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Re: LYNX-DEV address@hidden: ANNOUNCE: Lynx with SSL support.]

From: David Woolley
Subject: Re: LYNX-DEV address@hidden: ANNOUNCE: Lynx with SSL support.]
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 1997 08:39:41 +0100 (BST)

> -----Forwarded message from Thanh Ma <address@hidden>-----
> Description:     This is lynx the WWW browser with (S)ecure (S)ocket 
>                  (L)ayer support.

Secure sockets requires implementation of patents on RSA and, more
recently, SSL.

> Copying-policy:  GNU GPL  
Assuming a binary distribution, this is not legal.  RSA is one of the
primary reasons why the GNU Licence forbids the distribution of software
for which patents require royalties for some classes of user.  It probably
also breaches Netscape's new patent (Foteos quoted the patent number about
a week ago).

Ignoring the SSL patent, for the moment, if you don't use RSAREF, then you
are absolutely in breach of the RSA patent in the USA.  If you do include
RSAREF, then the licence for that requires royalties for commercial use,
but the GPL very explicitly (at least two big clauses, and specifically 
mentioning patents as a possible reason) is void unless all classes of
user may make royalty free use.  (There are some exceptions, that may 
allow distribution ONLY outside of the USA!)

The position on a source only distribution probably requires clarification
with the FSF.  You might get away with it if you don't include any
implementation of RSA or SSL, but just include pointers to them.  The other
borderline case would be if you didn't supply RSA or SSL implementations,
but implemented it so that these could be accessed from shared libraries -
you would still need copyright and patent clearances on the header files for
commercial use.

I need to trim the following quite extensively to be covered by fair
dealing rules, otherwise, it would be about a 350 line inclusion.
This was extracted from /usr/src/linux, although it is also legally
required to be included with every copy of Lynx.

                    GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
                       Version 2, June 1991

 Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
                          675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

  7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent
infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues),
                                                 If you cannot
distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this
License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you
may not distribute the Program at all.  For example, if a patent
license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by
all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then
the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to
refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.
  8. If the distribution and/or use of the Program is restricted in
certain countries either by patents or by copyrighted interfaces, the
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