Internet wide chat

Denver Gingerich denver at
Tue Apr 22 12:02:33 EDT 2008

On Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 7:28 AM, Urko Fernandez <tturktime at> wrote:
> On Tue, 2008-04-22 at 13:13 +0200, Bernie Innocenti wrote:
>  > The "download codecs yourself" (aka "piracy at home") is an
>  I don't think you can call it piracy when all you are doing is using the
>  free implementation of a codec.

It depends how you define "piracy".  Generally, piracy refers to
copyright infringement and since there is no copyright infringement,
it wouldn't be piracy.  But this is splitting hairs; I don't think
Bernie intended the "piracy at home" comment to be picked apart.

>  This is completely legal in some
>  countries, you are not stealing anything, as a matter of fact, even when
>  you download unlicensed codecs, you are still not stealing it, let alone
>  pirating it, it's just copyright infringement.

It has nothing to do with copyright; it is _patent_ infringement, as
Bernie described.  If the codec implementation is truly free software,
then under the terms of the copyright license, you are permitted to
distribute it to whoever you want without infringing copyright.

However, if the codec implementation uses patented ideas without a
license or waiver from the patent holder, then the person distributing
it (or possibly the person downloading it) is involved in patent
infringement.  Exactly who is infringing varies between countries and
interpretations of laws within those countries, but some infringement
is definitely occurring.  This is assuming that the relevant patents
are valid in your country and the distributor's country and that these
countries enforce patent law.  If that is not the case, then it is
more difficult to determine if patent infringement is occurring.

I will get into more detail about what "infringing" means in my reply
to Bernie's message.

I highly suggest reading about standard types of intellectual property
law, specifically copyright, patent, and trademark law.  This type of
knowledge is especially relevant for open source developers, who
seldom have access to professional lawyers.  Of course, reading about
it yourself if not equivalent to getting legal advice from a lawyer,
but it's better than nothing.  Here are some starting points:


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