Questions about patents and open source licences

David Woolley forums at
Wed Apr 2 09:12:02 UTC 2008

Matthew Flaschen wrote:
> GPLv2 has this provision:
> If the distribution and/or use of the Program is restricted in certain 

Note the *is*.  I believe the intent of this is to permit distribution, 
not to restrict distribution.  It's intended for those cases where the 
normal GPL terms would void the GPL's permission to distribute because 
of a patent conflict.  It isn't intended to be a pre-emptive measure 
against unknown patents.

> countries either by patents or by copyrighted interfaces, the original 
> copyright holder who places the Program under this License may add an 
> explicit geographical distribution limitation excluding those countries, 
> so that distribution is permitted only in or among countries not thus 
> excluded. In such case, this License incorporates the limitation as if 
> written in the body of this License.
> However, I would not recommend using it.

In particular, I'm not sure that the GPL plus a geographic restrictions 
is an OSI approved licence.

David Woolley
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