patents, whether applicable or not.  All patents. 
> Not just software ones.

Hmm, it doesn't appear to say even a word about _Sybase's_ patents at
all.  It speaks about "Your" (ie, the user/distributor's) patents.

So, let's say an organization/company which owns one of Debian's
mirrors, a mirror which carries non-free like most mirrors do, owns a
patent.  Not a software patent -- a patent for a mousetrap or a drug.
Now, let's say that EvilCorp wants to do some patent trolling.  They
buy out any of openwatcom's contributors -- it's a big patent with
hundreds or thousands of contributors, many of them corporate.  In
fact, often you can't tell who owns CorpA without a longer research;
it can be owned by CorpB and then by CorpC and finally by EvilCorp.
Now, EvilCorp starts a litigation against the university/company
which provides our mirror.  The defender for all practical reasons
just lost all his patents.

Sure, software patents are evil, but we're talking about patents of
_any_ kind here.  And even though non-software patents are often
controversial as well, Debian can't make dropping any patents owned
by one of mirror operators as simple as buying out a legal entity
which by a long chain of ownership owns the copyright to a 10-line
patch buried deep inside openwatcom.

The license isn't good enough even for non-free, I would say.

1KB		// Microsoft corollary to Hanlon's razor:
		//	Never attribute to stupidity what can be
		//	adequately explained by malice.

Reply to: