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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] ReactJS Patent License

From: Mike Gerwitz
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] ReactJS Patent License
Date: Sun, 17 Jul 2016 21:20:36 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.0.92 (gnu/linux)

On Sun, Jul 17, 2016 at 14:15:26 -0400, Mike Gerwitz wrote:
> On Sun, Jul 17, 2016 at 14:00:00 -0400, Tyler Romeo wrote:
>> Do you mean specifically regarding ReactJS? Or just regarding the dangers of
>> using licenses like BSD due to their lack of patent license?
> Sorry---the latter.  I can't speak to the ReactJS situation.

I took a look:

This makes React non-free---it restricts freedoms 2 and 3.

It is worse than not granting patent rights: it's putting the user into
a situation where they cannot take action against Facebook under certain
circumstances, because then they lose rights granted to them and in turn
potentially have a host of other legal issues.

This is a consequence of the terrible state of software patents;
Facebook is employing a "defensive" (latent offensive) strategy by
implanting a destructive device into each and every instance of React
(and consequently every program that uses it)---one that they can
detonate at will given specific types of aggression.  It's also
dangerously broad: it terminates "without notice" if you "or any of your
subsidiaries, corporate affiliates or agents" violate the license, and
such a violation applies to anything owned by Facebook or its
subsidiaries or "corporate affiliates", and any parties related to the
software.  Facebook is large; this has a massive scope.

This license is a weapon.

We can hope that developers of software using React choose
GPLv3+---version 3 provides a failsafe that prevents distribution of the
covered program in the event of a patent aggressor (Facebook) insisting
on royalties, rather than that software falling prey to this sort of

It seems that React used to be licensed under the Apache License 2.0,
but changed to 3-clause BSD precisely to impose patent restrictions.  So
those earlier versions of React seem like they may be okay to use.

Mike Gerwitz
Free Software Hacker+Activist | GNU Maintainer & Volunteer       | GPG Key ID: 0x8EE30EAB

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