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SubjectRe: large page patch (fwd) (fwd)
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On Monday 12 August 2002 04:22 am, Daniel Phillips wrote:

> Yes. I would like to add my current rmap optimization work, if it is
> worthy for the usual reasons, to the kernel under a DPL license which is in
> every respect the GPL, except that it adds one additional restriction along
> the lines:
>
> "If you enforce a patent against a user of this code, or you have a
> beneficial relationship with someone who does, then your licence to
> use or distribute this code is automatically terminated"
>
> with more language to extend the protection to the aggregate work, and to
> specify that we are talking about enforcement of patents concerned with any
> part of the aggregate work. Would something like that fly?
>
> In other words, use copyright law as a lever against patent law.

More than that, the GPL could easily be used to form a "patent pool". Just
say "This patent is licensed for use in GPL code. If you want to use it
outside of GPL code, you need a seperate license."

The purpose of modern patents is Mutually Assured Destruction: If you sue me,
I have 800 random patents you're bound to have infringed just by breating,
and even though they won't actually hold up to scrutiny I can keep you tied
up in court for years and force you to spend millions on legal fees. So why
don't you just cross-license your entire patent portfolio with us, and that
way we can make the whole #*%(&#% patent issue just go away. (Notice: when
aybody DOES sue, the result is usually a cross-licensing agreement of the
entire patent portfolio. Even in those rare cases when the patent
infringement is LEGITIMATE, the patent system is too screwed up to function
against large corporations due to the zillions of frivolous patents and the
tendency for corporations to have lawyers on staff so defending a lawsuit
doesn't really cost them anything.)

This is how companies like IBM and even Microsoft think. They get as many
patents as possible to prevent anybody ELSE from suing them, because the
patent office is stupid enough to give out a patent on scrollbars a decade
after the fact and they don't want to be on the receiving end of this
nonsense. And then they blanket cross-license with EVERYBODY, so nobody can
sue them.

People do NOT want to give a blanket license to everybody for any use on
these patents because it gives up the one thing they're good for: mutually
assured destruction. Licensing for "open source licenses" could mean "BSD
license but we never gave anybody any source code, so ha ha."

But if people with patents were to license all their patents FOR USE IN GPL
CODE, then any proprietary infringement (or attempt to sue) still gives them
leverage for a counter-suit. (IBM retained counter-suit ability in a
different way: you sue, the license terminates. That's not bad, but I think
sucking the patent system into the GPL the same way copyright gets inverted
would be more useful.)

This is more or less what Red Hat's done with its patents, by the way.
Blanket license for use under GPL-type licenses, but not BSD because that
would disarm mutually assured destruction. Now if we got somebody like IBM
on board a GPL patent pool (with more patents than anybody else, as far as I
know), that would realy mean something...

Unfortunately, the maintainer of the GPL is Stallman, so he's the logical guy
to spearhead a "GPL patent pool" project, but any time anybody mentions the
phrase "intellectual property" to him he goes off on a tangent about how you
shouldn't call anything "intellectual property", so how can you have a
discussion about it, and nothing ever gets done. It's FRUSTRATING to see
somebody with such brilliant ideas hamstrung not just by idealism, but
PEDANTIC idealism.

Sigh...

Rob
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