Here are some of my ideas for Fedora 8 and Fedora 9

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at
Fri Jul 6 21:15:50 UTC 2007

David Boles wrote:

>>> When you buy the DVD player and hook it up to your TV maybe? The
>>> manufacturer has paid a license fee to use the codecs when he built the
>>> DVD player to sell to you.
>> So it's once per device?  Once per user? Once per piece of software on 
>> the device?   Per user times devices?  Per user times devices times 
>> possible copies of software that might access the device?
> It reads that way to me. Have you ever read a EULA? That's pretty much
> what they say.

First, EULA's are questionably legal themselves, second, they apply to 
the specific copy of software which you won't be using.  What I'm trying 
to discuss is the right to use a patented technology which has already 
been paid for.

>>> And the license that you are referring to belongs with the software that
>>> you can not use. Which they see, as do you apparently, is of your own
>>> choosing to not use.
>> But patents aren't tied to copies, they cover processes.
> We're talking copyrights here I think. 

No, copyrights cover specific copies and versions.  We are talking about 
_not_ using the version covered by the copyright license provided 
because that version is unsuitable for our usage.  The non-US FOSS 
codecs don't infringe on copyrights because they were developed 
independently.  However, they may infringe on US patent laws if such 
laws really do permit algorithms to be patented even though they weren't 
supposed to.  What I am suggesting is that if you have paid for the 
right to use this patented algorithm already, you should be able to do 
so with the version of your choice even in the US, since patents don't 
deal with copies or versions, but instead cover the process.

> Not lawyer here - but the codecs
> and 'good stuff' available for download from the 'third party sites' are
> copyright and license covered. I do *not* know if they are considered
> stolen but I can tell I bet that is a really illegal thing to do. As I
> read it Fedora, the people that produce the product, could be in big
> trouble for even mentioning them.

They may or may not be legal in the US and no one will know until a 
patent challenge goes as high as it can in the courts.  That's a very 
expensive thing to do and enough reason for a sensible company to avoid 
the risk.

>>> This is a round-robin argument. The people that own the codecs are not
>>> going to give them away.
>> Right, and I've paid for the right to use them.
> You paid for the right to use 'them' with the software that they came from
> not with some other software. You *never* actually own the software. You
> just pay to use it. That's why you can't give it away. It is never really
> yours.

But patents don't cover 'an instance' of software, which is why they are 
such a big problem.  They cover the use of the process, regardless of 
how you do it.  My argument is that the license to use the patented 
technology should be as broad as the patent itself.  That is, if you are 
licensed to use one version of a covered process you should be able to 
use any other instead without infringing.

> Again. You paid for th right to use the provided software the way it was
> provided.

That's irrelevant except that you've also paid for a license to use the 
covered patents.

> When you d/l codecs from another source, that does not own them,
> it is like stealing.

The FOSS codecs are owned by their sources.  They are independent works, 
not covered by someone else's copyrights.  In countries where patents do 
not apply to algorithms, there are no other restrictions.

>>> I get paid for the work that I perform and my company gets paid for what I
>>> do. I guess that they would like the same.
>> Do you charge for services you aren't providing at all?  This is the 
>> case for the patent fees included in bundled software you don't or can't 
>> use.
> Only if I buy something with bundled software just as you described. It is
> included in the price of the hardware.

Yes, that is exactly what I mean.

> They provided them. Pick up the CD and hold it. It's there, the service,
> is in your hand. It is *you* that choses not to use it.

I might chose to use the patent license I've paid for as part of it even 
  though the CD itself is unsuitable.

> You don't use it
> because you don't want to use it or you can't use because it your system,
> again by your choice, is not what it is written for to start. That is not
> their fault. It is your problem.

In the case of Windows itself the bundling is on record as illegal 
anticompetitive behavior.  Perhaps I am unwilling to participate in this 

> Are you old enough to remember the Commodore 64? Atari, I think it was
> them, used to offer games and in the box there would be a version for
> Commodore 64, and a Atari version, and an Apple version. Do you supposed
> that they only charged for one and gave the other two away?

This is very different.  I'm talking about running someone else's code, 
not different versions controlled by the same company's copyright.

> You said you use a Mac so you might not 'see' this. When I buy, say a new
> DVD R/W for my PC it comes in a box and more than likely in that box will
> be a version of NERO for burning disks. I happen to have one of those NERO
> CDs. It says right on the front that this program will only work with
> *this* device.
> A EULA -asically what is says is that they still own the software and you
> can use as intended, since you paid to use it, but that you can not change
> it in anyway.

It doesn't matter what they say about that piece of software if you 
don't use it.  The question is, did you pay for the right to play DVD's 
on this device in the sense of patent licensing?  And if you paid for 
that right, are you allowed to do it? Or if you aren't can you get that 
portion of your money back?

> If you want to give away you have to remove it from your
> computer before you hand away the CD. As a matter of fact it also says one
> install on one computer for one copy. Want it installed on two computers?
> You have to buy another copy.

I don't care about any of their copies, I just want to use the patented 
technology and have already paid to do so.

> If you would like to see this as an example, with your permission, I will
> email it to you. Since the EULA is somewhat large I would not think that
> it should be list traffic. It is a little over 14K and some here have limits.

No, as I mentioned before, I have boxes of this stuff.  The last Dell I 
bought years ago came with 21 CDs.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at

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