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Re: Freepats

>>>>> "Brian" == Brian May <bam@snoopy.apana.org.au> writes:

    Brian> Sorry, it appears I stuffed up one of the email addresses,
    Brian> retry:

Mark asked me to forward his response, which was accidently sent to
the wrong address I gave (I sent the initial message to
debian-legal@bugs.debian.org, not debian-legal@lists.debian.org).

I have cited Mark's response, so there is no confusion who typed it.

Neither me or Mark are subscribed, please send CCs to both of us,

>>>>> "Mark" == Mark Constable <markc@renta.net> writes:

    Mark> On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 05:03 pm, Brian May wrote:
    >> Q: What are FreePats?  A: A set of SoundFont files that are
    >> intended to be freely distributed.

    Mark> FreePats are more specifically based on Ultra Gravis Patches
    Mark> which originally worked with their branded sound cards as
    Mark> one instrument per file. SoundFonts generally refer to the
    Mark> now Creative owned *.sf2 standard often distributed as many
    Mark> instruments in a single file unit.

    >> Q: What is a soundfont file?  A: A "image" that can be used to
    >> reconstruct notes made by musical instruments?  ie. a font file
    >> for music instead of writing. So, I would imagine anything that
    >> applies to standard font files also applies here.

    Mark> Digitized audio data that can be rendered, or "compiled",
    Mark> into instrument voicing according to the notes usually
    Mark> derived from a MIDI file. Perhaps think of MIDI data as
    Mark> precompiled source code ready to compile the final audio
    Mark> rendition. Writting the "source code" requires a sequencer
    Mark> instead of some text editor. Sound fonts would be more akin
    Mark> to specialized libraries needed to generate the final
    Mark> "compiled" musical object.

    >> Q: How are soundfont files created?  A: I don't know. I suspect
    >> though, like a *.wav file, is no "source code" to generate a
    >> FreePat file? This perhaps makes it different from programs
    >> already in Debian.

    Mark> Yes, a single or mulitple wav files along with embedded
    Mark> meta-info to self describe how the wav files are to be
    Mark> interpreted such as loop points, attack, release, delay and
    Mark> many other parameters.

    >> If so, then the soundfont file a bit like a shared and/or
    >> static library that can be used to generate music (eg. a midi
    >> file contains a reference to it and a wav file embeds it) to
    >> make a full tune.

    Mark> Yes, I would agree that a sound font is like a "library" and
    Mark> furthermore suggest that the "source code" is the hybrid
    Mark> MIDI and sequencer project file information that determine
    Mark> the notes to be rendered from the "libraries" of any
    Mark> instrument voices referenced and available.

    >> The BSD style license generally are the most unrestrictive
    >> license around, eg. you can you BSD licensed files in
    >> proprietary projects. I believe the majority of the X fonts are
    >> BSD licensed.

    Mark> A concern here is misuse of the FreePats material by
    Mark> commercial interests who may then try to restrict reusage of
    Mark> this material.

    >> The GPL style license, as applied to this case, says if you
    >> make modifications or make "derivative works" of it, then the
    >> result must be licensed under the GPL (or similar license). I
    >> don't know if a wav file created from a FreePat file would be
    >> considered a "derivative work" or not. The GPL also says if you
    >> distribute it, then you must also distribute source code to (as
    >> appropriate to the file format). I believe the GS fonts are
    >> GPL.

    Mark> Using "source code" notes to create a musical audio sequence
    Mark> would not be a derivative in the same sense as modifying the
    Mark> sound font to create a different instrument, or to
    Mark> transcribe the raw wav and meta-info into another format,
    Mark> that would be a derivative.

    >> There are other issues with the GPL that might effect soundfont
    >> files, not sure. For instance, would the soundfont file be
    >> considered "source code" when making a *.wav file? What if the
    >> *.wav file has since been edited in a wav editor and cannot be
    >> automatically recreated? For these reasons, I don't think it
    >> should be a required that music files be GPL.

    Mark> As above, I don't think rendering a wav file from sound
    Mark> fonts would be considered a derivative in the same sense
    Mark> that re-engineering the sound font into yet another sound
    Mark> font would indeed be a derivative.

    >> Also just like I expect to be able to type and print a document
    >> up in a word processor, and do anything I want with that
    >> document, regardless of fonts used. In fact, this might be
    >> dodgy, but as far as I am concerned I automatically get
    >> exclusive copyright of such a document, as I consider it my own
    >> work. I would hope the same applies with music generated with
    >> FreePat files.

    Mark> As in the content of a document would not be considered a
    Mark> derivative of the any binary type face used in the process,
    Mark> a musical composition would not be considered a derived work
    Mark> of the sound font material.

    >> Personally, my opinion (depending on the above) would be to use
    >> the GPL, so any modifications to the fonts themselves will
    >> remain GPL, but allow an exception (if required) so music
    >> created with the soundfont isn't restricted. If the GPL doesn't
    >> do this, maybe the LGPL will do so?

    Mark> I also lean towards the GPL, if it fits.

    Mark> A point about the confusion of the Creative Commons
    Mark> reference on the web pages at http://freepats.opensrc.org is
    Mark> that that license refers to the content of the pages on the
    Mark> website itself. The FreePats sound fonts themseleves are not
    Mark> yet under any license. Hopefully those with a keener view of
    Mark> corner-case licensing issues can offer some clarity and help
    Mark> us get this one right, and that the FreePats license can
    Mark> then be clearly and unambiguously resolved.

    Mark> --markc
Brian May <bam@snoopy.apana.org.au>

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