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Re: Software patents and Debian

Bas Wijnen wrote:

> Hello,
> When looking for some video-editing software, I found avidemux.  According
> to the wnpp bug, there is a problem with license issues regarding the
> codec.  There is a software patent on this codec, and a paid license is
> needed in order to use it, appearantly.
> My question is how Debian handles software patents.  I thought we didn't
> care about them except if they were actively enforced, because it's
> completely impossible to avoid all patented software, considering the junk
> that gets
> patented.

In general yes.  In addition to the practical reason, the general belief is
that the vast majority of these patents are in fact invalid regardless of
what the US Patent Office, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, European Patent
Office, and other clearly broken institutions may think.  (And therefore it
is ethical to ignore the patents.)  This view is shared by many of the 
patent holders as well, who hold them only for 'defense'.  Accordingly, we
ignore them unless the patentholder is causing trouble.

> If that is the case, would any of you know if the MPEG[24] 
> codec
> patents are actively enforced?
No.  Idea.

> In other words, can this be in Debian? 
> Thanks,
> Bas Wijnen
> Ps: Please keep me CCd, I'm not on the list.

Well, I don't think I helped you with your problem, so I won't.  :-/

Nathanael Nerode  <neroden@fastmail.fm>

Bush admitted to violating FISA and said he was proud of it.
So why isn't he in prison yet?...

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