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Kiss Technology Counters MPlayer GPL Arguments

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the kiss-off dept.

Software 634

Snaller writes "Recently, MPlayer claimed that KISS Technology were violating the GPL by using parts of their MPlayer movie playback code in proprietary software. Now The Danish National Radio has interviewed the managing director of Kiss Technology, Peter Wilmar Christensen. He denies all claims of wrongdoing and suggests that if the pieces of code are the same, perhaps they were leaked from Kiss Technology and were then used by the Mplayer group. He also adds that the GPL is a weak license which has never been tested in court. Gabucino from the Mplayer team is furious, and accuses the director of outright lying."

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First Motherfucking Post of Goodness!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957148)

Booyah, bitchez!

jerkcity.com plz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957156)

jerkcity.com plz

GPL == strong (5, Insightful)

BlurredWeasel (723480) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957157)

The reason GPL has never been tested in court is that there haven't been any solid violations of the licence and the fact that it is so clear (the GPL that is...). The only grey area is 'derivative work' which most certainly includes blatently ripping off a chunk of code.

Re:GPL == strong (2, Insightful)

alexborges (313924) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957238)

Danish Law != USA Law
(EU Law?)

So go figure.

Re:GPL == strong (4, Informative)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957297)

The GPL is mostly based on the copyright as defined by the Bern Convention.
It will be pretty solid in countries that recognize it, and as far as I know Denmark does.

Jeroen

Re:GPL == strong (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957394)

Y o u r c o m m e n t v i o l a t e d t h e " p o s t e r c o m m e n t " c o m p r e s s i o n f i l t e r . T r y l e s s w h i t e s p a c e a n d / o r l e s s r e p e t i t i o n . C o m m e n t a b o r t e d . Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 12.8). Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 12.8).
mmmmm good! Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition.Comment aborted.
Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition.Comment aborted. WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWIDE!


Alan Partridge

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Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Re:GPL == strong (4, Interesting)

sniggly (216454) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957429)

ITs totally valid in Denmark. You CANT use GPL software unless you specifically agree to share your modifications with the original copyright holders under the GPL.

The GPL really is about protecting the copyright of the original authors. If it's ever tested in court that will be the final argument. "They wrote it so they can distribute it however the hell they want".

Kiss apparently thinks mplayer is small fries and hopefully kiss will either come clean, be boycotted, or get sued by the FSF [eff.org] .

Re:GPL == strong (3, Funny)

johannesg (664142) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957255)

Looking at the bright side, if he wants to see it tested in court so badly he may very well get his chance. In fact, if he tries hard enough he might just be able to squeeze in before SCO...

Mplayer.hu site article (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957273)

Site seems to be on the virge of slashdotting, so here's the mplayer peoples' comments.

2004.01.10, Saturday :: Radio interview: Kiss VS MPlayer
posted by Gabucino

The Danish National Radio (http://dr.dk) has made an interview with me (as MPlayer representative), and Kiss Technology's managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen.

It is going to be broadcasted tonight at 20:35, but it is also downloadable from the Internet right now:

* streaming [real01drdk...-mplayerrm]
* downloadable file [mplayerhq.hu]

A written article is also available, in Danish.

We have made a rough english translation of the session (thanks to Anders Rune Jensen). Our commentaries can be found at the bottom.

Speaker: The development of MPlayer was started by a little group of Hungarian programmers 3 years ago.

Speaker: We needed a program that could play media files under Linux and were so unsatisfied with the existing choices that we started making a better alternative - said Gabucino, the spokesperson for the MPlayer programmers.

Speaker: MPlayer has reached a wide recognition in the Open Source community. Gabucino emphasizes the program's stability and ability to play many different movie formats as some of the obvious advantages.

Speaker: The trouble with Kiss technology started recently when one of the MPlayer developers was shopping for a new DVD player and went for a product by the Danish company. For fun the programmer started looking at the software in the Danish DVD player, the so called firmware, and compared it with MPlayer's own code. There were enough similarities to take a closer look at the case and make the MPlayer team angry - Gabucino said.

Speaker: The specific part of the code in which the similarities are found is the one controlling the subtitles when playing movies. The reality is that the code doesn't contain anything really brilliant. On the contrary, it's very simple. So Gabucino is puzzled why anyone would even bother using the code instead of writing it themselves. He suggests that it could be laziness on the programmer's side.

