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See Blog20101002MageiaLegalManagement too, this page focuses on packages and implications of distributing packages impacted by known-patents or having restricted-licenses.

One thing to keep in mind is the global implications of distributing locally free/libre software:
~- for packagers (and upstream)
~- for mirror-admins
~- for magazines distributing CD/DVD
~- for websites selling and shipping CD/DVD
~- for other kind of use, relying on good identification of legal implications by the distribution to avoid most pitfalls locally (though Mageia cannot be held responsible for everything, trying its best to take into account what is known and document what is possible)

This thread is actually good in getting different scenarios of implementing "legally grey" software packages. Maybe someone will take notes of the different methods that could be used to deliver these type of software packages and then the devs or the higher ups will obviously make the final decision after considering all of these "delivery" methods.

===Reference threads for distributing legally-grey packages in Mageia===
It all began by Anssi at
This page tries to note down and organize with titles several suggestions or implementation addressed.

At issue here, in the discussion, was the method of delivery. Wolfgang wrote of the Ubuntu method which seems also fine to me. Having repos where contentious software packages were kept (just like PLF) was another method. Others suggested that Mageia repos should just offer up everything regardless of legal implications. Have I missed any other methods?

===Installing codecs or non-libre drivers from a user point of view===
It would be nice to differentiate between free/non-free, this may not be done through seperate repos, but with some packaging magic like added metadata or some other dirty tricks ;) so that it is possible to have a free/libre install out-of-the box, asking during installation.
Or maybe always do a free/libre default install, and afterwards on the first boot with mageia, and after having set up repos, give the user the choice to have all codecs/multimedia stuff automatically installed by a package task-multimedia-magic, but presenting him an overview what that choice could mean: patent infringement, dmca-like stuff and so on.
So every user gets a free/libre default install, but automatically the choice to be able to play all sorts of multimedia files.
**clearly a user decision to install them.**
It's easy to communicate, it's easy to implement fitting even those "dumb" users some people are talking about. Yesterday I installed the new Ubuntu 10.10, a window opened near the end of the installation process telling me that my hardware may need/use a non-free driver which is available online. The text explains about the non-free status in simple words and then I was asked if I wanted to activate this non-free driver.
The same can be done with all that codec stuff. A window opens, telling the user that he will need some special software to listen to MP3s, watch his commercial DVDs, etc. The text explains in simple words the legal implications which may or may not apply to his country. After that he can decide with a simple mouse click on yes or no or "ask later" (if he has no working internet connection at that time. If he clicks on "activate", the needed software will be downloaded and installed. If he clicks on "ask later" he will be asked as soon as the script detects a working internet connection.
If he has selected "No" and still tries to open a commecrial DVD (or whatever) the window ill appear again reminding him why he can't play the DVD (or whatever).
Face it: we do not have any other choice but leave it at the user's decision. All we can do is make it simple if he chooses to bite the bullet.
I don't know if you read the following article, but it looks like even in the US the laws are actually much less strict now, than people seem to think:
I'd say this is another strong argument towards including libdvdcss on the CD/DVD of the Mageia distro.

By Anssi: However, a bit more investigation shows that the Debian policy "no enforced patents" is not really a written policy and what it means in practice is not 100% clear. A clarification request [1] has gone unanswered for 1.5 years, and "missing" packages x264,lame,xvidcore are sitting in the NEW queue [2] without having been accepted or rejected yet (it has "only" been 2.5 months, though).
BTW, other related 'missing' packages in debian are "mjpegtools", "faac", "transcode", but the first two are missing due to license reasons instead of patent issues:
~- mjpegtools contains source files that are "All Rights Reserved" by "MPEG/audio software simulation group" (Ubuntu has the package in multiverse, Mandriva Linux in main)
~- faac contains a limitation that it is not allowed to be used in software not conforming to MPEG-2/MPEG-4 Audio standards, which makes it non-opensource (Ubuntu has the package in multiverse, Mandriva doesn't have it).
~- transcode is missing, but there's been no recent activity on it that would explain why it isn't there (IIRC its supported codecs are a subset of ffmpeg ones, and ffmpeg is in Debian).
[1] (note that debian had some encoders disabled in ffmpeg at the time of the above report; those have since been enabled)

===Add gaming emulators===

Well, why separate gamin emulator from regular emulator ?
The legal risk is near zero in both case, given the few cases since 10 years. Sony lost the lawsuit against Bleem
(! ), and again Connectix ( ).
The only recent case I can think of is when Nintendo asked to Youtube and Apple to remove a application that looked like a DS. Given the speed of Apple and Youtube to remove contents and software, we cannot consider this as a legal basis for anything.

And Fedora rationale about this ( ) is IMHO weak. I know people who play to the game they bought on their console, I know people who play to game they developed, and we even have people who
ported linux ( like dslinux, but the site seems down ).
So I would align on Debian policy ( and as the zsnes maintainer, I have no idea of why it was allowed in contrib while the others one didn't ).

===Take into account local laws, intelligently with international laws^Wtreaties in mind===
I do quite accept that Fedora, OpenSuse, Debian comply with US Law since there are located in the USA, thus accepting their policy about software patents. I would like that the same occurs for Mageia that is located in France.

As misc said, there is no guarantee, neither definitive rule that the build system (or parts of it) would be only located in France. There
is no guarantee that board members will always be in France. There is no guarantee that we won't setup affiliate not-for-profit orgs abroad. Etc.
We're going to distribute software all around the world in several ways, potentially, so we must think global here, and not only local.
If we were to follow the "let's only check local law", believe me, we wouldn't have located the association in France. There are other
places far more interesting in this regard.
So the question is not "where is it allowed?" and "is it allowed where we build it?" but:
~- what do we _want_ to have in software repositories and _why_?
~- what are legal constraints that we must deal with (building/packaging/distributing/using), and how?
~- how can we make this a predictable process for future situations?
**A successfull Mageia would strive to take advantage of the countries with the best laws for it's interest rather than plan according to the lowest common denominator.**
The plan is rather to get available the greatest common factor :) any suggestion and reference welcome :)

~- what do we _want_ to have in software repositories and _why_?
Easy, we want the best distro possible, with the best possible out of the box experience, which for many people includes all necessary codecs to play every possible media file, to enable transcoding, audio video production, privacy tools, encryption, etc.
In other words freedom and ease of use for the user.

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