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Re: Here are some of my ideas for Fedora 8 and Fedora 9

on 7/7/2007 11:32 AM, Les Mikesell wrote:
> Erik Hemdal wrote:
>>> From: Les Mikesell <lesmikesell gmail com>
>> . . . .
>>> Erik Hemdal wrote:
>>>> . . . 
>>>>>>> I think there would be an interesting legal argument that nearly all
>>>>>>> potential users have already paid the relevant patent royalties
>>>>>>> indirectly in the form of drivers and other software provided by the
>> . . . .
>>>> I think you're wise. Patent licenses cover the processes, but software
>>>> licenses cover the individual implementations that might use patented
>>>> inventions.  So you or I would probably be toast using that argument.
>>>> Inventor patents an invention under Patent 1 and licenses it to 
>>>> Developer, who releases "Product A".  This product uses the invention in
>>>> Patent 1 legally, because Developer paid for a patent license.  You
>>>> license Product A from Developer when you buy your PC and a copy of
>>>> Windows.  You have a license to use the Product, but you don't have any
>>>> rights to exploit Patent 1 -- just to use the particular implementation
>>>> you licensed from Developer.
>>>> Let's say someone else uses the invention in Patent 1 in Product B, but
>>>> he doesn't obtain a patent license.  If you use Product B, you are at
>>>> some risk, because Product B infringes Inventor's patent rights.  You
>>>> might get away with it for a while, if Inventor doesn't protect his
>>>> invention, or just doesn't notice that Product B came out.  But you're
>>>> exposed nonetheless.
>>> Take a slightly different approach here.  Suppose instead of replacing 
>>> product A with product B, you make a small modification to product A. Do 
>>> you have the right to do that and still use it? 
>> Nice to see you back, Les.  I always learn a lot from your posts.  This
>> time, I agree with you, but you might not agree with yourself by the end
>> of things.
>> If you have the right to modify Product A, then I think I agree with
>> you, you can modify it as you wish.  If Product A in practice is a
>> closed-source application, you can't modify it, though.  So the right to
>> modify the software doesn't buy you anything.
>> If you obtain Product B that implements some patented process from
>> someone who does not have a patent license, then you should not use it.
>> Even if the author gives you the right to modify his source code, he
>> does not have the right to use the patented process in the software he's
>> distributing to you.  He owns his code, to be sure, but he doesn't own
>> the process.  That's owned by the patent holder, who didn't get paid.
>> If the process isn't patentable where he lives, he's free to give the
>> software to people there, and to give you different software that
>> doesn't rely on the patented process.  
>> There are a lot of wrinkles here.  What if the author doesn't know that
>> you got the software?  What if you got the software from someone else
>> who lives where the author does?  What if the Product B software doesn't
>> really implement the patented process?  What if you didn't know that the
>> process was patented in the first place?  You need an attorney for these
>> questions. 
>> Whether you've licensed some other software that uses the patented
>> process has no bearing.  You're still free to use it, but you chose not
>> to.  
>> Here's another way to look at it.  If I buy a car with anti-lock brakes,
>> I get to use that patented technology. I can disassemble the ABS module
>> if I want and try to make my own module (the right-to-modify point).
>> But I can't get anti-lock brakes on my next car for free; nor can I
>> demand free ABS on a Chrysler just because my Ford ABS module is sitting
>> on the shelf.
>> I always worry that I won't make the point I intend, or maybe offend
>> someone in doing it.  Does that help you to see my point?
> I don't think this point is clear at all.  This is software, remember, 
> just a collection of bits and I'm introducing the modifications myself. 
> Suppose I rearrange a few of the bits in program A as my own 
> modification, but keeping all the 1's and 0's that used to be there. 
> Suppose I keep rearranging them until they look just like program B 
> which might be something I developed myself or it might be very close or 
> identical to something someone else has done and published.  At what 
> point do I stop having the right to use the process permitted by those 
> original bits that I still own.  Now it becomes a question of whether I 
> have the right to use the parts of that paid-for Ford ABS if I bolt them 
> onto a Chrysler myself.

I guess I will try to explain this to you one last time.

The person(s) that wrote Program A, the one that you have on CD, bought
and paid for a license to utilize certain other software in *their*
Program A as needed. The original owner still owns the needed parts and
Program A does not own anything except Program A. It just pays to use ihe
other parts.

You paid for a license to *use* Program A, even if it was bundled software
that came with your computer when you bought it, as a whole product. You
do not *own* Program A or anyof its parts. You can only use Program A as a
whole product or give Program A away as a whole if you remove it from your
computer. You do *not* have a license to use any of the parts seperately
in any way. Program A has the right to use the parts. Not you. You only
have the license to use Program A as a whole product.

Simply put - You have a license to use, you do *not* even own, the whole
Program A as provided and not the individual parts that Program A uses.

Now if you want to write Program B and you use *any* of the copyrighted
parts from Program A, or any of the parts that make up Program A if it is
copyrighted, that you, yourself, do not have a license that *you* paid for
to use you are breaking the law. Period.

Honestly. Just read one of the darn EULAs. Or have an attorney explain it
to you.



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