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Re: Restrictive Patent Usage

From: Dan Kegel <dank@kegel.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Nov 2002 09:49:02 -0800
Message-ID: <3DE6570E.9090304@kegel.com>
To: Federico Heinz <fheinz@vialibre.org.ar>
CC: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org

Federico Heinz wrote:
> On Wed, 2002-11-27 at 23:30, Dan Kegel wrote:
> 
>>If you're quite sure the draft policy is totally incompatible with
>>the GPL, please provide some concrete examples of how an
>>open source project might be harmed by the adoption of the
>>draft policy.  I'd be happy to hash this out in more detail.
> 
> Moglen's article specifically talks about article 7 of the GPL, which
> states:
> 
> "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."
> 
> With the current policy, this means that if you write code that
> implements a patent available through a royalty-free but field-of-use
> limited license, you cannot distribute code under the GPL (and hence
> cannot use GPL code save for in-house programs) because you are not able
> to grant the user all four freedoms (the user cannot freely yank the
> code from the program and paste it into another that is outside the
> field of use).

Are you quite sure that article 7 of the GPL means what you think it means?
The pertinent part appears to be:

 > 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.

This one has more potential.  What are the obligations under the GPL?
I looked, and I can't find one that the draft policy interferes with.
Federico, can you point out which article of the GPL establishes an obligation
that the draft policy would make impossible to satisfy?  Article 7
doesn't do it, as far as I can tell.

Thanks,
Dan
Received on Thursday, 28 November 2002 12:49:10 GMT

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