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.