Re: [Rhythmbox-devel] Rhythmbox and our new MP3 plugin

On Tue, 2006-01-03 at 18:48 -0500, William Jon McCann wrote:
> Hi,
> Christian Fredrik Kalager Schaller wrote:
> > "The Totem project hereby grant permission for non-gpl compatible GStreamer
> > plugins to be used and distributed together with GStreamer and Totem. This
> > permission are above and beyond the permissions granted by the GPL license
> > Totem is covered by."
> Not a lawyer, but, shouldn't this say "The Totem authors" instead of 
> "The Totem project" for it to be legally valid?  Unless, it is a Totem 
> Project that holds the copyrights.

> Should it say "GPL incompatible" instead of "non-GPL compatible"?

That might be better wording, yes. I don't think it would any difference
though in the unlikely situation that this ever goes to court. Most
courts around the world care about the intent of the authors in
copyright cases. (Better wording can of course make the courts job of 
finding the intent easier)

> Should probably also add a statement that this software or a derived 
> work can be distributed with or without this exception.

Yes, although I mailed with RMS about that some time ago asking if it
wasn't implicit that you could do so, which he confirmed. So adding such
a statement is probably not strictly necessary.

> Is there currently a distributor who is shipping Totem (or other 
> software with a similar exception) with a GPL incompatible plugin?  Is 
> there a distributor who has specific plans to ship Rhythmbox with a GPL 
> incompatible plugin?

Well, Novell didn't write Banshee under the MIT license just cause they
didn't know what to spend money on :) Miguel also mentioned this in a
blog recently. I know there are similar processes going on at many of
the other distributions (ie. looking into adding support for non-free
formats), but that is not for me to disclose any details on. Currently
in the context of GStreamer that means Totem and Banshee as the shipable
media players. Personally I would like to see RB being a possibility as
it has a lot of nice features currently (love the DAAP support) and it
also gives the non-mono distributions a great option.

> Can you please explain how this isn't in direct conflict with section 6 
> of the GPL?

It is, so this extra statement lifts the responsibility imposed by
section 6 from applying to gstreamer plugins.

> Strictly speaking, I think this will make Rhythmbox GPL incompatible. 
> This means that we can't link to any GPL code unless it carries a 
> similar exception or it has a more permissive license (eg. LGPL).  If 
> not, why?

It will not make you GPL incompatible (in the same way the LGPL isn't
GPL incompatible) as you are not adding an extra restriction beyond the
terms of the GPL. However if you do link to GPL code the value of this
clause is of course nill. 

As an example, I recently helped relicense bmpx to add a clause like
this, but it still have a few files which originates with the XMMS
project of an origin so old that we will not even attempt to relicense
it. Until these files are removed/replaced we have to treat bmpx as a
whole as not having this clause in its license.


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