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

On Fri, 2005-02-11 at 11:47 +0100, Michael Schwendt wrote:

> 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
> responsibly.

Again, I'm not a lawyer and all my opinions are, well, my opinions ;-).
If you wish, I can ask our legal counsel about more definitive

> 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.

Trying to if at all err on the cautious side hasn't served Red Hat too
bad IMO ;-). Seriously, if doubt is raised we are responsible to

> 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.

It's not the MOD format that we're discussing, it's including MODs (or
derived files, in fact the format is completely irrelevant as is whether
it is software or artwork or whatnot) where we don't know where they
come from, i.e. don't know who produced them initially, under what terms
they were released, etc.

> 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.

Not quite. We are fairly sure that the author hasn't produced them by
himself. We are not sure where he got them from and under what terms. If
I get a tarball from someone under the GPL, I look at it briefly and see
who produced it and that it is in fact licensed by the GPL. Barring any
clues that suggest otherwise I will take that as a fact. As soon as
there is some indication that this doesn't cover the whole package I
will have to rethink which is what we do now, it is my responsibility to
do so.

>  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 is similar with patents. If I don't think a certain piece of
software could be endangered by a patent, I won't act as if it were. If
people tell me that package foo could violate a patent that's where some
investigation is due.

     Nils Philippsen    /    Red Hat    /    nphilipp redhat com
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
 safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."     -- B. Franklin, 1759
 PGP fingerprint:  C4A8 9474 5C4C ADE3 2B8F  656D 47D8 9B65 6951 3011

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