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Re: Bug#349693: ITP: gst-fluendo-mp3 -- MP3 decoder plugin for GStreamer

On Wed, Jan 25, 2006 at 12:03:14PM +0100, Josselin Mouette wrote:
> Le mercredi 25 janvier 2006 à 11:53 +0100, Florian Weimer a écrit :
> > Just to clarify since you put that emphasis on decoding:
> > 
> > There is no difference between decoders and encoders.  Both require
> > patent licenses.
> But as I understand it, only the encoding patents are enforceable. If we
> start to remove software from main just because some random companies
> claim they have patents covering it, we can stop to distribute Debian
> entirely.

I am of the kind that thinks that Debian ought to be aware of copyright
breaches, but cannot allow itself to deal with patents.

We should not distribut the Gimp because of patents (see

This patent, granted by the EPO in Aug 2001, has been used by Adobe to
sue Macromedia Inc in the US. The EP version took 6 years to examine, and
it was granted in full breadth, without any modification. It covers the
idea of adding a third dimension to a menu system by arranging several
sets of options behind each other, marked with tabs. This is
particularly found to be useful in image processing software of Adobe
and Macromedia, but also in The GIMP and many other programs.

There was also the case of the patent on links.

Patents are plain-stupid. Maybe the packages subject to known patents
could be staged in some area (such as "maybepatented"), but patents are
claims that are cheap to make. If Debian cares too much about patents it
will end up not distributing any useful software.

Maybe we should remove Gnome and KDE of the archive, after all: they
contain progress bars, which are patented. Did Debian have a legal check
about whether the bars of GTK or Qt do not infringe? Numerous texts on
the web say that they do infringe.

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