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Re: Licensing problems for mpeg2vidcodec

On Tuesday 03 July 2007, François Févotte wrote:
> Dear Mentors,
> I would like to package mpeg2vidcodec, which the reference
> implementation of the MPEG2 codec provided by the MPEG Software
> Simulation Group[1]. It provides two binaries (mpeg2encode and
> mpeg2decode), which are needed by ImageMagick to handle MPEG files.
> However, the authors of this software seem to have disappeared without
> leaving any forwarding address. Moreover, I have not been able to find
> any information about the license it is placed under. The only thing I
> can tell is that the tarball is distributed in many places over the
> web (for example on the ImageMagick mirrors in the delegates
> directory[2]) ; this is no proof, but it could indicate that Debian
> could redistribute it too...
> What would you advise me to do? I would really like to package this
> codec since it could improve ImageMagick's usability a lot, but maybe
> these licensing/distribution issues cannot be dealt with :/
> FYI, there has already been an RFP[3] for mpeg2vidcodec, but it seems
> to have been abandonned.

This is found in the source (src/mpeg2dec/mpeg2dec.c and probably other 

* These software programs are available to the user without any license fee or
* royalty on an "as is" basis.  The MPEG Software Simulation Group disclaims
* any and all warranties, whether express, implied, or statuary, including any
* implied warranties or merchantability or of fitness for a particular
* purpose.  In no event shall the copyright-holder be liable for any
* incidental, punitive, or consequential damages of any kind whatsoever
* arising from the use of these programs.
* This disclaimer of warranty extends to the user of these programs and user's
* customers, employees, agents, transferees, successors, and assigns.
* The MPEG Software Simulation Group does not represent or warrant that the
* programs furnished hereunder are free of infringement of any third-party
* patents.
* Commercial implementations of MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video, including shareware,
* are subject to royalty fees to patent holders.  Many of these patents are
* general enough such that they are unavoidable regardless of implementation
* design.


I don't think there is anything that gives us, the free university of Berlin, 
or anyone, the right to redistribute the code. It is obvious that everyone 
ignores this, but since when has the internet been good on copyright law ? 
Debian shouldn't engage in "software piracy", and I doubt you'd get this 
software, if you packaged it, through NEW if you tried.

      Regards,                       Thomas Jollans
GPG key: 0xF421434B may be found on various keyservers, eg pgp.mit.edu
Hacker key <http://hackerkey.com/>:

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