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Re: MP3 decoder packaged with XMMS

On Fri, Jul 15, 2005 at 06:20:14PM -0600, Jack Moffitt wrote:
> > I have copied the Executive Contact and the Legal Counsel for Xiph.org
> > on this message.  Please drop them on follow-ups that are not relevant
> > to Ogg/Vorbis.  Mr. Rosedale and Mr. Moffitt: the topic of MP3 patents
> > arose on debian-legal (thread at
> > http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2005/07/msg00081.html ) and we
> > could all use some competent advice.

> Just a quick note on this thread.  Time seems to have erased the memory
> of Thompson going after everyone.  8hz-enc,


> bladeenc,


> lame,


> and many other projects have shut down (from cease and desist letters)

Which do you have in mind?

We're certainly all well aware of the patents that are being enforced
against mp3 encoders, and Debian does not ship any mp3 encoders.  This is
also certainly a factor in considering which media formats should be given
*preference* within Debian.  However,

> or refuse to distribute binaries because the MP3 suite of patents _is_
> actively enforced.  Try going out and finding unlicensed implementations
> outside the Free Software and Open Source worlds. That out of the way, I
> will address the issues raised below.

AFAIK there is no public evidence that Red Hat's (which is who I assume
you're principally referring to) decision not to ship mp3-playing software
is grounded in concerns about actively enforced patents.  I'm actually not
aware of *any* C&D's over mp3 decoding/playing that have actually stuck; and
while I appreciate the principled stances various groups have taken in
publically rejecting mp3, I don't think it furthers Debian's goals for us to
do the same in the absence of some concrete support for the claim that mp3
*players* are patent-encumbered.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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