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Re: Bug#176267: ITP: mplayer -- Mplayer is a full-featured audioand video player for UN*X like systems

On Mon, Jan 27, 2003 at 05:41:00PM +0100, Gabucino wrote:

> I think it is unfortunate to disable media playing by default in one of
> the biggest Linux distributions in 2003, just because maybe some patent
> holder _may_ come and sue. I do understand your viewpoint. I just don't
> agree with it.

There is no reason why this software cannot be used on Debian systems by
Debian users, but it is unreasonable to expect Debian to assume the legal
risk of distributing this software.  In this case, 'Debian' includes CD
vendors, mirror archive operators, and a lot of other intermediaries who may
not even be aware of the legal situation.  Surely you realize that we are
not the only distribution taking this stance.  For example:


This is not idealism; it is self-preservation.

With some other software packages, this problem is addressed by taking
measures to only distribute such software from countries which do not honor
software patents (the now-less-aptly-named non-US archive).  However, this
issue is generally unclear (at least to me) with regard to what can legally
be used or distributed in which countries.

> > afford a lawyer that can estimate the danger, but it is then still _risk_.
> Life is risky.

Indeed, and individuals and organizations must manage their own risk.  You
cannot expect to coerce anyone else into taking a risk that they are not
willing to accept.

If you are willing to assume the risk, why not distribute Debian packages on
the mplayer site?  There are plenty of Debian developers willing to maintain
such packages.

 - mdz

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