Speaker: I think it's actually a very normal thing that programmers borrow Open Source code because they are too lazy to write it themselves. There have been some cases prior to this which have caused quite a lot of trouble. I think there are hundreds of examples like this that we just don't hear about - Gabucino said.

Speaker: The MPlayer team has published the accusation of the code theft on their website and has tried to document it by listing the strings in the code which are identical in the two pieces of software. According to Gabucino, there are so many similarities that it's unthinkable that this might be a coincidence.

Speaker: Normally this type of code is different depending on who implemented it, so, when there are so many identical strings, it's obvious that we're dealing with theft, the Hungarians believe.

Speaker: GPL or General Public License which MPlayer is licensed under is a very widely used Open Source license, which gives the users certain rights and certain duties. Long story short, it is okay to take the code from MPlayer and develop it further, as long as the result is given back to the community. In this specific example Gabucino and the other Hungarians therefore demand that Kiss Technology should release the software used in its DVD players. And makes it clear that it is not a matter of getting some money from the Danish company, but a matter of fulfilling the requirements of the GPL and releasing the software.

Speaker: Kiss Technology at first didn't react to the Hungarians' inquiry, but after the story began to get large publicity in the different net-medias and forums the company began to investigate the case this week. There are two main questions: whether code from MPlayer really is inside the Kiss software and how the licenses of Open Source software should be interpreted and applied. Apart from being accused of taking code from MPlayer, Kiss Technology has also been accused of using other Open Source software, but managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen denies all accusations with small requisitions. The DVD player from Kiss uses a modified version of Linux as its operating system and that part of the software has been released in accordance with the licenses. But Kiss proclaims that the programs used in the machines on top of the operating system, which enables them to play video and music files are the company's own and therefore are not required to be released, the managing director Peter Christensen explains.

Peter: I would say that the is no truth to the accusations. In large there has been some interest regarding our applications recently and around GPL, which is the software used in the Open Source community which requires you to publish the source code if you use it. And there has been some interest in some of the programs used on our DVD players. Something called libmad and libjpg and than this Hungarian company MPlayer. On our DVD players we run Linux which is licensed under the GPL, we have on our webpage published the operating system so that people can download the improved version of Linux that we use. The application layer on top of Linux is proprietary and is not based on any GPL code. We doesn't use MPlayer, we use our own player, a player like we know from Real Player, Microsoft Media Player is the application used to display movies. It is a fundamental thing for our player, because it's what we are known for, being able to play a wide range of different formats.

Speaker: The documentation the Hungarians has presented on their website is parts from your code. By simply comparing the strings line for line and concludes that they are so identical that this can be no coincidence. What is your comment on this?

Peter: We are currently investigating exactly that specific part, how that can be and if it's really true what they say. Currently we have not investigated it enough to be sure whether or not they are right or wrong in their accusations. What is important is that we do not use their application (Of course, only the subtitle reader! - Gabucino). Should there be cases where the code is very much alike, we have to look at how that could have happened. But we doubt that there is any truth to the accusations. There are a lot of things that could have happened, one could imagine that code from our community has spread to other communities included the Open Source and code originating from our player could accordingly be a part of MPlayer, if in fact there are any similarities. It can be hard to tell how those similarities have supposedly appeared. What is important is that we do not use their application. If there are a few identical lines then one might ask themselves how that has happened. But it could have just as well come from one side as from the other. In any case, we are under no circumstances of the opinion that we have borrowed code.

Speaker: Whoever made the code for subtitles in the Hungarian software and in the Danish DVD players can be thought of as a minor issue in today's world. But what is important is the matter of principles in this specific issue and what private companies can allow themselves when they use Open Source and on the other hand what the Open Source community can expect from the companies. Because of the current case, managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen has had a closer look at the GPL license and evaluated its legal status.

Peter: We have confirmed what we already knew, that when using code licensed under the GPL then we have to publish any derivative work. This means that the legal foundation is very thin and there is no place in the world that I know of where the GPL has been tested in court. So from a business perspective I would say that the license is relatively weak. This doesn't change the fundamental spirit in the Open Source community which I think - all in all - is positive. But it is clear that as a commercial company living off selling its product, can not and will not release its proprietary code. It is naturally so that one should not use GPL code in proprietary systems.

