K3b & MAD (MP3)
prlewis at letterboxes.org
Tue Jun 12 16:18:27 BST 2007
On Tuesday 12 June 2007 14:03:45 Greg Booth wrote:
> > Untested, but I remember people answering this. Install libk3b2-mp3 Not
> > sure why a wrapper can't be uninstalled by default (using a standard
> > package for the actual codec ), but there you go.
> MP3 format is copyrighted there for many distributions make you
> install those codecs as that then places the burden of guilt on YOU
> for installing copyrighted material instead of them for including
> copyrighted material.
Not to be a stickler, but I think that this is an important point. The MP3
technology is not copyrighted, it's patented. Although many people tend to
try to lump the ideas together into the term 'intellectual property' (which I
believe is not particularly helpful) the two concepts are very different.
As I understand it, copyrighting is about asserting a moral right as the
author of a work. A patent is a different beast entirely, originally devised
for economic reasons rather than moral ones, and intended to give the
developers of technology a headstart in the marketplace. Copyright lasts for
over 70 years depending on the jurisdiction. Patents usually much less (i.e.
once the headstart has had its effect).
Some of the technology behind the MP3 codec is patented, not copyrighted
(though to what extent those patents are valid in Europe is debatable, but
potentially expensive). Patent holders can grant the use of their patented
technology under certain conditions. In the MP3 example, for institutional
use and distribution, you have to pay them a licence fee. For personal use
you don't. Therefore, Ubuntu can't ship the codec (as they are an
organisation, distributing it to whomever under the GPL), but can't guarantee
that personal use is its only intent (indeed it's contrary to the spirit of
the free software). YOU the user however, can download the MP3 codec for
personal use, as that's one of the conditions under which the patent holder
will let you use it. There's no guilt involved legally, just the moral stuff
associated with not using Ogg/Vorbis :-)
I hope that helps to clear things up a bit. I just think that there's enough
muddying of the waters already with the term 'intellectual property', but
let's not get patents and copyrights confused.
In addition, I believe that the MP3 patent will be expiring in 2/3 years...
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