rms at gnu.org
Thu Oct 18 22:41:15 PDT 2001
In effect, I think it implies that redistributing a program
covered by non-royalty-free patents is a violation of the GPL.
Yes, that is the idea. Section 7 makes it clearer. The aim is
to prevent a patent from being used to make a free program non-free.
I think of this as the "liberty or death" clause.
However, the issue is complicated by the fact that the scope of any
patent is not certain until there is an attempt to enforce it, and
its validity is uncertain until tested. Therefore, the mere existence
of a patent which there has been no effort to enforce cannot be
considered a actual problem, only a potential one.
You refer to issues involving LAME and Freetype, but I am not familiar
with those cases, so I cannot comment on them.
So, if they were to release PlusV under the GPL, and not grant a
royalty-free license to GPL users/authors, then what happens to them?
I don't know what PlusV is, but our lawyer recently told me that any
patent holder that releases a GPL-covered program which the patent
covers is implicitly licensing the patent for that use. That may be
relevant to the situation.
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