Speaker:According to Gabucino, the Hungarian software developers of MPlayer are glad that their accusation against the Danish company has reached the media.

Speaker: As he said, there are no big economical options for dragging the case to court. Instead they hope that the Open Source community will put so much pressure on Kiss Techonology that they will be forced to release all its software.

Speaker: But that completely out of the question, said the managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen, even though he is very keen on staying good friends with the Open Source community.

Peter: We don't have any intentions of working against or in another way make enemies with the people in this community. We try to tell what we use and what guidelines we follow. Have we made any error, such as making incorrect descriptions in our manuals then we will of course fix those things. It is not so that we in any way want confrontation, but we have to make a clear statement that our software will not be released as Open Source.

Speaker: What is your conclusion of this case, what will it be after this?

Peter: The conclusion will be that the licenses in this area are a good description of how one ought to operate within this community. They're more of a tool to describe how to operate than a set of rules that can be used in court. And I think that the Open Source circles uses far too much energy on hunting down private companies like us for instance, because it's so obvious that one as a private company simply can't release your source code. We appreciate the Linux community very much and see it as a good thing for the industry. Generally that there is an alternative to the Microsoft community. But we think that the community should respect the companies who use Linux and not hunt them because I don't think that's beneficial for anyone.

END OF TRANSLATION

Gabucino's comments: I find it quite disgusting to read so much plain lies. It's obvious how companies like Kiss or SCO treat open source. Let's read these particular sentences again:

Peter: ...There are a lot of things that could have happened, one could imagine that code from our community has spread to other communities included the Open Source and code originating from our player could accordingly be a part of MPlayer, if in fact there are any similarities. It can be hard to tell how those similarities have supposedly started. What is important is that we do not use their application. If there are a few identical lines then one might ask themselves how that has happened.

It's quite clear that they've never read our News section, because we hurried to state they've even stolen our own subtitle file format MPsub (see our specifications).

Its idea was mine, then I asked laaz if he would be so kind as to implement it in MPlayer. Then in 2001 October 12 at 13:51:58 he commited the support, as it can be seen here. The format was never seen in the wild.

Several things can be concluded:

1. Mr. Christensen never took the time to read our announcements.
2. Mr. Christensen suggest they've implemented our subtitle format way before we did it ourselves. The Kiss firmwares are all made in 2003, which is - as far as I know - a way later year than 2001.
3. Mr. Christensen doesn't have the slightest clue about what software his company is using.
4. Kiss Technology has strange interpretation problems with some sentences, like "...We don't have any intentions of working against, or in another way make enemies with the people in this (Open Source) community."

Actually we can picture a quite nice representation of their viewpoint, especially after seeing their unwillingness to start a conversation with us in E-Mail. Kiss Technology's views are:

1. "...making our source open to public is out of question"
2. Pressing Microsoft (or Bush)-style PR, like repeating their own lies, emphasized again and again: "What is important is that we do not use their application."
3. Spreading FUD: "It can be hard to tell how those similarities have supposedly started." Ever heard of version control systems?
4. Holding good communiqe with the Open Source community: "If there are a few identical lines then one might ask themselves how that has happened. But it could have just as well come from one side as from the other..." The pitful aspect of this is that it implies a totally ignorant viewpoint, like 'our sources are ours, it's completely obfuscated, but yes, our claims are the truth, yours are plain lies'

How come companies like Kiss cant'be punished by Law?

Re:GPL == strong (3, Interesting)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957290)

There has been "solid violations of the licence" but the lawyers haven't been able to turn the terms of the license to their client's advantage.

The GPL is quite clear on what is and isn't allowed.

The copywrite holder decides to release under the GPL and anyone deriving works from that code must abide by those conditions.

Re:GPL == strong (3, Funny)

jg_elliott (731553) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957325)

(Obligatory Starwars reference)
Even if it isn't strong, and it fails in court, something tells me that if you strike the GPL down, if will become more powerful than we can possibly imagine....

i'm not circumcised (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957159)

will I ever have sex? I'm 34 now.

Re:i'm not circumcised (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957192)

hey, i'm not cut either. in my experience, women prefer uncut guys once they give it a try. its sex they way nature intended it.

just say no to mutilated wang.

