W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org > October 2001

Is the RF license GPL-compatible?

From: Adam Warner <lists@consulting.net.nz>
Date: 01 Oct 2001 20:08:46 +1200
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Cc: moglen@columbia.edu
Message-Id: <1001923726.1974.49.camel@work>
Hi all,

I'm sure Professor Eben Moglen will be on top of this. However I'll just
bring this to everyone's attention:

Remember the issues with the Python license not being GPL compatible? It
turned out it wasn't compatible because it specificied choice of law.


"So we have never allowed a license with a choice-of-law clause to be
treated as fully compatible with GPL.  Virginia is the worst of all
choices, because that state has passed the UCITA law, which adds a
whole new range of risks and burdens in the distribution of free

Well the W3C RF license has a choice-of-law term:


A "Royalty-Free License" also called "RF License" shall have the same
characteristics as a RAND License, except that a Royalty-Free License:

       1. may not be conditioned on payment of royalties, fees or other
consideration except for the conditions permitted in the clauses of RAND
License other than clause 5.

So what are those other conditions?

6.may not impose any further conditions or restrictions on the use of
any technology, intellectual property rights, or other restrictions on
behavior of the licensee, but may include reasonable, customary terms
relating to operation or maintenance of the license relationship such as
the following: audit (when relevant to fees), choice of law, and dispute

See? A choice of law clause!

Anyway, food for thought.

Received on Monday, 1 October 2001 04:09:04 UTC

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