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Re: early review of RH 9 (Shrike)



Michael Knepher wrote:

Here's the gist, as I understand it: the GPL says you can't GPL code that's encumbered by patent restrictions that will prevent redistribution down the line. The MP3 patents are royalty free for software that's distributed free-of-charge, but must be licensed by developers who sell their MP3-based software. Thomson has apparently not been forthcoming about what it means when, say, XMMS with MP3 code is bundled into a retail box with a price tag on it. If Thomson decides to seek royalties from Linux distros, that's a conflict with the GPL provision, meaning the MP3 code in XMMS can't legitimately be GPL'd.

It's actually slightly more fundamental than that. Because the patents inhibit your *right* to charge for the software (royalty-free), the GPL requires that you not distribute such software. It doesn't matter whether you actually want to excercise that right; because it can not be given, you can not redistribute the software under the terms of the GPL.







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