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I work for a very large company that would like to use RabbitMQ.

RabbitMQ is licensed under the Mozilla Public License, v1.1

https://www.rabbitmq.com/mpl.html

The problem scenario, as I understand it, is this:

  • Just say a contributor to RabbitMQ decided to sue our company for any reason
  • If we countersue, then we lose all license to use RabbitMQ, because we can't legally use the code that was contributed by that contributor anymore.
  • Therefore any work we've put into using it (ie integrating it into our toolset), could be potentially wasted.

This may seem contrived, but from my understanding, there are some very large contributors to the RabbitMQ code base.... Some big companies like Rackspace or something like that. And the possibility of them suing the large company I'm in is not inconceivable ;-)

Thanks for any insight!

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    What would you counter-sue them for, exactly? For them suing you? I don't think it works that way. – Robert Harvey Nov 28 '14 at 16:50
  • Yeah I don't know exactly what... This is just the way it was presented to me, and I'm just trying to understand how it actually works.... I don't really get the whole "sue/countersue" thing... thanks! – Brad Parks Nov 28 '14 at 17:27
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It appears that you have not carefully read the license.

  1. Termination of the type you describe only applies to patent infringement claims.

  2. Termination only applies to the rights granted to you by the infringer, not to your rights to use the software. The license is very specific about that.

  3. You're given time to work out the problem with the infringer. This is also true of breaches to the agreement made by you; you're given 30 days to remedy the breach before your license terminates.

Basically, it's saying you can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't claim that one of the contributors is violating a patent, while at the same time taking advantage of their contributions.

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  • So are you saying that if we don't add any code to the code base (ie we only use the binary version of RabbitMQ), that we've got nothing to worry about? Since if we're not contributing any code, no one can make any type of patent infringement claim against us? and therefore, nothing can ever "stop us" from using it, from a legal perspective? And also, I assume this is just your read on this? – Brad Parks Nov 28 '14 at 17:40
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    @BradParks Section 8 (which is what I assume you're worried about, but you don't say for sure) only deals with the case that a user of the software (that's you) sues an author of the software (that's RabbitMQ) because the author's MPL-licensed code infringes on your patent. If you want to sue an author for infringing your patent, that's fine, but the MPL does not then allow you to enjoy rights to that code under the MPL. You make a choice: either litigate over your patent or keep your MPL-granted rights to the code that uses your patent. – apsillers Nov 28 '14 at 17:56

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