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Re: XMMS and the new MP3 patent terms

>>>>> "David" == David Wright <ichbin@shadlen.org> writes:

    David> But Debian does encourgage people to sell CD-ROMs of whatever is
    David> not in non-free. If someone were to include an MP3 player on a
    David> Debian CD-ROM and sell it, that person would be violating the MP3
    David> licensing terms. As a courtesy to those who sell Debian CD's, and
    David> to avoid any possibility of being charged as an accessory to
    David> patent infringement, Debian should put MP3 players into non-free
    David> and remind people not to sell CD-ROMs of that archive.

Except that GPL'ed programs must not have such problematic patents problem.
The general discussion of GPL says this:

  Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software patents.
  We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free program will
  individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the program
  proprietary.  To prevent this, we have made it clear that any patent must
  be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all.

and in the terms and condition, it says:

  7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent
  infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues),
  conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or
  otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not
  excuse you from the conditions of this License.  If you cannot distribute
  so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and
  any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not
  distribute the Program at all.  For example, if a patent license would not
  permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive
  copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could
  satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from
  distribution of the Program.

So basically, because of the clarification of Thomson, the authors of mpg321
(or any other GPL mp3 players) or any distributors (Debian included) can no
longer grant you a license saying "you are free to use, copy, modify and
distribute your programs with or without a charge as long as the result
remains GPL", it is the obligation of the authors and distributors to
"refrain entirely from distribution of the Program".  Well, perhaps Thomson
didn't have made the "allegation" yet, but that's the idea.


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