Re: GNOME-media on the road to 2.4.0

    If a proprietary or patent-licensed mp3 plugin is clearly
    independently written (does not contain gstreamer code) and gstreamer
    only accesses it via generic, well-defined interfaces it would use to
    access any other plugin, then the plugin may not be a derived work of
    gstreamer and thus the GPL does not apply.

Here I am assuming that the license of gstreamer is the GPL;
I don't actually know what its license is.

If the interface protocol is specific to gstreamer,
then all the plug-ins are inherently extensions to gstreamer.
Unless the copyright holders of gstreamer add an exception,
the GPL would apply to these plug-ins.  The plug-ins would
not have to be GPL-covered themselves; rather, they would have
to have GPL-compatible free software licenses.  (For instance,
the FreeBSD license is a GPL-compatible free software license.)

If the interface protocol is common to gstreamer and other real
programs, that reasoning would not go through.  In that case,
non-free plug-ins could be designed to speak this protocol,
and the user could use them with gstreamer.

Whether or not a non-free plug-in is legal, we certainly cannot
distribute it or even tell the users about it.
By contrast, we can tell people where to get a free plug-in
that might be covered by patents in some countries but can be
used in others.  That is what we should do.

The right way to solve the MP3 problem is to urge people to switch
to OGG.

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