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Re: Royalty free gstreamer plug-in

On Fri, 23 Dec 2005, Thomas Vander Stichele wrote:

> Just to make sure I follow you - this only applies to the binaries,
> correct ? We both agree that patent law does not stop you from shipping
> source code that implements patented techniques ?

Even this is questionable. It depends a lot on what constitutes patent
infringement. Wikipedia sez "In U.S. law, an infringement may occur where
the defendant has made, used, sold, offered to sell, or imported the
infringing invention or its equivalent." Because software patents, such as
the MP3 ones, typically claim a "method by which X happens", the source
code could be argued to be the equivalent of the invention described in
the MP3 patents' claims. Form doesn't seem to be important in patent law,
only function - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_equivalents

I think a lot of this discussion here consists of us trying to be patent
lawyers when we're not. While free software hackers are generally much
more aware of IP law than your average Joe, we're just missing too much
knowledge of patent case law and general "legal flavor" to have any idea
which way this goes, legally speaking.

I expect there will be future developments in the media formats area of
Fedora, but for now it seems unlikely that we will do more than link to
the packages you have kindly made available.

-- Elliot
Red Hat Summit Nashville (May 30 - June 2, 2006)

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