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Kuro5hin.org: Beyond copyright -- IP for protocols

May 15, 2000, 15:22 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by kmself)

[ Thanks to rusty for this link. ]

"Bruce Perens's Technocrat article criticizing the Kerberos protocol of having been released under excessively liberal terms is on the mark. While it may not be clear, Bruce isn't calling for release of the protocol under the terms of the GNU GPL, but that similar licensing concepts be applied. The Kerberos protocol must be freely available, assure interoperability, and require that new implementations of the standard be similarly made freely available. Copyright-based licensing, while common in the free software community, is the wrong tool for this job."

"Kerberos is licensed under terms which are too generous and too open to abuse, particularly in a climate in which embrace-and-extend "innovation" -- hostile hijacking of open standards -- is common "competitive" practice. The protocol is currently in danger of being splintered and rendered meaningless by the self-serving actions of Microsoft. Closer attention to how standards are established in the free software community is called for."

"The problem in the free software community is that we've adopted an "our tool is a hammer and the world is a nail" approach to intellectual property. The focus is on copyright licensing terms, inspired by the success of the GNU GPL, BSD, and MIT licenses. Patents are almost universally decried as an evil abomination on the face of software, and trademark is virtually ignored, except to the extent companies don't wish to lose control of existing brands. We keep trying to pound our IP nails with our copyright license hammers, and get frustrated when the nails get bent, or refuse to drive home."

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