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From Simon Kitching <skitch...@apache.org>
Subject Re: [VOTE] Graduate Beehive into a TLP
Date Sat, 16 Jul 2005 04:46:04 GMT
On Fri, 2005-07-15 at 05:01 -0700, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
> > Discussions regarding the Web Security situation on legal-discuss have
> > revealed that IBM have provided a "patent license" to Apache for this
> > particular project. However, in the opinions of at least one lawyer, 
> > any
> > derivative work beyond "minor bugfixes" will require an explicit patent
> > grant from IBM. I've joined that discussion half-way through, so can't
> > say much more until I have time to trawl through the whole thread.
> > However this just doesn't fit with my idea of open source.
> 
> That's because the conversation consists of a bunch of nonsensical
> questions asked of a lawyer who is trying to figure out what on earth
> the person is asking.  IBM has a set of licenses to Apache in the
> forms of CLAs that apply to any project in which IBM contributes,
> a larger number of blanket patent grants to any open source project
> (I have no idea if these are included since no actual patents have
> been claimed), and a blanket reciprocal patent license that applies
> in all other cases.
> 
> Every line of java code is covered by at least two patents and
> usually dozens more that may or may not be licensed.  Asking if they
> exist is a completely irrelevant question.  We only care about
> patents that are being actively enforced without an RF license.
> 
> > Given this, it would be nice to know that the Beehive project doesn't
> > have any such situation (ie patent license explicitly granted to Apache
> > but *not* to derivative works) before promotion out of the sandbox
> > occurs.
> 
> Derivative works is a definition from COPYRIGHT law.  It is totally
> irrelevant *unless* the patent license is explicitly limited to
> unmodified works.  The Apache CLA is a patent license from the
> contributor to all recipients of the ASF software -- whether or
> not the software changes is irrelevant because the license is
> given to the people, not to lines of code.

Just for general information, Jeffrey Thompson has given a nice summary
of the general situation with WSS4J (and in a very amusing manner).
Larry Rosen has followed up with an interesting set of questions phrased
in the appropriate legal terms.

Larry's questions cover roughly the same ground I was asking, so my
questions weren't completely "nonsensical". Clearly the issues about
patent grants and derivative works are not clear at the moment.

However from what I can see (and from the replies on this thread) this
particular discussion does not impact the Beehive project.

See the email of Sat, 16 Jul 2005 on legal-discuss with subject "IBM and
Apache":

http://mail-archives.apache.org/mod_mbox/www-legal-discuss/200507.mbox/%
3c20050715230454.GA43792@mail26b.sbc-webhosting.com%3e


Regards,

Simon


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