Re: GNOME-media on the road to 2.4.0

On Wed, Aug 13, 2003 at 05:41:03PM +0200, Christian Fredrik Kalager Schaller wrote: 
> The question is not a purely legal question in my view, but also a moral
> one. As we (gstreamer) has discovered when talking to library
> maintainers asking them to relicense to LGPL we have sometimes
> experienced that the library authors used the GPL with the clear intent
> that they didn't want their code to be used by non-GPL compatible stuff.
> This means that even if we could contruct a legal argument, like the one
> you outline above (that reading of the GPL isn't uncontested afaik),
> there is the moral question if we really want GStreamer or any other
> GNOME component to be tools for abuse of the original authors license be
> it GPL or something proprietary. So while we MIGHT be legally in the
> clear, there is the question wether we would be doing what we think are
> morally right here.

The question is whether you want to allow the use of mp3 and other
patented codecs prior to the expiration of those patents.  I take it
the answer is "yes" since gstreamer currently ships those codecs.

If your answer is "yes", you need to take the position that
gstreamer's LGPL license doesn't apply to those codecs, or you need to
add the exception clause to make it extra clear.

Of course, your exception clause won't cover GPL *applications*. I
find it hard to argue that if GIMP plays beeping noises via GTK which
has a plugin which invokes gstreamer which has a plugin which plays
the sound, that the sound-playing plugin is a derived work of the
GIMP. However, if you say that the plugin is a derived work, then you
should not be shipping the patented plugins, since you know full well
almost all the apps using them are GPL.

Shipping the codecs in gstreamer and saying "well really they are not
distributable along with any apps, but use them anyway wink wink" is a
stupid thing to do.  If you think the plugins can legitimately be used
and distributed, then ship them; otherwise don't.

When the codec itself is (L)GPL, and patents apply to it, that codec
is blatantly illegal to distribute according to the license, so
shipping patented codecs under (L)GPL is just wrong (at least in the
United States).

Basically, you need to be consistent, and make the licensing and what
you distribute reflect the reality. The "wink wink" stuff is broken.


[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]