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[gNewSense-users] Re: Free mp3 enconder

From: Yavor Doganov
Subject: [gNewSense-users] Re: Free mp3 enconder
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2008 19:59:04 +0300
User-agent: Wanderlust/2.15.5 (Almost Unreal) SEMI/1.14.6 (Maruoka) FLIM/1.14.9 (Goj┼Ź) APEL/10.7 Emacs/22.2 (i486-pc-linux-gnu) MULE/5.0 (SAKAKI)

Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> It's not even Free Software, because of the patent licensing.
> Accepting such a license puts you in a position in which, if you enjoy
> your freedoms, you're breaking an agreement you accepted.  If you're
> not going to abide by the agreement, it would have been more ethical
> to not accept it in the first place.
> If you obtain a decoder or encoder from another source that hasn't
> given in to the patent holders and fed the monster, then it's Free
> Software, at least until the patent holders obtain a court order that
> prohibits you from enjoying your freedoms.

I remember when Fluendo announced their licensing and distribution
strategy, there was a great disturbance in the Force.  Many people
from the community tried to point them the obvious fallacy, but
apparently none was able to present the problem in such a simplistic
and correct manner, which probably explains why they were not
convinced to abandon it.

Or maybe, just maybe, they knew all of this from the very beginning
but it was a deliberate decision towards a wider acceptance and
adoption of the GStreamer framework...

Note, however, that the patent license applies only for the binary
plugin as built and distributed by Fluendo (which is still a form of
restriction and feeding the monster is always wrong).  This "trick" is
only possible because of the non-copyleft software license.

It does not render the software non-free, since all downstream
recepients of the source (and the binary as built by the gNS buildd)
have all the freedoms, including the right to transfer them.  So, in
short -- the gNS project and the users of the gNS distribution do not
have to accept this patent license, because they're not using the
binaries built by Fluendo.

I might be missing something, but whatever it is such patent
agreements make me sick.

Patents over the plug-in and/or Source Code

The binaries that can be created by compiling this Source Code
released by Fluendo might be covered by patents in various parts of
the world.  Fluendo does not own or claim to own any patents on the
techniques used in the code.  (Such patents are owned or claimed to be
owned by Thompson Licensing, S.A. and some other entities as the case
may be).

Fluendo has got the relevant licenses to cover its own activities with
the Source Code but it is not authorized to sublicense nor to grant
the rights which it has acquired over the patents. In this sense, you
can work and deal freely with the Source Code under MIT provisions set
out above, bearing in mind that some activities might not be allowed
under applicable patent regulations and that Fluendo is not granting
any rights in relation to such patents.

The patent license granted to Fluendo only covers Fluendo's own
Software and Source Code activities. In any case, this software
license does not allow you to redistribute or copy complete, ready to
use mp3 software decoder binaries made from the Source Code as made
available by Fluendo. You can of course distribute binaries you make
yourself under any terms allowed by the MIT license and whatever
necessary rights you have or have acquired according to applicable
patent regulations.

As Fluendo can not assure that any of the activities you undertake do
not infringe any patents or other industrial or intellectual property
rights, Fluendo hereby disclaims any liability for any patent
infringement that may be claimed to you or to any other person from
any legitimate right's owner, as stated in MIT license. So it is your
responsibility to get information and to acquire the necessary patent
licenses to undertake your activities legally.

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