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From "Roy T. Fielding" <>
Subject Re: [VOTE] Graduate Beehive into a TLP
Date Fri, 15 Jul 2005 12:01:24 GMT
On Jul 15, 2005, at 4:03 AM, Simon Kitching wrote:
> I am concerned about:
> * Situations like the Web Security project, where the OASIS
> specification being implemented by Apache explicitly states that there
> are patents claimed over the specification.

Then go look at the source of the specifications, if any.

> * Situations where the original provider of the code explicitly stating
> that there are patents on the work they are providing, and that they 
> are
> providing licensing to Apache for the purposes of that project.

That is what the CLA covers, and is required of all contributors.

> 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.


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