KISS of death (1, Funny)

danormsby (529805) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957162)

Is this the KISS of death for GPL?

Re:KISS of death (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957261)

Enjor your swift descent into -1 land, buddy. Nice try though.

Interesting (3, Insightful)

olliej_nz (701899) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957165)

The only way we could know for sure would be to see the CVS/[insert source archive system here] logs to see whether they were developed all at once by KISS (implying they stole) or whether it built up over time...

Re:Interesting (5, Insightful)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957336)

You mean, whether Kiss implimented MPlayer's unique, never seen in the outside world, never used in a video file, subtitle format called MPsub, all at once, or over time?

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957371)

I wonder when the mplayer project is going to stop violating other people's copyrights. For instance,
they are distributing Apple binary codecs without permission:

http://www1.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/releases/codecs /

Blame SCO (1, Funny)

big_groo (237634) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957166)

The bastards.

Re:Blame SCO (1)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957359)

Naa, SCO is holding its collective breath(s) hoping that the GPL is struck down or deminissed by this challenge. I hope that SCO cannot survive without oxygen for eight minutes in that regard.

Re:Blame SCO (1, Offtopic)

damiena (263598) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957373)

I do believe that you mean litigious bastards [sco.com] .

well they can KISS my ass! (-1, Flamebait)

xirtam_work (560625) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957167)

lair lair pants on fire.

oh, how very mature. bet this doesn't go to court in either country, so who's going to do anything about it? certainly not the FSF.

Re:well they can KISS my ass! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957217)

I believe you mean "liar, liar, pants on fire".

Re:well they can KISS my ass! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957258)

Hmmm.... a lair o' pants.... O the possibilities...

Re:well they can KISS my ass! (1)

terminal.dk (102718) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957288)

Going to court here is pretty cheap.
I think this will be handled in the "sea- and trade court", which can command Kiss to stop distributing the software, until the copyright infringements has been removed.

You can run the case yourself, and if you win it will cost nothing.

Untested? Bah. (5, Informative)

tehdely (690619) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957173)


We have confirmed what we already knew, that when using code licensed under the GPL then we have to publish any derivative work. This means that the legal foundation is very thin and there is no place in the world that I know of where the GPL has been tested in court. So from a business perspective I would say that the license is relatively weak. This doesn't change the fundamental spirit in the Open Source community which I think - all in all - is positive. But it is clear that as a commercial company living off selling its product, can not and will not release its proprietary code. It is naturally so that one should not use GPL code in proprietary systems.


Is it just me, or is this an attempt at blatantly copping-out by capitalizing on all the anti-GPL hysteria that has been rampant recently?

The GPL certainly hasn't been tested in court (yet), but that doesn't mean it hasn't been tested. A large number of out-of-court settlements (some of them rather expensive) prove that corporations are willing to respect the license, and that its defenders are willing to enforce compliance.

Re:Untested? Bah. (2)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957259)

Is it just me, or is this an attempt at blatantly copping-out by capitalizing on all the anti-GPL hysteria that has been rampant recently?

The GPL certainly hasn't been tested in court (yet), but that doesn't mean it hasn't been tested. A large number of out-of-court settlements (some of them rather expensive) prove that corporations are willing to respect the license, and that its defenders are willing to enforce compliance.


You said 100% better what i wanted to say. I reached for mod points but i had none.

Sorry.

"capitalizing on all the anti-GPL hysteria" hits the nail on the head.

Re:Untested? Bah. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957328)

We have confirmed what we already knew, that when using code licensed under the GPL then we have to publish any derivative work. This means that the legal foundation is very thin

Does that make any sense whatsoever? "If you want to publish something based on our code, then you have to abide by our terms" seems completely reasonable to me.

Re:Untested? Bah. (5, Insightful)

Curtman (556920) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957333)

And once again someone (KISS, not parent poster) needs to understand that if the GPL isn't valid, they have absolutely no rights to use code copyrighted by the various authors of the Mplayer code.

Could someone who understands the language take a look at the pre-translated version of:

We doesn't use MPlayer, we use our own player, a player like we know from Real Player, Microsoft Media Player is the application used to display movies. It is a fundamental thing for our player, because it's what we are known for, being able to play a wide range of different formats.

