Patent issues with automatic codec installation
Cody A.W. Somerville
cody-somerville at ubuntu.com
Tue Dec 4 01:29:40 UTC 2007
I dunno about you but I would figure that adhering to local law would be
common sense. So, the next time you wish to send such a nonconstructive and
inflaming post, why not do us a favor and send it to /dev/null instead.
Anyhow, It seems to me that he is proposing we make it easy for people to
adhere to local law like Fedora does with Codec buddy which seems more than
reasonable to me.
Cody A.W. Somerville
On 12/3/07, Chris Jones <chrisjones at comcen.com.au> wrote:
> > Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2007 13:35:30 +1300
> > From: "Aaron Whitehouse" <lists at whitehouse.org.nz>
> > Subject: Patent issues with automatic codec installation (was:
> > Automatic installation of DVD CSS support)
> > To: "Christofer C. Bell" <christofer.c.bell at gmail.com>
> > Cc: ubuntu-devel-discuss at lists.ubuntu.com
> > Message-ID:
> > <196947f20711301635g6cfc8a33v8ac04faf4bd817d0 at mail.gmail.com>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> > > > I would like to draw attention to a proposal that I think is very
> > > > important for Ubuntu as a desktop deistribution: the possibility of
> > > > automatically enabling CSS decryption support for DVDs, like it is
> > > > possible to retrieve support for certain audio/video endcodings
> > > Please read the comments in the bug you linked to for explanation as
> > > to why this will not happen.
> > As the comments in the bug state, the reason DeCSS is not included is
> > (I imagine) to avoid violating the DMCA.
> > The more that I think about the automatic codec installation of
> > Ubuntu, the more that I am concerned that the current approach places
> > the distribution in murky legal territory. Allowing (encouraging?) a
> > user to install patent-violating codecs may not infringe the DMCA or
> > copyright, but it still may not be the best idea. Think of Napster
> > being sued for allowing others to infringe copyright.
> > A large number of people respond to this by saying that they live in
> > Europe and that their country does not enforce software-only patents.
> > That doesn't matter much, considering that a patent-holder would bring
> > any proceedings in countries that did enforce their patents.
> > Fedora handles the situation with
> > http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/FeatureCodecBuddy - which
> > allows users to purchase non-infringing codecs from Fluendo.
> > http://www.fluendo.com/press/releases/PR-2007-01.html
> > Perhaps a good compromise would be to default to Codec Buddy and have
> > a button for "Multiverse Codecs". When the user clicks the button,
> > they could be presented with a message *actively discouraging* them
> > from using the multiverse versions and highlighting that they are
> > likely to break the law if they do so.
> > In an attempt to disarm critics, I ask you to read:
> > http://www.linux.com/articles/59830
> > "On the patent question, Fluendo's official stance is that it opposes
> > software patents, but that in areas where they are the law, it has no
> > choice but to obey the statutes. Perhaps more importantly, customers
> > have no choice either. Some critics of Fluendo's plugin products are
> > quick to point out that there are freely available, often GPLed
> > libraries that decode the same formats. That is, however, irrelevant:
> > the non-free formats are non-free not because of the license on the
> > source code, but because of the patents on the format.
> > Wherever possible, Fluendo encourages its customers to use patent-free
> > formats. "In GStreamer we try to make sure Ogg and Dirac support
> > everything that is possible to do with the non-free formats. So at the
> > end of the day we feel that by moving people toward Linux and now
> > Solaris, and to using an open source framework like GStreamer which
> > has top-notch support for free codecs, we do more good than evil for
> > the goal of removing the plight of patented codecs, even if our way of
> > achieving that is by offering those non-free codecs for sale."
> > [...]
> > Non-free media formats are fundamentally at odds with free software,
> > not because of source code licensing but because of patents. Ignoring
> > that fact can mean taking a serious legal risk. As Dave Neary of Wengo
> > so concisely expressed it on his personal blog: "People should realise
> > that proprietary codecs are just that -- proprietary. And if they cost
> > money, that's a great way to realise.""
> > I am in no way associated with Fluendo (except for being a participant
> > in the codecs beta testing). I am simply concerned that Ubuntu makes
> > it too easy to infringe patents.
> > As I raised on the mailing list and in a bug report:
> > https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/173161
> > users often end up infringing patents that they never even use because
> > the codecs are distributed in composite packages.
> > Regards,
> > Aaron
> > --
> > FSF Associate Member: 5632
> > http://www.fsf.org
> Since when should linux users have to pay for codecs?
> Bloody hell. Are we heading down the Windows path?
> I would never in my life pay for any codecs? Why? Simply because a user
> shouldn't have to.
> C'mon, seriously, some common sense required I think.
> Chris Jones <chrisjones at comcen.com.au>
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