Converting/Splitting Code - Open to Closed
Dave J Woolley
david.woolley at bts.co.uk
Tue Feb 13 11:25:54 UTC 2001
> This is one of the dangers of basing Linux (or any other large,
> multicontributor project) on the GPL; the threat that something embedded
> deeply in the code could eventually have an external patent applied,
[DJW:] In the UK, one is always told never to reveal
anything about something you intend to patent, except
under a confidentiality agreement, because the patent
would be invalid if details were published first.
Is this not true for US software patents?
I'm pretty sure that no-one else could validly patent
something that appeared in open source code, after the
publication, as there would clearly be prior art.
The real risk is that someone interprets an old patent
of theirs as applying to code written after the patent
I believe Netscape patentented SSL in order to reduce the
risk of anyone else claiming that a patent applied.
On the original question, I'm not sure about taking GPLed
code out of GPL retrospectively, although I don't think
the FSF intended this to be possible. However, the
copyright owner can licence the same code under a
different licence and can licence a derivative that they
themselves create under any licence they like.
I Am Not A Lawyer.
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