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Re: lynx-dev Patent on Hyperlinks

From: David Woolley
Subject: Re: lynx-dev Patent on Hyperlinks
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 08:22:37 +0100 (BST)

> You gotta accept a license first, in order to then have a conflict that
> would prevent you from distributing lynx.

No.  You only have to accept the patent.  Once you have a patent or copyright,
there is no default licence.  This is put quite well, for copyright,
in the GPL:

     5. You are not required to accept this License, since you have not
   signed it.  However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or
   distribute the Program or its derivative works.  These actions are

i.e. the whole power of the GPL is based on the fact that no licence
means no permission.

A valid patent on hyperlinks in browsers without a licence would mean
that you could not use hyperlink technology in any software in the
territories where that patent was valid on software.  I.E. you would
not be able to use Lynx in such a territory, whereas a conflict would
only stop your re-distributing it.

There can be effective class licenses, e.g. I think that Netscape's patent
on SSL is class licensed to everyone; they hold the patent to stop anyone
else getting one (which suggests a lack of trust in the prior art defence!).

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