Debian Project announces a patent policy
The Debian Project has announced the publication of the project's patent policy. Last summer, the Debian project published a Patent FAQ as a precursor to developing and publishing this new policy. The new policy is based on the position that the project "recognizes the threat that patents pose to Free Software".
According to the policy, the project will "not knowingly" distribute software encumbered by patents, and asks contributors not to package or distribute software "they know to infringe a patent". The project will also not accept patent licences which conflict with the Debian Social Contract or Debian Free Software Guidelines.
The other elements of the policy concern the handling of patent issues within the community and between the community and the Debian Project. It asks that those concerned about patents not discuss them publicly, as those discussions may be produced in connection with lawsuits, and refer to legal counsel where those discussions would typically be protected by attorney-client privilege.
If a person is concerned about a specific patent, it advises them to consult legal counsel. Any discussion of specific patent risks regarding Debian should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org where the project, under attorney-client rules will evaluate and respond directly to affected parties. The policy, like the FAQ, was developed with legal advice from the Software Freedom Law Center.