Re: [gst-devel] Re: Helix Player virtual team meeting

I thought I would I would chime in here so that a) Rob doesn't feel that he is the sole voice responsible for this dialog, and b) because I, like all you GNOME people, consider myself a community member and I find this as confusing as you. Particularly given the fact that the Terms of Use state clearly in the first paragraph:

1)...All software, documentation, information and other materials provided on and through this Web Site ("Content") may be used only under the following terms and conditions ("Terms of Use") and any applicable licenses.

That says very clearly to me at least that you are bound to the Terms of Use first, AND any other license you may select after agreeing to the Terms of Use. The Terms of Use then go on to say quite clearly:

"Contributor hereby assigns to RealNetworks full ownership in all worldwide common law and statutory rights associated with the intellectual property rights, copyrights, copyright application, copyright registration and moral rights in the Contribution to the extent allowable under applicable local laws and copyright conventions. Contributor agrees that this assignment may be submitted by RealNetworks to register a copyright in the Contribution. Contributor retains the right to use the Contribution for Contributor's own purposes subject to whatever license is applicable to the Contribution, if any (e.g. RPSL). This provision will enable RealNetworks to efficiently protect the copyright in the Helix DNA on behalf of the entire community."

So this to my eyes, and I am a software tester not a lawyer, means two things:

One - RN owns any submitted code, may copy-write, etc. based on the ownership spelled out in the Terms of Use.

Two - the contributer owns the code up to the point it was submitted and retains the right to use it for their own purposes.

I see the practical application of this as RN could take the contribution, branch from HEAD, and develop along that branch internally for their own use. Take the ball and run with it so to speak, and not necessarily be required to contribute back the fruit of that labor. Of course the community can do the same thing with the code independently and in an open environment.

I could be way off in my assessment but that is what I get from it at first well, fourth or fifth, glance.

So it seems to me that the real issue is perhaps the way the Terms of Use seems to supersede any other license regardless of how open that license may be.

Is this the case?

On Thursday, December 11, 2003, at 02:59 AM, Thomas Vander Stichele wrote:

Hi Rob,

I appreciate the time you invest in answering to our thoughts.

It's not a matter of whether it is opensource or not.  It might very
well be certified and seem to be in line with open source, but ...

I respect the Open Source Initiative a lot, because they've taken the
time to establish standards, instead of forcing everyone to have
one-on-one case-by-case discussions of what does or doesn't "qualify".

I do to.  What I'm arguing is that we aren't so much worried whether or
not it is open source.  We are more worried about certain other
aspects.  The fact for example that the two licenses seem to be
incompatible with the GPL is a big problem for GNOME in general.

Anyway, I'm trying to get some statement on something more important to
me, see below.
Quoting the portion of the RPSL that you quoted out of context is very
misleading.  For starters, I encourage everyone to look at the whole

I also checked the whole license. I don't really see how quoting only part of the license (ie the part that Julien wanted to focus on) makes
that part of the license any less valid.

To clarify, the quote came from the terms and conditions that we get
presented with when registering on the site. The two licenses seem more
or less fine as far as I can make out as a non-legal person.

However, it seems that once you are ready to register and download code
and what not, you get presented with a terms and conditions page
where the paragraph regarding ownership was lifted from.

Now, both Julien and I have tried getting an explanation of what this
paragraph means and why these terms are completely different from the
two licenses. In one mail you quoted parts from those two licenses, but
Julien wasn't asking about those two licenses, he was asking about the
terms of use.

I asked for clarification of Real's intention with these terms of use in my mail, but again the subject is evaded. And I still have no clue what those terms intend to mean, how they mean anything other than "Real owns
you when you submit code", and how you feel we should interpret it.

Let me repeat this part very clearly: we would like to know if the part
quoted in the previous mail from the Terms of Use are valid, intended as written, and really mean that Real owns copyright on submitted code. We
can discuss other stuff all day long but without an answer to this I
don't think you will get people going and submitting code.  So let's
clear that hurdle first.

I'm not sure I see how this hurts a potential contributor.  Yes, we
could use their code in a proprietary product, but it's not like the BSD
situation where you can have total parasites who take from the
community, and never give back.  This is a special right granted to us
as contributors of the code....

As said, it all depends on whether or not the Terms of Use are valid.
Start there.

it seems like reasonable quid pro quo to

Right, and I might agree to some level :) On the other hand, you're not
trying to get you to develop.  You're trying us to get to develop :) So
it needs to seem reasonable to us.

I'd be disappointed if a potential contributor turned away because they
dwell too hard on the rights RealNetworks gets rather than focusing on
the rights the contributor gets.

When courting a community that has built their whole reason of existence
around a legal invention that focuses on the rights each of the parties
gets in using software, it would be naive to think that potential
contributors would not dwell hard on the rights both parties get.

So possible routes, if this matters to Real, are:
a) change the license
b) explain to us what it is that we understand in the wrong way
c) go right ahead without us

It very much matters to us. We'll consider (a), but a very strong case
needs to be made for that.  It helps to finally be having these
conversations on a list.

However, it's important that we explore (b) (rephrased: come to a
negotiated set of common goals).  Competition is always good, but I
think we're getting ample competition right now from other completely
proprietary frameworks.

You're misinterpreting point b) I was trying to make.  b) Is the very
simple and explicit question "Please explain to us why we are wrong in
reading that clause in the Terms of Use as 'give us your code, it's

That is not to say Real is completely closed; but you must understand
that as free software developers we are wary of being used as cheap
labour on a project that is less free than another with the same scope.

I understand your concern. We'll 'fess up to being a big stupid company
who doesn't fully understand why people contribute to open source.  In
aggregate, we're guilty as charged.

Heh :) I am never big on corporate conspiracies, so you won't hear stuff
like this come out of my mouth.  But I understand you're fighting an
image which is very hard to shake off, and much respect to you for that.

However, we're not asking you to contribute to RealAudio and RealVideo. We're asking to collaborate on a media framework. It so happens that as
a bonus for using our media framework, you get *legal* access to
commercial-grade codecs that are available today,

I want the users of my framework to have access to them, not myself.

 as well as access to a
number of open source codecs and datatypes (including Ogg Vorbis and
SMIL 2.0)

Haven't checked SMIL recently, but Ogg Vorbis has been accessible long
before Helix.

So we are asking for contribution, but we're contributing in turn. Not
merely with more development, but in acquiring patent licenses,
developing for other platforms, making business deals to get more open
source contributors, etc.  We're making the licensing as liberal as we
can, while still ensuring we can run our business in parallel.

This makes perfect sense to us.  This is also where we are very
interested.  I believe it was Bruce Perens who was quoted as saying the
crown jewels were missing from the Helix initiative.  I agree with him.
How hard can it be to
a) make binary-only codecs freely available without clickthrough license
b) write a GPL/BSD/Real License/... API and library for using them

I'm assuming Helix does b) fine at this point, but I'm not going to
accept the terms of use presented to me on the site as a potential
contributor without some explanation.

So, repeating this for clarity: please explain to us in human terms the
intent of that paragraph in the Terms of Use.

Thanks for your time,

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 - mi|<e
------------------------------------------------------------------------ ---
Michael Maloney,  QA Project Engineer - RealNetworks
aim: r4bid1                  RaBBiT on

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