rms at gnu.org
Sat Oct 20 08:39:02 PDT 2001
So assuming what we have is a GPLed piece of software that is covered by
a third party patent that is enforceable, what happens? :)
If you believe the patent covers this program and is enforcible,
then you can't distribute the program without infringing either
the patent or the copyright, which means you can't distribute the
program at all.
What does this do to their Free Software status? Can it be said that
LAME is not Free Software because of this patent issue?
Essentially yes, we cannot consider it free software in the countries
where the patent exists.
prevent LAME from suing someone who infringed on its copyright?
Not at all. Anyone who tried to obey a patent license by distributing
LAME with less than full GPL freedoms would be infringing the copyright
and could be sued for this.
Remember that patents and copyrights are separate areas of law and
have nothing to do with each other. They operate totally
Ok, so we've come full circle. So it does seem that GPLing your
patented code also implies royalty-free license to that
Please don't use the term "intellectual property"; it is a recipe for
confusing yourself. I wrote an explanation, which you can find in
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html; please do read it.
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