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Re: Is the Sybase Open Watcom License ok?

On Wed, Jul 12, 2006 at 01:08:58AM +0000, Jason Spiro wrote:
> Le 05-07-2006, Adam Borowski <kilobyte@angband.pl> a écrit :
> > 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.
> ...
> > The license isn't good enough even for non-free, I would say.
> Adam, I do not understand why you say it can't go in non-free. Here is
> the clause you are referring to:
> >>>>>>
> 3. Your Grants.  In consideration of, and as a condition to, the
> licenses granted to You under this License, You hereby grant to Sybase
> and all third parties a non-exclusive, royalty-free license, under Your
> Applicable Patent Rights and other intellectual property rights (other
> than patent) owned or controlled by You, to use, reproduce, display,
> perform, modify, distribute and Deploy Your Modifications of the same
> scope and extent as Sybase's licenses under Sections 2.1 and 2.2.
> <<<<<<

I mean 12.1c:

12.1 Termination. This License and the rights granted hereunder will
(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

> It seems to me that the clause only grants Sybase rights to
> distributors' patents for the purpose of developing and distributing
> Open Watcom, not for any other purpose. Am I correct?

12.1c appears to mention _any_ patents, even mousetrap or drug ones. 

However, I see now that this clause only _terminates_ the license,
without making you liable.  So, that university/company who owns that
mousetrap patent can simply remove openwatcom from mirrors they
provide for Debian.

This is obviously non-free, but not worse than any other
withdrawable-at-whim license.

Of course, that' just my analysis -- what would you say, folks?

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

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