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Re: libdts patent issue?

On Sat, Jul 16, 2005 at 06:16:14AM -0700, Michael K. Edwards wrote:
> On 7/16/05, Diego Biurrun <diego@biurrun.de> wrote:
> > Defend them (in court if necessary).
> At what odds?  Why pick this battle?

According to Mr Ravicher the odds are not that bad.  Why give in before
the battle even started?  What if there is no problem?  Software will not
remain free if you don't defend it and you will not keep your freedom
if you are not willing to fight for it.  But if you want to give away
your freedoms beforehand just in case someone might want to take them
from you...

Please remember that this is my answer to your question of what _I_ would
do, I didn't say what Debian should do.

> > I'm not advocating "fingers in ears".  I'm fully aware of the problem I
> > just believe that running away from it is exactly the wrong reaction and
> > does a disservice to the free software community.
> Survive to fight another day.  If you persist in seeing "software
> patents" (a false category if I ever heard one) as evil, don't be the
> means of letting this particular tentacle of evil screw over Debian's
> CD/DVD distributors if they see fit to respond decently to a quiet,
> voluntary retreat that reflects the reality upstream.

And which day would that be?  And what would be left to fight for
anyway?  Giving in to patent FUD is a way of strengthening it.  If you
accuse me of "fingers in ears" I'll have to accuse you of defeatism.

Reality upstream is that the hosting university could not be bothered to
fight the patent, even though the consensus was that the patent is

> > Debian has been distributing libdts for quite some time now without
> > problems...
> Let's see, a single upload in February 2004, which appears to have
> gotten through NEW in March and to have been installed by less than
> one in 40 popcon users, and never to have been put on a Debian CD/DVD
> before sarge released.  Yeah, that's a basis for a laches defense --
> not.

Mandriva also has it, BTW:


Just for everybody's information.

> > This has been explained before by other people, the paper I like best is
> > "SOFTWARE PATENTS: AN INDUSTRY AT RISK" by The League for Programming
> > Freedom:
> > 
> > http://lpf.ai.mit.edu/Patents/industry-at-risk.html
> > 
> > I suggest you to read it, it's brilliant if a little longuish, but this
> > way it really explores the subject in depth.  I'm sure length is not a
> > problem for you.
> If you call that "depth" then frankly you can't tell scholarship from
> demagoguery.

It seems that at least I have read it, while you haven't...

> But the reality here on Planet Earth is that the law is a blunt tool
> and that it's just not smart to hold one of the best collections of
> non-fictional free speech yet assembled hostage to a half-finished
> implementation of a half-assed specification that a marginal but
> cash-rich entity with current law on its side wants to suppress.

Given that more and more DVDs come with DTS audio, this software is
useful whether you like the specification or not.  It's also not
half-finished, it works just fine.

Multimedia is a field that is plagued by particularly many software
patents.  As I said, it's a slippery slope, if you drop multimedia
today, what is going to be left tomorrow?

Michael, let's try to keep this ontopic please.

To cut a long story short, you suggest dropping the package, unless
legal advice can show it to be harmless.  I suggest keeping it unless
legal advice shows it to be harmful.


P.S.: Please don't CC me, I'm subscribed.

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