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Re: k3b monkey audio plugin

On Wed, 12 Mar 2008 12:33:56 +1100 Robin Heron wrote:

> The actual codec however uses the following:
>               Monkey's Audio Source Code License Agreement
> License Agreement
> 1. The Monkey's Audio SDK and source code can be freely used to add APE
> format playback, encoding, or tagging support to any product, free or
> commercial.

Can it be used for any other purpose?
If not, this work seems to fail DFSG#6.

> Use of the code for proprietary efforts that don't support
> the official APE format require written consent of the author.

The term "proprietary" is never defined in the context of this license.
I have my own opinions on what is or is not proprietary, but they'll
probably won't match the point of view of the copyright holder of this
work and/or of the license drafter...
This clause is consequently unclear.

> 2. Monkey's Audio source can be included in GPL and open-source
> software, although Monkey's Audio itself will not be subjected to
> external licensing requirements or other viral source restrictions.

Very unclear: if you include this work in (GNU) GPL (v2) software, the
entire combined work must be distributed under the terms of the GNU GPL
v2 license, if distributed at all (see clause 2b of GPLv2).  On the
other hand, this Monkey's Audio Source Code License Agreement gives
permission to include the work in GPL software, while stating that
"Monkey's Audio itself will not be subjected to external licensing
requirements", whatever that may mean...

This could range from a (good to have) GPL compatibility clause to a
self-contradictory (and thus unusable) clause.  I'm puzzled.

> 3. Code changes and improvements must be contributed back to the
> Monkey's Audio project free from restrictions or royalties for the sake
> of the common good, unless exempted by express written consent of the
> author.

This clause forces modifiers to send patches back to upstream.
This is non-free (see the recent sub-thread on the desert island test
for further explanations on why it's non-free).

> The actual codec itself is released in testing/main with a copyright
> notice as:

Wait, wait: are you saying that there's a package in Debian main with
the following (non-)license?!?

Which is the name of this package?

> This package was debianized by mike gan <xmixahlx@yahoo.com> on
> Mon, 29 Sep 2003 00:02:46 -0700.
> It was downloaded from:	http://supermmg.com
> Upstream Author:	Matthew Ashland
> 			3.96b8 *NIX port by Frank Klemm
> 			3.99.u4 *NIX port by supermmx
> Copyright:
> This SDK provides the tools to incorporate Monkey's Audio into your own
> projects. 
> Cruising through the examples is probably the easiest way to learn how
> to use everything. 
> If you use C++, it's recommended that you simply statically link to
> maclib.lib. 
> If you use another language or want dynamic linkage, you can use the
> C-style interface of the dll. 
> (see Decompress\Sample 3 for an example)
> If you make any improvements or make any projects of your own that you'd
> like to add, just let let me know.
> Also, any help or ideas on how to make the SDK better or more clear
> would be great.
> If you link against the included libraries (dynamically or statically),
> please let me know.
> As always you can reach me at email @ monkeysaudio.com
> Also, much of the Monkey's Audio source code is now included with the
> SDK.
> Explore the "Source" directory for more information.
> Thanks and good luck :)
> - All materials and programs copyrighted ©2000-2002 by Matthew T.
> Ashland -
> - All rights reserved. -
> ___________

If this is the complete license text, well, I wonder where are the
permissions hidden?
Where's the permission to redistribute (DFSG#1)?
Where's the permission to modify (DFSG#3)?

This package seems to be legally *undistributable*!

> I am thinking this is an older license as http://supermmg.com does not
> seem to be active.

I don't know, but, as I said, if the Debian Project is relying on this
old (non-)license to distribute a package, I think there are serious
legal problems with this.

> So which section should the k3b plugin belong to and are there any
> problems legally including this package in the distribution

I see the majority of the issues in the codec, hence let's try and
solve those first.

Important disclaimers: IANAL, TINLA, IANADD, TINASOTODP.

 New! Version 0.6 available! What? See for yourself!
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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