W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org > November 2002

Re: Restrictive Patent Usage

From: Dan Kegel <dank@kegel.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Nov 2002 23:44:38 -0800
Message-ID: <3DE71AE6.6030405@kegel.com>
To: Federico Heinz <fheinz@vialibre.org.ar>
CC: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org

Federico Heinz wrote:
> On Thu, 2002-11-28 at 18:34, Dan Kegel wrote:
>>This is the crux of the matter.  We probably need a lawyer or two
>>to go over it and see if they agree with your interpretation.
>>Anyone know a lawyer who won't get dizzy trying to interpret a recursive document?
> If I may say so, we *do* have the opinion of Eben Moglen, as stated in
> the FSF's position paper on this matter, and he says that "field of use"
> and GPL don't mix. 

You mean http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/w3c-patent.html ?
That document didn't have enough detail to explain exactly
*why* GPL and the draft policy clash.  I have emailed him
to ask him to update the document to explain in more detail
(and gave him a copy of your excellent earlier post as
an example of what I'm looking for).

>>I wonder if a "for the purposes of implementing this standard, or as
>>part of a work licensed under the GPL" amendment would fly.
> I wonder, too. I worry whether that would leave the door open for
> trouble with non-GPL copyleft licenses, though (the Perl license, for
> example, which uses the terms of the GPL as an alternative to the
> Artistic License, would be reduced effectively to the Artistic License).

Most non-GPL licenses would probably be ok, as they don't try
to offer the same airtight promise of freedom as the GPL does.

By the way, it bears mentioning that the GPL is the license
used by the overwhelming majority of open source software
in use in the U.S. Department of Defense (see http://www.egovos.org/pdf/dodfoss.pdf ).
The GPL is important, and it's hard for me to see how the W3C patent
policy could be a success if it were incompatible with the GPL.
- Dan
Received on Friday, 29 November 2002 02:44:32 UTC

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