And tell us weather thats actually what this guy said, or if he actually knows what any of this is about? What the hell is he saying? Is he claiming they are using Windows Media player on Linux? Or just that they have a program that functions similar to Real or WMP?

Re:Untested? Bah. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957432)

EXAMPLE [slashdot.org]
EXAMPLE [infoworld.com]
EXAMPLE [theregister.co.uk]

smallmind (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957174)

daniel parsons has no wang.

Bad tactic (3, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957175)

He just got a bunch of easily riled up geeks that love the GPL pissed off at him.

Expect mailbombing, DDOS attacks, and outright criticism. Then expect to start hearing from legal advisors that know what they are talking about.

Presentation (4, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957305)

It's really too bad that this article wasn't out a bit sooner. It seems from on their homepage that they did a public presentation in vegas from the 8th-11th. Anyone know their next presentation date... perhaps we could come and present some poignant questions about the now-dubious legitimacy of their product (nothing quite like: "isn't it true that XXX and YYY have found evidence that your code is stolen from project ZZZ" in a public place).

Re:Bad tactic (1)

roll_w.it (317514) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957306)

Re:Bad tactic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957377)

Re:Bad tactic (2, Insightful)

placeclicker (709182) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957403)

Or, more likely, those DDoS attacks would make the OSS community look childish, and thus help KISS's case.

Not likely! (2, Interesting)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957426)

Then expect to start hearing from legal advisors that know what they are talking about.

The problem is, this part probably will not happen, and KISS knows it. The "small guy" generally does not have the resources to pursue this kind of legal action. This is why I was happy to see SCO take the GPL to task, if it becomes part of their future legal insanity, we may then get a good test case that clears the unknowns up.

see you in court then (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957177)


if the GPL is strong , there should be no problem seeing him in court right ?

Re:see you in court then (2, Insightful)

epiphani (254981) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957232)

im there. you're paying, right?

Re:see you in court then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957280)


oh ive left my wallet in my other pants

Never let it be said... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957179)

Well, never let it be said that Americans are the only people to behave in shitty corporate self-interested ways.

Such dishonesty is painfully pathological.

Well, well, well. It looks like Kiss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957181)

is telling you filthy hippies to Kiss its ass.


First you steal from SCO, and now you demand that other's stop stealing from you? Pay your $699 fee cocktonguers.

Looks like the server is melting already... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957183)

So here:

The Danish National Radio (http://dr.dk) has made an interview with me (as MPlayer representative), and Kiss Technology's managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen.

It is going to be broadcasted tonight at 20:35, but it is also downloadable from the Internet right now:

* streaming
* downloadable file

A written article is also available, in Danish.

We have made a rough english translation of the session (thanks to Anders Rune Jensen). Our commentaries can be found at the bottom.

Speaker: The development of MPlayer was started by a little group of Hungarian programmers 3 years ago.

Speaker: We needed a program that could play media files under Linux and were so unsatisfied with the existing choices that we started making a better alternative - said Gabucino, the spokesperson for the MPlayer programmers.

Speaker: MPlayer has reached a wide recognition in the Open Source community. Gabucino emphasizes the program's stability and ability to play many different movie formats as some of the obvious advantages.

Speaker: The trouble with Kiss technology started recently when one of the MPlayer developers was shopping for a new DVD player and went for a product by the Danish company. For fun the programmer started looking at the software in the Danish DVD player, the so called firmware, and compared it with MPlayer's own code. There were enough similarities to take a closer look at the case and make the MPlayer team angry - Gabucino said.

Speaker: The specific part of the code in which the similarities are found is the one controlling the subtitles when playing movies. The reality is that the code doesn't contain anything really brilliant. On the contrary, it's very simple. So Gabucino is puzzled why anyone would even bother using the code instead of writing it themselves. He suggests that it could be laziness on the programmer's side.

Speaker: I think it's actually a very normal thing that programmers borrow Open Source code because they are too lazy to write it themselves. There have been some cases prior to this which have caused quite a lot of trouble. I think there are hundreds of examples like this that we just don't hear about - Gabucino said.

Speaker: The MPlayer team has published the accusation of the code theft on their website and has tried to document it by listing the strings in the code which are identical in the two pieces of software. According to Gabucino, there are so many similarities that it's unthinkable that this might be a coincidence.

Speaker: Normally this type of code is different depending on who implemented it, so, when there are so many identical strings, it's obvious that we're dealing with theft, the Hungarians believe.

