Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (4633 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Goodbye to suse
  • From: Randall R Schulz <rschulz@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 16:00:27 -0800
  • Message-id: <200612241600.27268.rschulz@xxxxxxxxx>
On Sunday 24 December 2006 14:05, Michael S. Dunsavage wrote:
> On Sun, 2006-12-24 at 14:35 -0500, James Knott wrote:
> > Michael S. Dunsavage wrote:
> > > On Sun, 2006-12-24 at 10:49 -0800, Jay Smith wrote:
> > >> ...
> > >
> > > I could be wrong, but I thought this had to do with copyright
> > > infringement of unlicensed music?
> >
> > Not all MP3's involve copyright infringement. There are plenty of
> > legal ones to play. Also as was previously ruled in a court
> > (Betamax case?), as long as there is legitimate use for a device,
> > it cannot be banned just because someone might use it illegally.
> I understand that. However, I was under the impression that's why
> mp3's don't play out-of-box. Even though it's no big deal, I just
> had to update xine and amarok played no problem.

You have to distinguish commercial material (commercially published
music, e.g.) from the proprietary (patented) technology used to encode
and decode it. In this case, the reason Novell does not include any MP3
software is that the patent holder, Thomson Consumer Electronics,
requires a royalty for any implementation of MP3 codecs, even
independently written ones (possible because the IP takes the form of a
patent, not a mere copyright on a specific implementation). Presumably
the royalty structures available are too costly for Novell to absorb.
Furthermore, it would probably require Novell to know how many copies
are distributed, and that's extremely difficult when the distribution
that would contain it is freely (re-)distributable. The only way it
could work contractually would be a bulk / blanket license, because
anything unit-based would be impossible to account. IP licensed with
unit-based royalties and freely distributable software don't seem to
mix very well...

And make no mistake, the MP3 software on Macintoshes, Windows and
hardware players is not free, it's cost is part of the license fee for
using those operating systems.

So, if you don't respect Thomson's patent, you can easily acquire
implementations of the MP3 encoding and decoding software and use them
to play or record MP3 audio files and streams.

If you do respect the patent, then you should stick to using commercial
MP3 hardware and software.

Randall Schulz
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