Free Software friendly patent pools
Posted Aug 18, 2010 17:56 UTC (Wed) by hingo
In reply to: Free Software friendly patent pools
Parent article: A very grumpy editor's thoughts on Oracle
I haven't looked into it in great depth. I'm generally sceptical of "market" solutions, so I focus on legislation, courts, and government policies.
Interesting, to me FOSS proves that we can solve problems ourselves, despite lack of cooperation from governments and courts.
"Copyleft for patents" doesn't sound accurate, AFAICT. It seems more like a patent non-aggression pact, or a demilitarised zone.
Analogues may never be perfect (Creative Commons isn't exactly like open source, but still inspired by it). What always thrilled me about the GPL is the back story that RMS initially saw copyright as something negative, until he realized he can also use copyright to protect his own ideals and invented copyleft. So I see the DPL in a similar light: If we fail to change the law, then we can still neutralize patents one by one. The GPL also didn't "neutralize" copyright immediately, we had to spend decades writing GPL software first! But that might still be faster than waiting for the next SCOTUS ruling :-)
There are other aspects about the DPL too that are GPL-like: It's a license, not an organization or corporation (so there is no central control so it cannot "go bad", be acquired, etc...). So it is a virtual pool rather than a real pool.
There is one major difference though: When we write useful GPL software, people start using it and they then enter the domain of the GPL. But patents in the DPL pool are in themselves purely passive, so why would someone join the DPL? If the only companies to join the DPL virtual pool are such that would never assert their patents anyway, then nothing has really changed.
I've a short en.swpat.org page: Defensive Patent License. The en.swpat.org wiki is a general information resource, so it aims to documents topics like the DPL from all angles, not just my opinion. If you've links or explanations about why DPL is an important step forward, they'd be very welcome.
Thanks. Will put it on my todo list, which is a bit long at the moment.
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