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Re: New candidates for inclusion in Extras : udftools and starfighter-music

On Fri, 11 Feb 2005 10:32:42 +0100, Nils Philippsen wrote:

> > The only uncertainty with the Starfighter musics is their origin.
> This is not true. If you are uncertain about the origins of something,
> how can you be sure about its licensing?

Judgement based on the information inside the instruments headers,
as explained earlier.

> >  Maybe
> > they were taken from a freeware demo program and were not considered
> > public domain work originally. I don't want to decide whether
> > approximately 10 years ago a musician did not care what other people might
> > do with his music. Unless it's explicitly written anywhere that a MOD
> > music file from the home computer area shall not be seen as public domain
> > work, I treat such files as PD.
> I'm not a lawyer, but this stance just doesn't cut it:
> - it bolsters the FUD certain groups spread about the free software and
> open source community, namely that we don't respect copyright and grab
> anything we can lay our hands on

Well, I fail to see the relationship.

> - with what we currently have with Fedora Extras, it puts Red Hat as the
> distributor of these files at risk of being legally challenged, of
> getting some really bad PR, ... and with Red Hatters participating in
> this thread Red Hat can't even claim not having known about the issue
> You are free to do whatever you please as long as it only affects
> yourself. Unfortunately this isn't the case here: we all know that we
> aren't sure about the origins of the music and the terms under which it
> was released and if worse came to worst, we might get slapped down for
> it.
> Therefore, unless the ownership w.r.t. copyright has been cleared and we
> know that we may distribute the music, I veto its inclusion into Fedora
> Extras.

So, Starfighter must be dropped as it is included already. I don't care
about those games.

All I want to learn in threads like this is where to draw the line with
regard to legal threats. And to develop a guideline for acting

No investigation, no discussion, no uncertainty => packages are accepted
and stay until somebody raises doubt. The slightest uncertainty, and we
jump on the tree and fear liability.

I wonder what's more responsible? To exclude software only when clear
legal issues are seen, such as clearly conflicting licences, or to
exclude everything which might be a problem, but has not been a problem
according to common knowledge for many years ("mikmod" in Core is not seen
as a problem for the same reason I guess). There are file formats and
implementations which are "assumed to be free of royalties", but only
lawyers might be able to find out for sure.

Here, an accidental finding lead to discovering an unknown copyright
situation of music files. It is assumed that the author of the game took
music files he's not permitted to use and redistribute. Similarly, his
other work (game design/concept) could be challenged, too. This gets more
interesting with regard to potentially patented technology, an area where
FUD strategies are very successful.

This discussion is also interesting with regard to the old topic of the
"QA hurdle at fedora.us". Effectively, licencing and copyright issues
require reviewers to do full audits of package contents before deciding
whether to accept/reject a submission.

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