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Re: I did ask, Re: congratulations to our ftp-master team

On Mon, Dec 19, 2005 at 03:03:54PM +0100, Jeroen van Wolffelaar wrote:
> > 2) (if yes) do we need to remove MPEG decoding stuff?
> Unsure, as I explained above and in earlier mails. It's a very difficult
> question, and we don't have an answer on it yet.

It would be really helpful if someone would actually research a
comprehensive answer on this. Note that "This is the same as such-n-such
other package" isn't an answer -- it only indicates that other package may
have problems too. Any such answer should include a summary of relevant
patents, what countries they're valid for, what functionality is claimed,
whether it does or doesn't appear to cover the software in question, and
what the patent holder's attitude seems to be -- support free software,
ignore the little people, prosecute anyone they can, or what.

Last time I looked at this, the mplayer folks had their page blacked
out with a comment to the effect of "if Europe gets software patents,
mplayer will be illegal"; but Debian operates outside Europe in places
that already have software patents, and Debian tries to avoid illegal
software... At the time, I believe the Debian mplayer folks were saying
"ignore the upstream stuff", which isn't really very helpful.

MJ Ray's page only mentions patents once, saying:

  There were problems with copyright and patents (according to this
  summary of the history).

The summary linked just says "ffmpeg made it in, so it must be okay".

Please, someone go all "groklaw" on the issue already...


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