Reinhard Tartler siretart at
Tue Sep 27 03:53:44 CDT 2005

On 9/27/05, Julien Olivier <julo at> wrote:
> Just to make it clear for me, and probably others too: what exactly is
> the problem with w32codecs and libdvdcss redistribution ? I thought it
> was something related to US patents, but I might just have been
> misinformed.
ANAL and perhaps not the most competent person to answer this, but
this is how I did understand the issue:
w32codecs are just taken from windows installations. So there is no
real licence for them at all, they are just copied from some windows
installation and perhaps a bit patched. Usage MAY be allowed in some
jurisdictions, redistribution only in a few, like .hu (as the mplayer
developers say).

libdvdcss falls under the DMCA, the american media industry did some
spectacular cases about decss, search the news archives, there have
been a big media echo about this.

> > We don't separate US from the rest of the world. This would need extra
> > overhead in the infrastructure for litte profit.
> >
> OK, I see. But as a European user, I feel I have to ask: is it legal for
> me to install such packages (as I did, assuming it was), or should I
> remove them ?

If you ask the media industry, they will say that this is highly
illegal and must be removed or you'll get prosecuted. In fact, I think
the case has not been at court so far, but no one is really interested
to find out. There are several opinions about this matter. Some people
put these codes on their ftp server and did not get mails (yet?) from
the copyright owners, but this is no proof of legality.

> If the problem is really an opposition between the US and the rest of
> the world, maybe a good solution could be to create a non-official
> repository containing packages that are legal in non-US countries, and
> meta-packages to install them. But this wouldn't have to be linked to
> Canonical in any way of course.

No, it is also a european problem. Usage of libdvdcss is very unclear
in Europe, perhaps prohibited, but as said, this seems to be quite
unclear because nobody really went to court yet.

And btw, I did not talk about patent problems. The problems are rather
about bypassing copy protections.

Patents are an issue for itself, sadly :(


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