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ZDNet: Stallman: 'Patent Licenses Discriminate'

Apr 24, 2002, 17:30 (22 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard Stallman)

"In order for standards to be useful for the general computer-using public, the standards must be freely implementable by all.

"In order to give free software a chance to compete, the standards must allow free software implementations. Many standards bodies do not insist on this--they promulgate patent-restricted standards that the public cannot freely implement and that don't allow free software at all.

"These standards bodies typically have a policy of obtaining patent licenses that require a fixed fee per copy of a conforming program. They often refer to such licenses by the term 'RAND,' which stands for 'reasonable and non-discriminatory.' That term whitewashes a class of patent licenses that are normally neither reasonable nor non-discriminatory. It is true that these licenses do not discriminate against any specific person, but they do discriminate against the free software community, and that makes them unreasonable. Thus, half of 'RAND' is deceptive and the other half is prejudiced..."

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