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Re: Patent clauses in licenses

On Tue, Oct 12, 2004 at 02:12:16PM +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> By comparison, how does debian protect the freedom to vote against 
> software patent supporters in our legislatures? That's clearly an 
> issue affecting free software, but we don't take specific action to 
> protect it.

We don't have to: nothing Debian is doing or refusing to do is affecting it.

Debian's distribution or lack of distribution will have a direct impact on
the success of these clauses.  Debian has no choice but to take specific
action: either it allows them, or it rejects them, and either is an action
with a direct effect on this.  Accepting them is "prosecuting", rejecting
is "protecting", if you want.

"We don't have a position on this, so we're going to refuse to distribute
it and remain neutral" won't work.

> This all hinges on whether we consider using copyright law against 
> other law "reasonable" then?

The critical question seems to be whether restricting patent enforcement
is free.  I still don't see how it matters which set of laws is used to
apply a restriction, as far as DFSG-freeness goes; it's the restriction
itself that matters.

(Of course, it may be unenforcable, but that's a separate issue.)

Glenn Maynard

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