Re: [Rocky Caldwell thomson net: [David Neary]RE: MP3 licensing]

On Wed, 02 Feb 2005 13:23:03 -0600, J.B. Nicholson-Owens
<jbn forestfield org> wrote:
> David Neary wrote:
> > So, officially, although this is not stated anywhere on their site,
> > they allow non-commercial use.
> It is stated on their website.  Read
> for the following information:
> > Do you license mp3/mp3PRO software to end users?
> >
> > No. We license mp3/mp3PRO software and patents to developers and
> > manufacturers of software applications and hardware devices.
> There is no license fee for iPod use or Winamp use, for example.  But
> Apple (in the case of iPods) had to pay a hardware MP3 decoder fee.  And
> AOL (or whomever distributes Winamp) had to pay a fee for that "PC
> Software Application" (to use the language Thomson/Fraunhofer uses).
> If Ubuntu were to distribute an MP3 player program to an American,
> Ubuntu would be distributing non-free software to that American.  That
> American can run the program to play MP3s, but they cannot share that
> program with their friends and neighbors without first paying a patent
> fee (there are per-unit and one-time fees for "PC Software
> Applications").  There continues to be a conflict between free software
> and American patent law because in America (and some other countries)
> software patents exist.
> This is why one cannot focus on providing complete compatibility with
> the outside world and simultaneously provide free software.

So... I'm as big a free software bigot as anyone; I've changed GNOME
press releases and websites to say GNU/Linux and Free Software instead
of Open Source, and I refuse to buy an ipod or use mp3 personally.
[I'll admit that I have succumbed to flash.]

But this discussion is not productive- we're going to lean towards
providing open formats ourselves, and we're going to ship whatever
ubuntu (or whatever other liveCD we base on) ships in terms of
decoders, and that is basically the end of the discussion. If you want
to continue to argue the details of the legality of it, talk to
ubuntu; it you want to debate the philosophy of it, /dev/null is
probably most appropriate.


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