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[FYI] RMS on Vorbis Beta 4 non-GPL licensing issues

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Mon, 26 Feb 2001 22:23:38 -0700 (MST)
From:           	Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>
To:             	ben@algroup.co.uk
Copies to:      	fsb@crynwr.com, open-source@csl.sri.com, members@apache.org
Subject:        	Re: [open-source] [Fwd: [icecast-dev] Xiph.org announces Vorbis Beta 4 and the Xiph.org 
Send reply to:  	rms@gnu.org

The GPL is not an end in itself; it is a measure to protect our
freedom.  In general I would rather see software copylefted, which is
one way of defending users' freedom against one particular danger.  In
the case of Ogg/Vorbis, there is a bigger danger from another
direction: the danger that people will settle on MP3 format even
though it is patented, and we won't be *allowed* to write free
encoders for the most popular format.

To overcome the inertia that supports MP3 format will require
strenuous effort.  Even if we do our utmost to encourage everyone to
replace MP3 format with Ogg/Vorbis format, it is not certain they will
do so.  Consider how long we have been trying to replace GIF with PNG.

Ordinarily, if someone decides not to use a copylefted program because
the license doesn't please him, that's his loss not ours.  But if he
rejects the Ogg/Vorbis code because of the license, and uses MP3
instead, then the problem rebounds on us--because his continued use of
MP3 may help MP3 to become and stay entrenched.

Thus, my agreement with the idea of a lax license in this special case
is just as pragmatic as my preference for the GPL in most cases.  In
both cases it is a matter of how we can attain freedom.
------- End of forwarded message -------