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



On Tue, 28 Jan 2003, Seth Woolley wrote:
> (I'm supposed to note that I'm not subscribed to debian-legal, but I
> appreciate responses be CC'd to me.)

Please set your Mail-Followup-To: appropriately then.

> we don't have to worry about "legal issues" as much, being
> source-based, but I've been looking for that smoking gun that says
> the MPlayer is illegal, or even risky!

I really do hope you and SM find a lawyer and talk to him or her. Just
distributing source does not magically make you immune to legal
challenges.

> Legal objection, That isn't torn to pieces? Please speak it now or,
> Forever hold your peace, eh?

There have already been numerous legal issues discussed in the mplayer
saga, ranging from licensing irregularities to copyright problems and
patent issues.

Unfortunatly, no one in the mplayer team seems to think these legal
issues are important, or seems to be willing to take the time
necessary to do an audit of their own codebase. They seem to be
relying on debian-legal's pundits to act as their pseudo-counsellor to
determine what is legal and what is not.

I'm sure you've read about the libmpeg2 problems I found after 5
minutes of looking through the code.[2] As far as I am aware, they
still haven't been fixed.

Obviously, if after such a short bit of searching, that such a problem
can be found brings a strong suspicion that there are other problems
lurking within the codebase. 

Whoever takes it upon themselves to package mplayer for possible
inclusion in Debian will most likely have to:

1) convince debian-legal that they have audited the codebase and
determined that everything in the codebase is legal for Debian and
it's distributors to distribute.

2) inform debian-legal (and/or the DD's in general) about any patents
that mplayer may or may not be infringing upon so an informed decision
can be made.

Until that happens, I'm pretty sure that the ftpmasters will refrain
from allowing mplayer into the archives.[1]

As far as I know, no Debian Developer or an individual sponsored by a
Debian Developer has stepped forward and offered to do this. Until
that happens, mplayer will (probably) not be in Debian.


Note that I am speaking only on behalf of myself, not Debian. I am
*NOT* qualified to speak on behalf of the project. If you think that I
am, you're nuts, and should seek psychiatric or medical evaluation.


Don Armstrong

1: Although, obviously, they will make their own decision, and could
refuse even then.
-- 
She was alot like starbucks.                                    
IE, generic and expensive.                                  
 -- hugh macleod http://www.gapingvoid.com/batch3.htm

http://www.donarmstrong.com
http://www.anylevel.com
http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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