Speaker: GPL or General Public License which MPlayer is licensed under is a very widely used Open Source license, which gives the users certain rights and certain duties. Long story short, it is okay to take the code from MPlayer and develop it further, as long as the result is given back to the community. In this specific example Gabucino and the other Hungarians therefore demand that Kiss Technology should release the software used in its DVD players. And makes it clear that it is not a matter of getting some money from the Danish company, but a matter of fulfilling the requirements of the GPL and releasing the software.

Speaker: Kiss Technology at first didn't react to the Hungarians' inquiry, but after the story began to get large publicity in the different net-medias and forums the company began to investigate the case this week. There are two main questions: whether code from MPlayer really is inside the Kiss software and how the licenses of Open Source software should be interpreted and applied. Apart from being accused of taking code from MPlayer, Kiss Technology has also been accused of using other Open Source software, but managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen denies all accusations with small requisitions. The DVD player from Kiss uses a modified version of Linux as its operating system and that part of the software has been released in accordance with the licenses. But Kiss proclaims that the programs used in the machines on top of the operating system, which enables them to play video and music files are the company's own and therefore are not required to be released, the managing director Peter Christensen explains.

Peter: I would say that the is no truth to the accusations. In large there has been some interest regarding our applications recently and around GPL, which is the software used in the Open Source community which requires you to publish the source code if you use it. And there has been some interest in some of the programs used on our DVD players. Something called libmad and libjpg and than this Hungarian company MPlayer. On our DVD players we run Linux which is licensed under the GPL, we have on our webpage published the operating system so that people can download the improved version of Linux that we use. The application layer on top of Linux is proprietary and is not based on any GPL code. We doesn't use MPlayer, we use our own player, a player like we know from Real Player, Microsoft Media Player is the application used to display movies. It is a fundamental thing for our player, because it's what we are known for, being able to play a wide range of different formats.

Speaker: The documentation the Hungarians has presented on their website is parts from your code. By simply comparing the strings line for line and concludes that they are so identical that this can be no coincidence. What is your comment on this?

Peter: We are currently investigating exactly that specific part, how that can be and if it's really true what they say. Currently we have not investigated it enough to be sure whether or not they are right or wrong in their accusations. What is important is that we do not use their application (Of course, only the subtitle reader! - Gabucino). Should there be cases where the code is very much alike, we have to look at how that could have happened. But we doubt that there is any truth to the accusations. There are a lot of things that could have happened, one could imagine that code from our community has spread to other communities included the Open Source and code originating from our player could accordingly be a part of MPlayer, if in fact there are any similarities. It can be hard to tell how those similarities have supposedly appeared. What is important is that we do not use their application. If there are a few identical lines then one might ask themselves how that has happened. But it could have just as well come from one side as from the other. In any case, we are under no circumstances of the opinion that we have borrowed code.

Speaker: Whoever made the code for subtitles in the Hungarian software and in the Danish DVD players can be thought of as a minor issue in today's world. But what is important is the matter of principles in this specific issue and what private companies can allow themselves when they use Open Source and on the other hand what the Open Source community can expect from the companies. Because of the current case, managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen has had a closer look at the GPL license and evaluated its legal status.

Peter: We have confirmed what we already knew, that when using code licensed under the GPL then we have to publish any derivative work. This means that the legal foundation is very thin and there is no place in the world that I know of where the GPL has been tested in court. So from a business perspective I would say that the license is relatively weak. This doesn't change the fundamental spirit in the Open Source community which I think - all in all - is positive. But it is clear that as a commercial company living off selling its product, can not and will not release its proprietary code. It is naturally so that one should not use GPL code in proprietary systems.

Speaker:According to Gabucino, the Hungarian software developers of MPlayer are glad that their accusation against the Danish company has reached the media.

Speaker: As he said, there are no big economical options for dragging the case to court. Instead they hope that the Open Source community will put so much pressure on Kiss Techonology that they will be forced to release all its software.

Speaker: But that completely out of the question, said the managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen, even though he is very keen on staying good friends with the Open Source community.

Peter: We don't have any intentions of working against or in another way make enemies with the people in this community. We try to tell what we use and what guidelines we follow. Have we made any error, such as making incorrect descriptions in our manuals then we will of course fix those things. It is not so that we in any way want confrontation, but we have to make a clear statement that our software will not be released as Open Source.

