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Old 01-21-2006, 02:46 PM
cb22 cb22 is offline
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Default The legallity of a PCBSD media player...
I emailed EFF awhile back asking for some advice...

My Email:
Quote:
Hello
I'm not sure where to send this email to, so i'll send it here.
Please redirect me if this is missapropriate.

I am working for the Open Source project PC-BSD (http://www.pcbsd.org),
and am currently working on a media player which would play and
transcode DVDs and other popular media formats (MP3, WMA, DivX)
formats (Based off PyMedia (FFMpeg) and Transcode). However I have heard
that due to legislation in the U.S. this would be illegal, and
not being legally minded, I have a few questions:

* Ideally the application would be bundled with the cd image
download, would this be illegal, and could legal action be
brought against the project?

* If the answer to question 1 is yes, then would it be legal
to host the cd image in Europe, where software patents are
(thankfully) non-existant, and the user in the US would simply
download it from a European mirror.

* Would including a disclamer and making the media player optional
change anything?

Thank you for your time.

Federico Lorenzi
Their response:
Quote:
Hello Federico.

Thank you for contacting EFF. I forwarded your question to our
attorney, Fred von Lohmann and he wrote the following:

"Thanks for writing. Because it appears that you are located outside
the United States, and because we do not have all the relevant facts,
we are not able to give you specific legal advice.

As you may know, however, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
(DMCA) it is unlawful to distribute or import software (or a component
of software) that is primarily designed to circumvent or bypass a
"technical protection measure" used to protect a copyrighted work. US
courts have held that CSS, the encryption system used on commercial
DVDs, qualifies as a technical protection measure for purposes of this
law. As a result, a variety of individuals and companies have been sued
in US courts for distributing DVD decryption software, such as DeCSS or
DVD X Copy. Note, this prohibition is separate and distinct from any
patent infringement issues.

Many European countries have similar "anti-circumvention" laws, thanks
to the requirements of the European Union's Copyright Directive.

As a result, if your software circumvents CSS (or any other technical
protection measure used to protect copyrighted works), those who
distribute that software may be subject to legal action, in the US and
other jurisdictions. Before distributing any software that circumvents
CSS or other digital rights management restrictions, I advise you to
seek qualified legal counsel in your jurisdiction for specific advice."

I hope this helps.

Regards,
Allison Navone
Intake Coordinator
Electronic Frontier Foundation | http://www.eff.org
------
Please note that we have not had the opportunity to fully review the
facts and law applicable to your situation, so our comments here are for
your informational purposes only. That means they do not constitute
legal advice and do not create an attorney/client relationship between
you and EFF. They may still be privileged under US law, however, and
will be kept confidential by us unless you instruct us otherwise. Please
do not act upon this information alone; instead please seek a complete
review of your case with a lawyer licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.
My reply:
Quote:
Hi
Thank you for replying about the DVD issue, now assuming that i don't include
DVD playing, but the application would still be able to play DivX / XviD / MP3 files
which to my knowledge the MP3 and Mpeg4 formats are patented, would it still
be illegal to host it in America, because as far as i know, software patents are
non-existant in Europe.
As for the location, I'm in South Africa, while the project is based in Canada, with
various file mirrors around the world.
Also the reason i am contacting you, instead of a IT legal firm, is because i am still
a student, and am quite stripped for cash.

Thanks once again for your time.
__________________
My blog
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  #2  
Old 01-21-2006, 10:00 PM
Charles Charles is offline
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Yes, it's going to be problematic to host a thorough desktop OS in the US unfortunately...

If we can't play MP3s or play AVI, WMV, MPEG files, I suggest we host the ISOs on mirrors located in countries that allow it.

Is it allowed to host Amarok or KMPlayer with the commercial codecs then on the PBIDir?
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  #3  
Old 01-21-2006, 11:13 PM
pcbsdusr pcbsdusr is offline
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Is there a chance we can move pbidir to one of those countries?

or create a "specialpbi" site over there?
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Old 01-22-2006, 06:38 AM
AlphaX AlphaX is offline
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Originally Posted by Charles
Yes, it's going to be problematic to host a thorough desktop OS in the US unfortunately...

If we can't play MP3s or play AVI, WMV, MPEG files, I suggest we host the ISOs on mirrors located in countries that allow it.

