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Re: MP3 decoder packaged with XMMS

Hi Steve,

> These license terms are only an issue if we recognize the validity
> of the patent.

I don't think the law cares whether we personally agree with software 
patents or not.

> > I'd say that for a business operating in the USA or Europe, the
> > patent system does create very pertinent obligations.
> - Not for Europe, where software patents are not legal.

That's an optimistic view of the current situation in the EU, and 
while I'm just as encouraged by the recent European Parliament vote, 
I don't think the software patent machine is just going to crumble 

> > I think the existence of the http://mp3licensing.com/ site shows
> > that it is actively enforced.
> I think that's a website.  Evidence of active enforcement are cease
> and desist letters, out-of-court settlements, or lawsuits.

Ancient history. That happened back in the 90's, and was the catalyst 
for work to begin on the free software alternatives, such as Ogg 
Vorbis. See for example:


> And apt-cache search mp3 will quickly show that xmms is not the
> only package in Debian with mp3 decoding support.

All the more reason for separating out the libraries. xmms just 
happened to be the particular package that we were considering. 

> > When a business or other organisation wants to redistribute
> > Debian packages, it would be useful to be able to split off the
> > sub-packages with known patent licensing problems.
> When it's known to be an actual licensing problem, I'm sure Debian
> will address it.

It is a known problem, but it seems that the Debian project has 
ignored it for the sake of convenience.



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