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Re: Gates Patents Flipping a Light Switch

From: Lee Hollaar
Subject: Re: Gates Patents Flipping a Light Switch
Date: 16 May 2004 13:38:22 GMT

In article <> 
(phil hunt) writes:
>On 15 May 2004 20:17:52 GMT, Lee Hollaar <> wrote:
>>In article <> 
>> (phil hunt) writes:
>>>So, IYO, criminalising open source software helps people who use 
>>>open source software.
>>At least in the United States, there are no criminal provisions that
>>stem from patent infringement.
>If you infringe a patent, and a court tells you to stop doing it, 
>and you keep on doing it, I expect sooner or later the authorities 
>will arrest and imprison you.

By that line of reasoning (?), open source licenses have already
been "criminalised" because if you breach them, are sued and are
ordered to stop your breach, and don't stop, "sooner or later the
authorities will arrest and imprison you."

But even that would be "civil contempt," not "criminal contempt,"
of the court, so even that stretch to justify your charge against
patents isn't correct.

Unlike with patents, infringement of the copyright on open source
(and any other) software is already a criminal offense in the United
States if it is both willful and exceeds a statutory limit or is
for financial gain.  (See 17 USC 506.)  That gives added teeth to
the open source licenses.

So, I guess you were right when you said "criminalising open source
software helps people who use open source software," but probably
not how you intended it.

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