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Re: TomTom, the GPL and patents

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: TomTom, the GPL and patents
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 11:15:07 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20081209)

Rjack wrote:
Hyman Rosen wrote:
Why do you think this means that anyone is trying to control software patents that they don't own?

You have linked your GPL copyright license distribution clause to
depend on the freedom of exercise of another's patent rights.

Yes. Why do you think this means that anyone is trying to control
software patents that they don't own? Why do you find this question
so difficult to answer?

The purpose of distributing under the GPL is so that users can run,
read, modify, and share the software they receive. If something would
prevent them from doing these things, then their freedoms are vitiated.
Under those circumstances, there is no point in distributing software
them, and so the GPL forbids it.

As well, this is meant to discourage deliberately dishonest code
grabbers who would ostensibly distribute free software but then use
their own patents to prevent users from exercising their freedoms.

> By the way, your "four freedoms" are really "restrictions" cloaked
> in socialist semantics.

No. They are freedoms for users of software. They are indeed
restrictions on developers and distributors of software, for
the purpose of making sure that no one can take free software
and distribute it to users while denying them the four freedoms.
The FSF does not care at all if their licensing causes difficulty
for software developers and distributors, especially since most
of the complaints come from those who are seeking to deny their
users freedoms.

GNUtians don't like the accepted definition of "freedom" so they
just moooooooooooove the definition to a definition they prefer.

Users of GPLed software are free to run the software, free to read
the software, free to modify the software, and free to share the
software. All of these uses of the word "free" are conventional. It
is only people who want to deny these freedoms to the users to whom
they distribute software who complain about being denied the "freedom"
to do so, a freedom which no one ever promised them.

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