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Re: No mention of "patents" in DFSG

2007/10/9, MJ Ray <mjr@phonecoop.coop>:
> If they can be made public safely, I think they would be in the removal
> request bug.  The biggest problem is if a patent-aggressor requires
> silence as part of the settlement, saying they'll sue for past crimes
> if it's made public.

In my opinion this is just too absurd to believe, this can't possible
be legally enforcible. Sounds somehow like censorship to me.

> That is unfortunate.  Have you tried looking into the famous software
> patents at http://swpat.ffii.org/ for example or are you looking for
> debian package examples in particular?

I am really looking for very detailed and verifiable example cases,
that affected individual packages in the debian repositories.

This could look like the following purely fictious example:
 "On 20.02.2002 Company XYZ contacted Person ABC, with the request to
remove packet DEFG, because the software is believed to be affected by
US-Patent-Nr. 0000XXX-00, which is in the posession of our company.
This Patent is valid under the Jurisdiction of the US, Canada and

Or an example where someone outside how distributed a certain software
and was sued, which motivated the debian people to remove that
package. This of course would need to be backed by patent-numbers and
information about the legal judgements as well.

 * WHAT Debian package is affected
 * WHAT are the patents that apply
 * WHO is enforcing it, and do they target "non-commercial" efforts as well?
 * WHO has been sued yet, and for WHAT exactly

> I think maintainers and ftp-masters are responsible for decisions to
> remove; and I think verification is already part of the process, but
> note that a package simply becoming no fun to maintain because of patent
> threats can result in a reason for removal (no maintainer), too.

This is just my opinion, and a respect that people might disagree, but
I don't really like to bow down before threats unless there is
concrete and publicly verifiable and provable information that I am
doing wrongly. I am an enthusiastic Free and Open-Source Software
Person, and I prefer to stand up for what I believe, and I still think
there is a lot of FUD in the perception of patents in FLOSS. I think
in the long term it would be very good to stick to facts like events,
numbers, dates and so on. Fight the FUD with Facts.


Are you teaching the What and the How but without the Why and the When?

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