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Re: Are GPLed .gifs legal at all ???

On Wed, Jul 12, 2000 at 05:48:33PM -0700, Joseph Carter wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 12, 2000 at 01:39:55PM -0700, Mark Rafn wrote:
> > I don't think the GIFs themselves infringe on the patent, as they do not
> > encode or decode any data.  The patent is for a process (as are all
> > patents, if I understand correctly), not the resulting object.
> > 
> > If the GIFs were created with unlicensed tools, then the author of the
> > images might be in violation.  If they are viewed with unlicensed tools,
> > then the viewer might be in violation.  The author/distributor of such
> > tools might be in violation.  In all cases, it's the tool that is
> > infringing the patent, not the data.
> There is no patent on LZW decompression.  Only compression.

One more word before everyone will miss my point.

GPL requires people to whom you redistribute a file
to be able to modify and redistribute it.
But they can't modify .gifs they got, because of
patent problems.
GPL says. that if, due to patent problems, you
can't meet all licence's critaria, you can't distribute
GPLed file at all.

So it seems to me that you can't distribute GPLed LZWgifs at all.

( so Debian probably has severe legal problem because several of
  packages containing .gifs are GPL/LGPL )

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