links for 2007-08-31

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links for 2007-08-27

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links for 2007-08-23

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  • Asterisk billing platform – must see if it provides a nice interface for account balances for softphones.
    (tags: asterisk voip)

Patent licences and free software

freesoftware, General 7 Comments

“Knowingly relying” means you have actual knowledge that, but for the patent license, your conveying the covered work in a country, or your recipient’s use of the covered work in a country, would infringe one or more identifiable patents in that country that you have reason to believe are valid.

(Updated) GPL v3, section 11

In certain domains, essential technologies are patented (specifically, audio & video codecs), so if you want to interoperate with existing technologies as free software, you need to have free software implementations of the patented technologies. And the patent holders typically aren’t very friendly and don’t make grants that cut off their revenue streams.

Some standards bodies (MPEG, IETF, ITU) standardise codecs which are legally encumbered, usually dictating that “Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory” conditions must apply for implementations of the standard. However, these terms usually exclude free software implementations by requiring a patent fee, and are thus pretty unreasonable to me.

What if I deliberately write software which I know will infringe a patent, without a patent grant or licence, and release it under the GPL?

First, may I do so, under the terms of the GPL? I don’t see why not.

Second, if I do, what penalties am I leaving myself open to? A C&D letter? A hefty law-suit which will leave my family eating oatmeal out of garbage cans for the foreseeable future?

links for 2007-08-22

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links for 2007-08-08

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links for 2007-08-02

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