RE: MP3 decoder packaged with XMMS
** Diego Biurrun ::
> On Tue, Jul 12, 2005 at 02:38:29AM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > On Mon, Jul 11, 2005 at 01:45:24PM +0200, Diego Biurrun wrote:
> > > On Mon, Jul 11, 2005 at 03:54:12AM -0700, Steve Langasek
> > > wrote:
> > > > However, the reason Debian continues to include the mp3
> > > > decoder library is that this patent, like so many other
> > > > software patents, does not appear to be actively enforced.
> > > > This is the standard Debian uses in deciding whether to
> > > > distribute the software; Red Hat evidently uses a different
> > > > standard.
> > > Is that the standard Debian practise? Is that in the policy
> > > somewhere?
> > Debian policy governs the technical details of package creation.
> > This is a matter that's out of scope of the policy document; my
> > comments reflect the de facto policy of the ftp team as I
> > understand it.
> Maybe it's time to create some sort of patent/ftp/XXX policy then.
> The core of this thread revolves around the problem that Debian's
> stance towards patents is unclear and inconsistent. Some programs
> are jugded impossible to package due to patent problems, while
> others aren't. This is further complicated by the fact that some
> MP3 encoders and multimedia applications are packaged while others
> are not, even though they do the same things and thus fall under
> the scope of the same patents.
I was under the impression that Debian *did* have a policy: if the
patent is enforced, towards it, then the software will go to non_US
-- to the benefit of the sane jurisdictions (as is the EU, in
> > > AFAICT Debian includes many packages that violate software
> > > patents, even actively enforced ones. It's simply impossible
> > > to avoid. A very prominent example is libts/libdca, where the
> > > developers closed the project due to patent threats by DTC
> > > Inc.:
> > > http://packages.debian.org/stable/libdevel/libdts-dev
> > > http://developers.videolan.org/libdca.html
> > DTS Inc. claims that distributing this software is a violation
> > of their patent EP 864 146. At DTS Inc. request, we decided,
> > as a precautionary measure, to provisionally suspend the
> > distribution of libdca while reviewing DTS Inc. claim. This is
> > not an acknowledgement of the validity of the claim. The
> > previous name "libdts" was changed to "libdca" as a
> > precautionary measure.
> > So upstream hasn't even decided yet what to think of the patent
> > claim, they've just taken things off-line as a precaution.
> > That's a rather weak precedent for "enforcement".
> VideoLAN is hosted by ECP, a university from Paris where the
> project originated. DTS Inc. sent ECP a cease and desist letter
> stating that they should stop developing libdts, get a patent
> license from them or prepare to get sued. The ECP lawyer tried to
> settle amicably without success. DTS requested fees amounting to
> thousands of dollars per day and the university did not want to go
> to court. That was more than one year ago and libdts is no longer
> distributed on its own and has been removed from VLC. Furthermore
> development on the library has stopped.
> That's as good a precedent for patent enforcement as you'll get.
> FUD at its best, but it worked. This is how the patent scare
Not down here, thanks God and our corrupt lawmakers. Seriously.
Software patents are just plain Evil.