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Re: libdts patent issue?

On Sat, Jul 16, 2005 at 01:25:27PM -0700, Michael K. Edwards wrote:
> On 7/16/05, Diego Biurrun <diego@biurrun.de> wrote:
> > Please remember that this is my answer to your question of what _I_ would
> > do, I didn't say what Debian should do.
> [...}
> But you're telling me you won't at least call your lawyer?

I never said something to this effect, please don't misrepresent my

> > Reality upstream is that the hosting university could not be bothered to
> > fight the patent, even though the consensus was that the patent is
> > invalid.
> What consensus is that?  Consensus among qualified commentators (of
> which I am not one)?  That I really, really, doubt.

Consensus among VideoLAN developers and the university's lawyer.

> > It seems that at least I have read it, while you haven't...
> Au contraire, mon frère.  I have read it, and thought about it, and
> spot-checked some of its "facts", and I stand by my assessment that it
> is rubbish.  I advise you again to ask yourself: is this a
> dispassionate, scholarly analysis or is it a polemic that, at best,
> uses outside evidence to exhort rather than to inform?

I _have_ thought about it and consider your continued suggestion that I
have not insulting.  People arrive at different conclusions without
being complete idiots.  C'est la vie, mon ami.

I stand by my assessment that it is well thought-out, much better than
what I have read from the other side of the fence.  Feel free to point
me at your spot-checks and texts on the subject that you consider
"dispassionate, scholarly analysis".  In an attempt to keep the
discussion ontopic for this thread and this mailing list I suggest that
we continue this part of the discussion in private, should you wish to

> > 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.
> Even if it were true that "more and more DVDs come with DTS audio" --
> I don't think I've ever actually seen one that wouldn't play on an
> AC-3 + stereo player, but I'm sure it varies radically by region and
> genre

They generally come with an additional AC3 track, that's why they still
work for you.

> -- what does that have to do with whether it is the sort of
> thing _you_ want to go to the wall for?  I might go to the wall for
> Larry Flynt's right to publish material that may or may not differ
> from my personal taste in literature, but would I go there for someone
> who (IMHO) is less exercising free speech than circumventing his
> society's prevailing bargain of temporary monopoly on a design in
> exchange for permanent documentation of how it works -- and not
> putting his own money and/or liberty on the line?

Basically I'm willing to go to the wall for free software and I consider
software patents the biggest threat to free software at this moment in

The prevailing bargain might have to be revisited every once in a while
to see if it is (still) a good one.  Seeing how patent systems are
coming under fire in recent years around the world I appear not be
entirely alone with that opinion.

> > Michael, let's try to keep this ontopic please.
> What could possibly be more on-topic for debian-legal than the
> discussion of a strategy for dealing with a foreseeable legal problem
> for Debian and its distributors and users?

This is ontopic.  Discussing the pros and cons of software patents in
general is not.  Besides, I doubt you will find much support for your
position that (some) software should be patentable in this forum.


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