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Re: Of the XPointer Patent [was Re: (Second) Last Call for XPointer1.0]>
- From: John Cowan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- To: Uche Ogbuji <email@example.com>,"firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2001 13:12:13 -0500
Uche Ogbuji wrote:
> Oh boy. So since 4XPointer uses 4XPath, and 4XPath comes with a set
> of extension functions (as do most XPath implementations), I think
> this may end up applying to me,
It sure does.
> Nasty. A stealth click-agreement.
> Shows no warning that the reader has just been ostensibly nabbed
> according to some contract that was posted to a mailing list
Actually, the 5th paragraph of the Status section links to the contract.
> But all this is not to admit tha the patent is valid.
The patent bit is just to give teeth to the license. Without the
patent, you might be able to wiggle out of the license requirements
on the grounds that the mere act of downloading the specification
didn't constitute consent.
But what this says is, "Play by our rules, or we might sue for
infringement". Since patent infringement doesn't require that
you agree to anything, it escapes the notion of mutual acceptance,
and allows Sun to punish people who don't obey the unilateral
1) The history of open standards and open source shows that people
are far more likely to *press* to get their proprietary changes
into version 2, than to need to be coerced to do so.
2) If Sun really wants to be a white-hat, it should license everybody
in the world to practice the patent for the purposes of XPointer
implementation. The current scheme merely commits Sun (no mention
of assignees) not to sue infringers, and does not prevent Sun from
sublicensing the patent to Nastyco and then letting Nastyco
sue you for infringement. Though such a suit would probably
be thrown out (unclean hands), the threat of it would certainly
be a dandy coercive tool.
Disclaimer: I am not attacking the integrity or good faith of
any Sun employee. The proper attitude to any contract is
"Assume all parties drop dead tomorrow and their heirs
hate each other."
There is / one art || John Cowan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
no more / no less || http://www.reutershealth.com
to do / all things || http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
with art- / lessness \\ -- Piet Hein