Subject: Re: APSL 1.1 and license suspension
From: Chip Salzenberg <chip@perlsupport.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 10:20:01 -0400

According to Ean R . Schuessler:
> What I would like a better understanding of is Apple's desire to
> cross the wires of their copyright agreement and any patent
> agreements that might be related.

To use your term, the law itself has crossed those wires.  Apple's
just acknowledging it and dealing with it.

You need to get something straight: Copyright is simply the legal
mechanism by which an author automatically has certain rights that
are, by default, exclusive.  Then that author may grant certain of his
rights to others, under certain conditions, using a license.  But such
a license is **NOT** strictly a copyright thing.  It's a general
contract thing: "I grant you the right to copy and use, if you meet
certain requirements set out in this document.

The fact that the GPL doesn't deal with patents and particularly
'contributory infringement' (shudder) could actually be construed as a
flaw in the GPL, at least from the point of view of any entity with
deep pockets.

> I think that the general fear is that there may be some patent that
> comes into play in a piece of APSL source code and a given party
> will never have a chance to address the issue of patent
> infringement, or lack thereof, in court because Apple decides to
> role over and play dead on some given patent.

There's no help for this, to my knowledge, except the evisceration
of the entire field of software patents.

> There may be some other party that is willing to address the patent
> suit where Apple wasn't (for reasons of return on investment or
> otherwise) and they will never be in a position to do so because
> their copyrights on the source code will have expired due to the
> patent litigation termination clause.

But the APSL 1.1 makes direct acknowledgement of each user's right to
make independent arrangements.  What else *could* Apple do?
-- 
Chip Salzenberg      - a.k.a. -      <chip@perlsupport.com>
      "When do you work?"   "Whenever I'm not busy."