Toby Kelsey toby_kelsey at
Wed Mar 29 12:03:23 UTC 2006

Chanchao wrote:

>  1 Ubuntu simply cannot distribute (support for) anything that is
>    patented or otherwise not completely Free.

According to Wikipedia:

"Additionally, patent holders declined to enforce license fees on open source
decoders, allowing many free MP3 decoders to develop. Furthermore, while
attempts have been made to discourage distribution of encoder binaries, Thomson
has stated that individuals using free MP3 encoders are not required to pay fees."

and from <>

"However, no license is needed for private, non-commercial activities (e.g.,
home-entertainment, receiving broadcasts and creating a personal music library),
not generating revenue or other consideration of any kind or for entities with
associated annual gross revenue less than US$ 100 000.00."

so it seems that legal action over the MP3 format is not a practical problem for
open-source distributions and users.  Is it not beyond the bounds of possibility
for the Ubuntu organization to obtain a legal statement from the patent-holders
that their use of the MP3 format is allowed (effectively a free licence)?

Perhaps that would still not be "free enough" for those opposed to using any
patented process on principle, even if free.

What legal restrictions are there in developing functional replacements for
w32codecs, and are there any other patents affecting Ubuntu?


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