Subject: Re: patent trolls and X-licensors
From: Randy Kramer <>
Date: Wed, 31 May 2006 10:34:24 -0400


On Wednesday 31 May 2006 07:27 am, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> Of course.  If you knowingly violate a patent, that's probably a
> criminal offense (knowingly violating a registered copyright is the
> analogy I have in mind).

(Minor point, not the reason I replied)  Knowingly violating a patent 
increases the penalties drastically, iirc, the actual damages are tripled.

> Incentive and social possibility?  Although the law is heavily
> constrained by precedent, it is by no means static.  If patent
> prosecutions of OSS projects start to become commonplace, and heavy
> damages awarded against hobbyist hackers, etc, you can bet it will
> become an issue.  If a hobbyist can be sued because he was unaware of
> information that might be worth a large fraction of his annual salary
> to discover---and he can, as you know--- do you really think the law
> will not respond to this stupidity if it becomes commonplace?

Yes, or very slowly.  Witness the lawsuits and penalties for copyright/DCMA 
violations for copying music.  (And the housewives, parents, grandparents 
being subjected to these penalties.)

Randy Kramer