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Re: non-free firmware in kernel modules, aggregation and unclear copyright notice.

> > It's impossible to treat patents consistently.

On Sat, Apr 09, 2005 at 04:38:15PM +0200, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> Even RedHat with a stronger financial background than Debian considered 
> the MP3 patents being serious enough to remove MP3 support.

It's silly to treat financial risk as being a one dimensional quantity.

It could easily be that Red Hat decided that the mp3 patent owners would
be going after people with deep pockets.  If this is the risk model,
Red Hat's risk would be much much higher than Debian's.

> Note that this is a respose to Josselin's statement:
< When there are several possible interpretations, you have to pick up the
< more conservative one, as it's not up to us to make the interpretation,
< but to a court.

Sure, if you have several plausible interpretations, you pick the one
you feel is likely to be the most important, and if all of them seem
likely you pick the one that seems worst.

But, ultimately, you can't treat software patents consistently.
There's no reasonable way to do so.

> It's simply silly to be extremely picky on copyright issues while being 
> extremely liberal on patent issues - the risk of a Debian distributor 
> being sued for patent violations (no matter how the lawsuit might end) 
> is definitely present.

Anything to do with software patents is silly.  Being liberal about
software patents is silly.  Being conservative about software patents
is silly.

Copyright, while far from perfect, can at least be reasoned about.

> > As for this particular patent, I'm not really sure what's being patented.
> >...

> Which one of the 23 patents they list do you call "this particular
> patent"?

What makes you think I'm sure about what's being patented in 22 of
those patents?

I should probably have said "As for patent claims applying to mp3,
...", but the issue is thorny enough that even that might not have been
accurate enough.

But, treating "this particular patent" as a meta-syntactic variable
should be adequate for you to understand what I was saying.

Bottom line, though: softare patents generally make very little sense.


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