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Re: Royalty free gstreamer plug-in



Hi,

> It appears Fluendo got redistribution rights for binaries, not for 
> source code - the relevant passage is "If you are living in a country 
> where the mp3 patents don't apply you can of course use the source code".

Anyone is free to distribute this source code.  There is nothing illegal
about offering source code available for download, even if it implements
concepts covered by patents.  In fact, you can easily download official
reference code for a wide range of codecs from the respective group's
sites.

Red Hat can sign a redistribution contract with Fluendo that allows them
to also rebuild this source code into binaries to which Fluendo's patent
license applies.

So Fedora can include the .src.rpm for this plug-in (it's MIT, just like
any other piece of MIT code), and they can include the binary .rpm built
from it (if they sign this contract).

The only question that matters, if I understand correctly, from Red
Hat's point of view is: does it matter that if one of our users rebuilds
this .src.rpm, he ends up with a binary .rpm that, while exactly the
same as the one built by Red Hat, does not automatically come with a
patent license - because it is not transferable from Red Hat to said
user ?

This is a fairly unique situation, and I'm sure it will need to be
examined in more detail by lawyers and others.  But I wouldn't be so
quick to dismiss it as impossible to ship :)

Also keep the following in mind; the MIT license was specifically chosen
because it contains no specific language about patents, like the GPL
does.  You will find that all other mp3 decoding projects have chosen
the GPL.  Some of them did so because they know the GPL presents
problems when it comes to patents, thus providing incentive to people
who want to use their software to pay for an alternate license.  This is
one of the ways one can make money off of writing GPL software :)

Thomas

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