From: ke...@well.sf.ca.us (Kelly Goen)
Subject: To PGP Fans
Keywords: PGP email privacy crypt RSA SB266 SB634 SB618
Date: 26 Jun 91 20:04:27 GMT
The following is a forwarded memo from Phillip Zimmerman
I am posting this in sci.crypt at his request:
To: Recipients of PGP
From: Philip Zimmermann, author of PGP
Date: 20 Jun 91
Re: PGP/RSA licensing
If you've read the Legal Issues section of the PGP User's Guide, you
already know that the freeware program PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is
not licensed by the patent holders to use the RSA crypto algorithm,
which is claimed by US patent #4,405,829. I made it clear that it
is the PGP end user that has the responsibility to obtain licensing
from the patent holders, Public Key Partners (PKP).
PKP informs me that PKP is not issuing licenses at this time for
their patent to end users of PGP. This means that until such time
that PKP makes licenses available, end users of PGP will not be
licensed by PKP to use the public-key algorithms in PGP. I am not
distributing PGP for the time being.
Users outside the US should note that there is no RSA patent outside
of the United States. Export restrictions apply outside of the
United States and Canada, as mentioned in the PGP User's Guide.
Government usage of PGP may be OK, because the Government is already
allowed to use the RSA algorithm under certain conditions, as
development of the RSA algorithm was partially funded by Federal tax
It is PKP's opinion that BBS operators put themselves at risk by
publishing PGP. I do not share this opinion.
PKP is trying to devise a licensing scheme for PGP and other software
like it, which will take some time. If the licensing situation
changes, I'll be sure to let people know.