Subject: Re: GPL code contamination?
To: Richard Earnshaw <>
From: Bill Studenmund <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 04/23/2005 22:06:43
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On Sat, Apr 23, 2005 at 07:30:00PM +0100, Richard Earnshaw wrote:
> On 23 Apr 2005 13:46:38 EDT, Greg Troxel wrote:
> > IANAL, TINLA, speaking only for myself blah blah blah
> >=20
> Ditto.
> > If the code requires patent licenses to function, that's a separate
> > issue. =20
> Indeed.
> > But if that's the case, GPL'd code cannot be distributed
> > anyway.
> I believe this is wrong.  It's certainly a dangerous assumption to make,=
> because from it one might conclude that anything under the GPL is thus=20
> patent free and hence safe.  With the situation with US patent law as it=
> is at present (tripple damages for knowing infringement) patent attorneys=
> I've spoken to have said that it's generally safer for a programmer *not*=
> to check for possible infringements and to just do it anyway and hope...

You're right that that could happen (someone put the GPL on code covered=20
by a patent for which they do not have the right to distribute patent=20
access). It would be a very unusual legal situation, as the code would not=
be legally GPL-able. :-)

Take care,


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