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Re: MP3 decoder packaged with XMMS

On Sat, Jul 16, 2005 at 03:20:12AM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> On Sat, Jul 16, 2005 at 11:43:27AM +0200, Diego Biurrun wrote:
> > On Fri, Jul 15, 2005 at 09:47:22PM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > > 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.
> > FWIW, I've discussed this with a Red Hat employee at last year's
> > LinuxTag.  The reason they stay away from multimedia stuff is that they
> > are afraid of being sued over patent infringement.  They currently have
> > a lot of money in the bank, which makes them an interesting target.
> Yes, the more assets a company has, the more paranoid they become about
> protecting them.  "Fear of being sued over patent infringement" doesn't
> imply a belief that any particular patent is valid, or that any particular
> piece of software is infringing -- it merely implies a belief that a certain
> class of software is, as a whole, more likely to lead to pesky, expensive
> lawsuits.  And lawsuits are almost always pesky and expensive, regardless of
> their validity.

100% agreed.  Often lawsuits are settled just to get rid of the hassle
at a cost that is lower than the pain that going through the lawsuit
would imply...

Ironically Debian in this case is in the fortunate situation of having
near-empty pockets that are unlikely to incite somebody to sue just to
get a share of it.


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