Is it allowed to host Amarok or KMPlayer with the commercial codecs then on the PBIDir?
I know the way Novel deals with software issues is if you buy SuSE Linux 10 you get extra software bundled like java, macromedia, realpayer, etc.., basicly stuff they have to liscence ($$) to bundle kinda stuff. But no codecs like libdvdcss, w32codec, etc..,

For both OpenSuSE and Premium you can set up yast to download from software from say Packman (hosted in Germany) or Guru (also hosted in Germany) to download suse specific rpms of alot of different software including the libdvdcss and others that bring up some legal issues.

http://www.opensuse.org/Additional_YaST ... positories

Im sure other distros do something along the same lines. So I would think that moving certain pbis overseas is the only route without eventually running into some legal issues.

Anyway I dont know if its legal to host w32codec in the US without paying $$ to Microsoft, but libdvdcss isnt, for the reasons the attorney at EFF stated above.
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Old 01-22-2006, 12:38 PM
Charles Charles is offline
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I have always thought Kris should create also a low-cost "Professional Edition" for $49 so that he can buy commercial licences and include these must-have plugins and codecs, with tech support too. Also, this would be a good financial support for him. I'm quite sure a fair amount of non-donators would buy it. This wouldn't make the free version of PC-BSD less interesting, but this wouln't include the commercial stuff :roll:
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  #6  
Old 01-22-2006, 01:51 PM
Tsuroerusu Tsuroerusu is offline
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Originally Posted by Charles
Yes, it's going to be problematic to host a thorough desktop OS in the US unfortunately...
This is one of the problems why it can be hard to use GNU/Linux or BSD in schools because for a lot of educational videos you need Windows Media support, and that is not legal on Linux unless you own a Windows license and manually copy the files over from a Windows partition, but then it makes no sense to use GNU/Linux or BSD anyway because you've already paid for Windows.


Originally Posted by Charles
If we can't play MP3s or play AVI, WMV, MPEG files, I suggest we host the ISOs on mirrors located in countries that allow it.
Well, Kris can still be sued for it, trust me, if 321 Studios can't do with millions, what can we do? 321 Studios fought a nobel fight to make it legal to back up your own personal DVDs.


Originally Posted by Charles
Is it allowed to host Amarok or KMPlayer with the commercial codecs then on the PBIDir?
amaroK doesn't contain any codecs, so that one is not the problem, you just need the GStreamer engine to support the codec, same thing goes for KMPlayer, but that one uses MPlayer and it violates dusins and dusins of patents. The reason distros of Linux can include Xine is because you can take out all the patent violating format support when compiling, thereby crippling it, and only support stuff like OGG Theora and OGG Vorbis, WAV....
By the way, I vote for the use of KPlayer, it's much more feasable to use. Try to make KMPlayer the primary app for video files in Konqueror, click a video file so it opens in KMPlayer, it plays fine yeah, then try clicking another file when the first video is playing and you got TWO KMPlayer sessions!!! With KPlayer it cancels the first one and loads the second one. I emailed the maintainer of KPlayer and the reason he hasn't updated it for over a year now is because he's been working on reimplementing the playlist features....
The big advantage of KMPlayer is that it can use Xine, which, in crippled form, could be included with PC-BSD.


My suggestion to this multimedia issue is simple, a community member, seperate from the project, just make a big-ass codec pack with the codecs, libdvdcss, MPlayer.... and host it in Europe. In the actual distro of PC-BSD we make sure that we have all the KDE frontends and file associations in place so the only thing the user needs to do is install the codec pack and everything automatically hooks together, basicly like when you load a kernel module in either BSD or Linux.
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Old 01-22-2006, 02:09 PM
AlphaX AlphaX is offline
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Quote:
I have always thought Kris should create also a low-cost "Professional Edition" for $49 so that he can buy commercial licences and include these must-have plugins and codecs, with tech support too. Also, this would be a good financial support for him. I'm quite sure a fair amount of non-donators would buy it. This wouldn't make the free version of PC-BSD less interesting, but this wouln't include the commercial stuff
I agree, plus there is absolutely nothing wrong with makeing some money for all your hard work either. I would be more than happy to buy a Professional Edition as I am sure alot of others would too...

Wish I had a server with a big fat pipe overseas.

