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

Re: Opinion in opposition to RAND provisions of Patent Policy

From: Daniel Phillips <phillips@bonn-fries.net>
Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2001 23:06:49 +0200
To: "Luigi P. Bai" <lpb@focalpoint.com>, www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-Id: <20011005210649Z16794-17200+877@humbolt.nl.linux.org>
On October 5, 2001 08:23 pm, Luigi P. Bai wrote:
> 3. Require that "Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory" actually discriminate 
> in the case of a free/not-for-profit implementation; that such an 
> implementation should, if protected by a "viral" license such as GPL (so 
> its derivatives also remain free), be granted a royalty-free license to use 
> patented technology.

If by "free" you mean "free of charge" then that lets out the GPL:

   "7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent
   infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues),
   conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or
   otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not
   excuse you from the conditions of this License.  If you cannot
   distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this
   License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you
   may not distribute the Program at all.  For example, if a patent
   license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by
   all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then
   the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to
   refrain entirely from distribution of the Program."

In other words, the GPL does not discriminate on the basis of for-profit or 
not-for-profit distribution.  Rather, it requires that a program be freely 
distributable, for whatever purpose.

On the other hand, if a patent holder is willing to write a license under 
terms that allow for unrestricted usage with software that is licensed under 
the GPL or a compatible license, then I for one would find that acceptable.

> This would unfortunately place the W3C in the position 
> of evaluating potential licenses and declaring which ones were appropriate 
> for such treatment; this may not actually turn out to be very difficult. It 
> is likely to make Microsoft (who has 3! of 20 positions on the Policy team; 
> Nortel, 2; Apple, 2; W3C, 4) terribly upset. :-)

Why on earth would Microsoft need 3 members on that committee?

Received on Friday, 5 October 2001 17:07:11 UTC

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