[Mageia-dev] Mageia repository sections, licenses, restrictions, firmware etc

Tux99 tux99-mga at uridium.org
Wed Oct 13 03:45:06 CEST 2010

On Tue, 12 Oct 2010, [UTF-8] Marc Paré wrote:

> http://www.riaa.com/faq.php
> http://newteevee.com/2010/05/21/mpeg-la-threatens-googles-vp8-with-patent-pool-license/
> http://thresq.hollywoodreporter.com/2010/03/new-litigation-campaign-targets-tens-of-thousands-of-bittorrent-users.html
> http://www.sevensidedcube.net/biggest-movie-law-suite-ever-hurt-locker/

Marc, by looking at the links you posted I see that you indeed don't 
understand the issue and are confusing copyright with patents.

The only patent related issue you posted a link for, is the google vp8 
one (which I'm well aware of) and if anything that confirms that even so 
called 'safe' codecs like Theora aren't safe at all in the US.

There is no way any Linux distro (or indeed any software company) can 
make sure it complies with US patents, since the US patent situation is 
a complete mess, as I mentioned earlier even Microsoft has been 
successfully sued for unintentionally using unlicensed patent 
So just leaving out the bits that are currently in plf doesn't guarantee 
at all that Mageia is compliant with patent laws in the US.

> If you and others are willing to indemnify Mageia users and installers 
> against any lawsuits due to packaging unlicensed software/codecs/etc , 
> this would go a long way to giving people like myself piece of mind.

Mageia cannot be sued based on US patent laws since Mageia is a French 
association with no legal ties to the US.
The packagers themselves are even less exposed since they don't publish 
or distribute anything, Mageia does that.

> If RedHat is able to maintain corporate headquarters in the US, then I 
> would suggest we examine closely their packaging repos.

In fact since Redhat targets servers they avoid most of the issue 
as they don't need multimedia codecs, but nonetheless Redhat is very 
exposed to patent lawsuits, just like any other US based software 

> You cannot claim international status 
> if you package a distro that is legal in one country and then illegal in 
> another.

If you ONLY want to include packages that are safe in EVERY country of 
the world then you need to spend huge amounts of money on layers that 
know patent laws for every country in the world and the distro will have 
very few 'safe' packages left in the end.

> This is why, in my opinion, Mageia should try to steer itself away, as 
> much as possible, from grey and illegal areas and leave it to the end 
> user's choice whether or not to install these packages.

Exactly, that's why I suggested an install-time option for the user.

> We are trying to build a great package. Why would the Mageia team put 
> in peril its existence and the people's income 
> (through potential expensive lawsuits)?

We won't have a great package if we exclude everything that is 
potentially a legal issue in some country of the world, in fact very 
little usability will be left in the distro (look at plain 
out-of-the-box fedora, which tries to comply to US laws).
No distro out there is trying to comply to the laws of every country in 
the world, most distros just try to comply to the laws of the country 
they are legally based in, why should Mageia be any different?

Again, as long Mageia complies with French law there is no risk of 
serious lawsuits (there is no way to protect against frivolous 
lawsuits), please don't spread FUD about putting it's existence in 
peril, that doesn't help your argument at all.

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