Subject: Re: New angle on the patent problem
From: Brian Bartholomew <bb@wv.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 03:52:12 -0400

> Too large a pool of extended works -- say everything licensed under
> the GNU GPL -- and the "stick" becomes an outright patent grab.

If you don't believe in patents, this outcome is wonderful.  If you do
believe in some non-software kinds of patents, such as drug and
chemical compositions, you can exclude those kinds from the license.

However, I think "grab" is not the best description.  You aren't
grabbing control of something that you can then control for your own
purposes.  Rather, you are nullifying the effect of a control with a
stalemate.  Mutually Assured Disruption.

I am afraid that if the business world was asked to choose between
software patents and GPL software, the GPL software would go in the
trash.  Perhaps the license change could be done as an experiment.  If
the change killed the growth of GPL acceptance, it could be revoked.


A member of the League for Programming Freedom (LPF) http://lpf.ai.mit.edu
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Brian Bartholomew - bb@wv.com - www.wv.com - Working Version, Cambridge, MA