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TomTom, the GPL and patents

From: Rjack
Subject: TomTom, the GPL and patents
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 10:18:10 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20081209)

Why not be realistic? You can't extended your copyrights to control
intellectual property outside of your copyright grant. There is *no*
question that a patent is outside the ownership grant of a copyright:

17 USC 102. Subject matter of copyright.

(b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of
authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method
of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the
form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied
in such work.

Never in his wildest dreams will a GPL licensor control software
patents he *doesn't* own with a copyright grant that he does own:

"The misuse defense prevents copyright holders from leveraging their
limited monopoly to allow them control of areas outside the
monopoly. See Lasercomb, 911 F.2d 970 at 976-77; see also Religious
Tech. Ctr. v. Lerma, No. 95-1107A, 1996 WL 633131, at *11 (E.D. Va.
Oct. 4, 1996) (listing circumstances which indicate improper
leverage)."; A&M RECORDS, INC. v. NAPSTER, INC., 239 F.3d 1004 (9th
Cir. 2001).

"Misuse of copyright applies where the copyright owner tries to
extend the copyright beyond its intended reach, thereby augmenting
the physical scope of copyright protection. It typically arises in
situations where it is alleged that the copyright owner projected
his unique rights in a work onto other, unrelated products or
services."; Religious Tech. Ctr. v. Lerma, No. 95-1107A, (E.D. Va.

The great debate on the software blogs about TomTom violating the
GPL is sheer nonsense of the same caliber as Eben Moglen's nonsense
about a copyright license not being a contract.

Rjack :)

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