[SciPy-dev] Python (Enthought Edition) for Windows test release
eric at enthought.com
Fri Jan 28 21:18:35 CST 2005
I haven't checked into the patent issues at all with lawyeres, so we
should definitely turn off the patented code for the distribution. I
needed to test one of them for some internal work, hence my request to
have them turned on for a distribution. Turns out we didn't need them
after all for what we were doing.
Robert Kern wrote:
> Joe Cooper wrote:
>> Yeah...My position was "I will not include the patented classes,
>> until those patents are confirmed expired". Eric vetoed that
>> position on the basis that he thinks one of the patented classes is
>> pretty cool.
> Well, yeah. If it weren't cool and useful, it wouldn't be patented. :-)
>> I think there was some debate on whether some or all of the patents
>> were still enforceable. I suppose we'll have to see.
> (Before I begin, I will state that I am not a lawyer; this is not
> legal advice.)
> Which ones? Two of the patents look like they are going to expire this
> summer (assuming the usual 20-year patent term) but not before then.
> One of the patents is still pending.
> February 24, 1995
> [Note: the title given in the header file has a typo:
> s/Reducting/Reducing/, and the patent number given is just wrong.]
> August 28, 1985
> Patent pending
> June 5, 1985
> July 5, 1994
> The others have no comments about patents, but I believe they depend
> on the other classes in VTK/Patented.
>> Anyway, my understanding is that free distribution is never a
>> problem. So our primary responsibility is to warn people of their
>> existence within the distribution, so they won't use them in
>> commercial software without awareness of their liability...since they
>> have to read the VTK docs to use them, I would guess that would know
>> which classes were questionable. But I'll add a "README.PATENTED" to
>> the docs directory and docs menu to explain it all.
> The problem with this is that patent infringement isn't like GPL
> infringement. GPL's conditions are triggered when you redistribute
> code, but simple use of the software is unrestricted. That's why it
> makes sense to include readline et al. with a warning that if people
> intend to redistribute Enthon binaries, they have to also distribute
> (or offer to distribute) the readline sources. They don't have to
> think about the GPL until they start distributing stuff, in which
> case, reading licenses is something they have to do regardless.
> However, patent infringement triggers on *use* for commercial purposes
> (which, as of 2003, now includes essentially all university research
> as well). Anyone using Marching Cubes to make an image is potentially
> infringing on the patent; if and how they distribute the code that
> makes the image is immaterial. Every time a user sits down with Mayavi
> or tvtk, they're going to have to think about which classes to avoid
> if they care about not infringing on the patents.
> Now, if Eric has talked with Enthought's lawyer about this, I'll shut
> up about the Windows and Linux releases although I still don't feel
> right about doing it myself for the Mac version.
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