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Re: Patent clauses in licenses

On Mon, Sep 20, 2004 at 04:34:54PM +0100, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 20, 2004 at 03:07:28PM +0100, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> > Andrew Suffield <asuffield@debian.org> wrote:
> > > On Sun, Sep 19, 2004 at 04:08:37PM +0100, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> > >> Why are we concerned about people who patent pieces of software while
> > >> claiming that they'll only use these patents defensively?
> > > 
> > > You cannot reject a user because you don't like them for some reason,
> > > and say that they do not deserve the same freedoms as everybody else
> > > and therefore it doesn't matter that the software isn't free for them.
> > 
> > The GPL rejects users who want to distribute binaries without source.
> > The MPL rejects users who want to sue the licensor for infringement of
> > patents connected to the software. Why do you believe that one of these
> > cases is significantly different to the other?
> We've been over this already. One is a significant burden, the other
> is not.

whether something is 'significant' is a judgement call. You can make it
for yourself, but not for the whole of Debian. It's certainly not "true"
because you (or I, or Matthew, or anyone else) think(s) it is.

Consider the fact that the BSD groups think the burden imposed by the
GPL's requirement to distribute source (or to at least make it
available, yada yada) is too significant to still be called 'free'. To
some, rejecting people that want to claim you violated their software
patents does not harm free software -- for patents make software
non-free, by definition.

     smog  |   bricks
 AIR  --  mud  -- FIRE
soda water |   tequila
 -- with thanks to fortune

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