Subject: Re: termless copyright and patents
From: simo <s@ssimo.org>
Date: Sat, 07 Oct 2006 10:43:33 -0400

On Sat, 2006-10-07 at 23:24 +0900, stephen@xemacs.org wrote:
> GPLv2 has two big ol' holes in it, though.  The first is *really* big,
> that GPLv2 doesn't grant permission to *run* the program!  So the
> implicit patent license arguably doesn't apply to that!  The second is
> that the whole issue of the implied patent license becomes really
> murky with respect to anybody who didn't receive the GPL from the
> patentholder.  In the case of a verbatim copy, I think you're OK.  But
> in the case of a modified copy, the downstream recipient has *not*
> received a license to the *claim*, he has received a license to the
> claim *as embodied in the work conveyed by the patentholder*, and what
> that means a court would have to decide.

I fully agree this is a very possible outcome with GPLv2, even if it is
a bit strict reading, as the GPL explicitly permits redistribution.
Therefore I would not like to be the judge in charge of the decision,
and I think different cases could result in two opposite decisions based
on other circumstances.

> If I were the judge deciding what GPLv2's implicit license says, I
> (like simo and Stallman and Moglen) would probably come up with
> something like paragraph 1 of section 11 of GPLv3d2.  But I can easily
> imagine both substantially more restrictive readings (including that
> the license is only for verbatim copies and personal mods) or more
> permissive readings (including your "suggestive claims").

Very true, that's why I like the GPLv3, it makes clear, black on white,
what's in play. And what's in play is what's reasonable to ask a patent
holder imo, no more, no less.

Simo.