[Members] Patents and Copyright in XEPs

Winfried Tilanus winfried at tilanus.com
Tue Jan 21 08:44:54 UTC 2014

On 01/16/2014 09:13 PM, Arc Riley wrote:


> On patents, I have always liked IETF's stance of disclosure.

Yes, it starts with disclosure. Without it you are only talking about
unknowns and taking unnecessary risks.

> Obviously I don't think the XSF should promote any XEP which cannot be
> implemented freely since it prevents that XEP from being implemented by
> FOSS clients/servers.  Trying to codify what it means for something to
> be free to implement is a bit more tricky, though, and highly
> situationally dependent.

Now, lets take me along a thought experiment:

A PHD student cryptography decides to solve the e2e encryption problem
in XMPP forever and designs a cryptography algorithm that allows
encrypting the metadata *and* routing the stanza's at the same time. Her
university decides to file a patent over it, but grants a nice license
with it, saying: "Free for use within the XMPP protocol. For all other
use, please contact us for license arrangements." The student then
submits a XEP with this, including disclosure and this license.

What would our reaction be:
a) This is not a free license. Reject!
b) This is free for use within XMPP, so perfectly acceptable as a XEP
and it gives XMPP as a protocol a great advantage. Yes please!
c) Eh, wasn't this a hypothetical case Winfried mentioned once in a
discussion? Glad we didn't discuss it *before* it came reality!

While option c is nice of course, I think we may help our luck a bit if
we make up our mind right now. If we like option b, we can actively
promote that solution when dealing with (potential) patent issues. And
if we dislike option c, we can actively steer towards a free for
everyone license.


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