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Copyright vs. patents, source code vs. compiled binaries, etc., [TOS #5: split from “Open Source Fraunhofer AAC Encoder”/thread 95989]
post Jul 12 2012, 21:01
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QUOTE (benski @ Jul 12 2012, 15:31) *
I am not a lawyer, but here is the part of the license that is problematic for use of this source code in other projects
  53 NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED LICENSES TO ANY PATENT CLAIMS, including without limitation the patents of Fraunhofer,
  54 ARE GRANTED BY THIS SOFTWARE LICENSE. Fraunhofer provides no warranty of patent non-infringement with
  55 respect to this software.
  57 You may use this FDK AAC Codec software or modifications thereto only for purposes that are authorized
  58 by appropriate patent licenses.

I don't think that would be a problem for most open source licenses. Off hand I can't think of any that force you to also provide patent licenses to go with the software license, since in practice that would be almost impossible to know which patents were covered and which were not. IIUC, that basically leaves you in the same place as the GPL, you're allowed under copyright law but patent law is up to you and your country.
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post Jul 12 2012, 21:56
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QUOTE (saratoga @ Jul 12 2012, 22:01) *
Off hand I can't think of any that force you to also provide patent licenses to go with the software license, since in practice that would be almost impossible to know which patents were covered and which were not.

GPL includes a patent license for all patents you own and apply to the software. You'd obviously know which of your own patents applies.

At least in GPL3 there are also provisions that block you from relying on a patent license to be able to convey a work covered by one. (But I find the clauses a bit strange because they are null as long as you also convey source code - which the GPL requires you anyway?)

But yes, no open source license requires you to acquire licenses for any patent the software might infringe before you can distribute it - because that's obviously impossible.
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post Jul 13 2012, 14:31
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QUOTE (Garf @ Jul 12 2012, 23:19) *
Ask the people who make the laws. The reasoning is (AFAIK/IANAL) that source code itself doesn't actually do anything, so it can't infringe.
See for example:
Does LAME use any MP3 patented technology?

QUOTE (saratoga @ Jul 13 2012, 01:01) *
Because text and speech are covered by copyright, while functional devices are covered by patents. The source code itself cannot be patented, and so you are free to use it. The compiled binary, however, would contain patented technology in many countries, and so is difficult for some people to distribute.

I still don't understand why it is a problem for this forum, as the file wasn't an attachment but a link to another server. So if it's the responsibility of this forum to avoid such links, then we shouldn't post any links about apps like ffmpeg, MEncoder, VLC, Handbrake, Avidemux, etc, which are all using several encoders therefore they are all potential patent violators. Tutorials and wiki pages about the use of LAME, Nero AAC, QTaac, Aften with foobar or EAC or any other similar app should be removed as well. And even references to freewares like XVI32 should be removed because who knows if it's violating a patent or not ! In fact any binary might be evil.

Finally, ripping music, even for archival purposes, of CD/DVD/BD you have bought is now illegal in many countries.
So at then end let's close down this forum, and many other ones, because it is now proven it's useless as we can't talk about things we can't use !


Legally speaking, I believe it is the final user's responsibility to check if some features of a given app are allowed or not in his country. This is the reason why binaries of many multimedia apps are available on various sites and IMHO linking to these sites cannot be a patent violation itself as it's solely under the final user's responsibility to use the binary or not.

Anyway, I got the binary in time before its link was removed and we are still free to use PMs biggrin.gif wink.gif
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