-----------------------------
edited so it would make some sence
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Old 01-22-2006, 02:11 PM
Charles Charles is offline
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Good idea. We don't want to get into trouble.
BTW, KMPlayer includes all the commercial codecs. If you look at its install directory /Programs/KMPlayer0.9.1-pre3/lib/codecs

3ivX.qtx msg711.acm
ACTLComponent.qtx msgsm32.acm
AvidQTAVUICodec.qtx msh261.drv
BeHereiVideo.qtx msms001.vwp
CLRVIDDC.DLL msnaudio.acm
CtWbJpg.DLL msrle32.dll
Indeo4.qtx msscds32.ax
LCodcCMP.dll msvidc32.dll
NOTE mvoiced.vwp
On2_VP3.qtx nsrt2432.acm
QuickTime.qts pclepim1.dll
QuickTimeEssentials.qtx pncrt.dll
QuickTimeInternetExtras.qtx qdv.dll
README qpeg32.dll
Readme.txt qtmlClient.dll
ZyGoVideo.qtx rt32dcmp.dll
acelpdec.ax sipr.so.6.0
alf2cd.acm sipr3260.dll
asusasv2.dll sp5x_32.dll
asusasvd.dll tm20dec.ax
ativcr2.dll tokf.so.6.0
atrac3.acm tokr.so.6.0
atrc.so.6.0 tokr3260.dll
atrc3260.dll tsccvid.dll
avimszh.dll tssoft32.acm
avizlib.dll ubv263d+.ax
clrviddd.dll ubvmp4d.dll
cook.so.6.0 ultimo.dll
cook3260.dll vgpix32d.dll
ddnt.so.6.0 vid_3ivX.xa
divx.dll vid_3ivX_d3.5_linuxELFx86c6.xa
divx_c32.ax vid_cvid.xa
divxa32.acm vid_cvid_2.1_linuxELFx86c6.xa
divxc32.dll vid_cyuv.xa
divxdec.ax vid_cyuv_1.0_linuxELFx86c6.xa
dnet.so.6.0 vid_h261.xa
drv13260.dll vid_h261_1.0_linuxELFx86c6.xa
drv2.so.6.0 vid_h263.xa
drv23260.dll vid_h263_1.1_linuxELFx86c6.xa
drv3.so.6.0 vid_iv32.xa
drv33260.dll vid_iv32_2.1_linuxELFx86c6.xa
drv4.so.6.0 vid_iv41.xa
drv43260.dll vid_iv41_1.1_linuxELFx86c6.xa
dspr.so.6.0 vid_iv50.xa
huffyuv.dll vid_iv50_1.0_linuxELFx86c6.xa
i263_32.drv vivog723.acm
iccvid.dll voxmsdec.ax
icmw_32.dll vp31vfw.dll
imaadp32.acm vp4vfw.dll
imc32.acm vp5vfw.dll
ir32_32.dll vp6vfw.dll
ir41_32.dll vssh264.dll
ir50_32.dll vssh264core.dll
ivvideo.dll vssh264dec.dll
jp2avi.dll vsslight.dll
l3codeca.acm vsswlt.dll
l3codecx.ax win32-codecs-3.1.0.p5_1,1
lhacm.acm wma9dmod.dll
m3jp2k32.dll wmadmod.dll
m3jpeg32.dll wmspdmod.dll
m3jpegdec.ax wmv8ds32.ax
mcdvd_32.dll wmv9dmod.dll
mcmjpg32.dll wmvdmod.dll
mpg4c32.dll wmvds32.ax
mpg4ds32.ax wnvplay1.dll
msadp32.acm wnvwinx.dll
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  #9  
Old 01-22-2006, 02:12 PM
Tsuroerusu Tsuroerusu is offline
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Originally Posted by AlphaX
I agree, plus there is absolutely nothing wrong with makeing some money for all your hard work either. I would be more than happy to buy a Professional Edition as I am sure alot of others would too...
The only problem is that Microsoft probably doesn't want to license the Windows Media Player codecs, and if they did it would be expensive like hell, Linspire had to go through hell to get it.


Originally Posted by AlphaX
Wish I had a server with a big fat pipe overseas.
If bandwidth is an issue, there's always BitTorrent.
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Old 01-22-2006, 03:09 PM
pcbsdusr pcbsdusr is offline
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Tsuroerusu wrote:

Quote:
My suggestion to this multimedia issue is simple, a community member, seperate from the project, just make a big-ass codec pack with the codecs, libdvdcss, MPlayer.... and host it in Europe. In the actual distro of PC-BSD we make sure that we have all the KDE frontends and file associations in place so the only thing the user needs to do is install the codec pack and everything automatically hooks together, basicly like when you load a kernel module in either BSD or Linux.
This was what i ment by "special pbi page".

as anyone can create pbi's someone in one of such countries could do just that and keep trouble away from the OS.
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