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Re: No mention of "patents" in DFSG

"Richard Spindler" <richard.spindler@gmail.com> writes:

> 2007/10/9, MJ Ray <mjr@phonecoop.coop>:
> > 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 is a common (and correct) reaction to software patents and their

> this can't possible be legally enforcible.

You have a commendable faith in the rationality of legislators, that
is sadly unfounded.

> Sounds somehow like censorship to me.

The specific case MJ Ray is talking about above is an agreement
between two parties: an out-of-court settlement. At that point the
government isn't involved, so it's not censorship. It's also entirely
legal for the two parties to agree to just about any terms.

The absurdity comes in the idea that the victim of a software patent
suit has any ground to negotiate evenly in such a "settlement". But
it's not censorship, and is entirely legal.

> 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.

Many people *do* agree, and your sentiment is a good one. However, the
Debian project must make the distinction between individuals
*choosing* to stand their ground and thereby take a large risk upon
themselves, versus the Debian project accepting risks on behalf of
Debian *users* who might feel very differently about that level of

> 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.

Certainly. Let's keep doing that. However, we can't sacrifice those
who don't knowingly choose to enter that fight.

 \           "Oh, I love your magazine. My favorite section is 'How To |
  `\          Increase Your Word Power'. That thing is really, really, |
_o__)                       really... good."  -- Homer, _The Simpsons_ |
Ben Finney

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