[Members] Patents and Copyright in XEPs

Kurt Zeilenga kurt.zeilenga at isode.com
Tue Jan 21 10:56:28 UTC 2014

On Jan 21, 2014, at 12:44 AM, Winfried Tilanus <winfried at tilanus.com> wrote:

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

There's more options.

For instance, maybe the patent is not valid for some reason...

I prefer we take the IETF approach which is to let consensus drive whether the need for licensing, and the type of licensing needed, depends on the particulars of the situation as determined by consensus.

I note that the IETF never itself takes a position on the vality of a patent claim, neither should the XSF IMO. 

Regards, Kurt

> 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.
> Winfried

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