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Re: whether there is a patent on MP3 decoding [was Re: Bug#65794: freeamp must go to non-free]

On Sat, Jun 17, 2000 at 11:06:35PM +0200, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> Until now there was no threat for a lawsuit, but if they want they can try
> it with EVERYONE who sells a CD - and if they want they can pick a very
> small one (I think of that there is currently someone in Germany who has a
> trademark on "webspace" and his lawyer sends letters that you must say you
> don't use that word again - and that you have to pay at about 1000,-
> Dollar for the lawyer who sent this letter. They always pick people /
> small companies that don't have the money for a long lawsuit.).
> > thomson-multimedia.com sites have no clear reference or text of a patent
> > that covers decoding. Rumour has it that decoding of MP3s is a simple
> > Fourier transform, and there's a prior art for that process which dates back
> > to the start of the century, so the patent wouldn't be valid, if it existed.
> > 
> > Until further investigation (i.e. until someone quotes a patent that our
> > free software packages infringe), let's downgrade the severity of these bug
> > reports below release-critical.
> >...
> I think these bugs are RC: Do you really want the risk of a lawsuit for
> everyone who sells a CD with main of Debian?

I have a patent on dynamic linking and will sue anyone who ships a dynamically
linked library and doesn't pay me $1000 dollars.

Based on what they've been saying, this is just a bully tactic. It's not 
acceptable for people to just cave in, to give up. It rewards the bully
and encourages them to do more.

OTOH, why would they sue us? Mandrake ships both LAME and BLADE, as well
as some of the mp3 decoders Debian does. They've given a license to distribute
the mp3 decoders for free, so they probably aren't concerned about the
decoders very much. 

Frankly, I see little pragmatic reason to cave in, and a strong moral reason
not to.

David Starner - dstarner98@aasaa.ofe.org
http/ftp: x8b4e53cd.dhcp.okstate.edu
"A dynamic character with an ability to survive certain death and 
a questionable death scene leaving no corpse? Face it, we'll never
see her again." - Sluggy Freelance

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