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RE: CSS3 @font-face / EOT Fonts - new compromise proposal

From: Levantovsky, Vladimir <Vladimir.Levantovsky@MonotypeImaging.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2008 12:10:03 -0500
Message-ID: <E955AA200CF46842B46F49B0BBB83FF2767C8F@wil-email-01.agfamonotype.org>
To: "Mikko Rantalainen" <mikko.rantalainen@peda.net>, <www-style@w3.org>

On Wednesday, November 12, 2008 10:48 AM Mikko Rantalainen wrote:
> Levantovsky, Vladimir wrote:
> > - What is the criteria that is used, or the distinction 
> that you make, 
> > when the decision is made whether a particular technology 
> contributed 
> > under W3C RF license can or can not be implemented under 
> GPL license?
> > 
> > I am trying to understand what, if anything, can be done to 
> make the 
> > font compression technology and relevant essential claims 
> compatible 
> > with GPL terms, and I'd really appreciate your help.
> If I've understood correctly, a patent licence without 
> field-of-use restriction would specifically *allow* taking a 
> GPL'd web browser that supports compressed fonts, then remove 
> all parts from its source code except the part that 
> locates/downloads the compressed font and the part that 
> decompresses that downloaded font. Then it should still allow 
> modifying the resulting source so that the user could store 
> the decompressed font.
> That is, such patent license should allow taking the existing 
> GPL'd code and turning that into a software that's only 
> purpose is to search and download any compressed fonts from a 
> given web site and store those fonts on the harddrive without 
> compression.
> If the target is to protect fonts with the compression patent 
> (that is, make it illegal to decompress the font for any 
> other purpose but to render in web browser or equivalent), 
> then I believe that GPL is not compatible with such a target.
> But then, I'm not a lawyer.

This is my understanding as well. But I am also trying to understand if
there is any borderline case that would be acceptable for GPL code
without giving all rights away. As much as I would like to allow
legitimate uses of the technology, we do need to have some level of
protection against an infringing use. The W3C RF policy was designed for
a good reason - to insure that W3C standards are open and available to
all users, while protecting legitimate interests and IP rights of
contributing W3C members and their own investments in R&D, technology
and products. (Otherwise, there will be no funds available to pay W3C
membership fees)

And, when I am looking at the GPL license language, I do see that there
is obviously a provision there when modifying the Program to the point
where all major parts of the intended functionality (e.g. CSS/HTML
layout engine) are lost and only separate code fragments remain for
completely different purpose would no longer be qualified as *the
Program* but rather a different Program. From the point of view of the
letter of the law (and this is exactly how lawyers will look at it) GPL
license and W3C RF policy are in agreement with each other. I know, the
advocates of the FSF would claim that W3C policy may be against the
spirit of FSF and GPL license, but the only way I can get the acceptable
result is if I can make a very good case to my company lawyer as to why
this binding legal commitment to give away our legitimate patent rights
(and the rights to protect our IP) is necessary. Last time I checked -
lawyers don't deal with spirits :)

Taking hard stance on either side will likely get us nowhere - we need
to meet somewhere in between, and if climbing the mountain is necessary
- we need to do it together.

Thank you,

> --
> Mikko
Received on Wednesday, 12 November 2008 17:09:49 UTC

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