Speaker: What is your conclusion of this case, what will it be after this?

Peter: The conclusion will be that the licenses in this area are a good description of how one ought to operate within this community. They're more of a tool to describe how to operate than a set of rules that can be used in court. And I think that the Open Source circles uses far too much energy on hunting down private companies like us for instance, because it's so obvious that one as a private company simply can't release your source code. We appreciate the Linux community very much and see it as a good thing for the industry. Generally that there is an alternative to the Microsoft community. But we think that the community should respect the companies who use Linux and not hunt them because I don't think that's beneficial for anyone.

END OF TRANSLATION

Gabucino's comments: I find it quite disgusting to read so much plain lies. It's obvious how companies like Kiss or SCO treat open source. Let's read these particular sentences again:

Peter: ...There are a lot of things that could have happened, one could imagine that code from our community has spread to other communities included the Open Source and code originating from our player could accordingly be a part of MPlayer, if in fact there are any similarities. It can be hard to tell how those similarities have supposedly started. What is important is that we do not use their application. If there are a few identical lines then one might ask themselves how that has happened.

It's quite clear that they've never read our News section, because we hurried to state they've even stolen our own subtitle file format MPsub (see our specifications).

Its idea was mine, then I asked laaz if he would be so kind as to implement it in MPlayer. Then in 2001 October 12 at 13:51:58 he commited the support, as it can be seen here. The format was never seen in the wild.

Several things can be concluded:

1. Mr. Christensen never took the time to read our announcements.
2. Mr. Christensen suggest they've implemented our subtitle format way before we did it ourselves. The Kiss firmwares are all made in 2003, which is - as far as I know - a way later year than 2001.
3. Mr. Christensen doesn't have the slightest clue about what software his company is using.
4. Kiss Technology has strange interpretation problems with some sentences, like "...We don't have any intentions of working against, or in another way make enemies with the people in this (Open Source) community."

Actually we can picture a quite nice representation of their viewpoint, especially after seeing their unwillingness to start a conversation with us in E-Mail. Kiss Technology's views are:

1. "...making our source open to public is out of question"
2. Pressing Microsoft (or Bush)-style PR, like repeating their own lies, emphasized again and again: "What is important is that we do not use their application."
3. Spreading FUD: "It can be hard to tell how those similarities have supposedly started." Ever heard of version control systems?
4. Holding good communiqe with the Open Source community: "If there are a few identical lines then one might ask themselves how that has happened. But it could have just as well come from one side as from the other..." The pitful aspect of this is that it implies a totally ignorant viewpoint, like 'our sources are ours, it's completely obfuscated, but yes, our claims are the truth, yours are plain lies'

How come companies like Kiss cant'be punished by Law?

Re:Looks like the server is melting already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957376)

>How come companies like Kiss cant'be punished by Law?

Sure they can, sue them. You can do that in Denmark.

Re:Looks like the server is melting already... (5, Insightful)

Alan Cox (27532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957412)

One of the first things I'd say reading this is that his reaction looks a lot like several other vendors I dealt with whose CEO simply could not believe that either their employees or their subcontractors would steal code.

Some of the confusion also comes from the speaker. If the translation is accurate the speaker asks

"As he said, there are no big economical options for dragging the case to court. Instead they hope that the Open Source community will put so much pressure on Kiss Techonology that they will be forced to release all its software."

The speaker doesn't say anything about software stolen by employees or contractors, or software in dispute, just about "all software". So the reply is that KISS won't release their player app - which the company guy clearly doesn't think contains mplayer code so he doesn't have to release.

At that point he's already denied stealing any code, but confirmed he is having the matter checked.

Now it may be that code was stolen and he doesn't know about it. It may be it was stolen and he systematically was involved. I find the latter hard to believe - if it had been done by someone smart and with foreplanning they would a) have an instant cover story b) done the hiding job a lot better.

So the way I read this it says
"We havent copied anything but we will check"
"We wont be releasing all our code, including our proprietary stuff containing only our code"
"We do release all the open source stuff"
"We have fixed minor errors in the past"
"You are picking on the wrong people"

Put that way it's not quite the same as the mplayer view. Lets just see how the evidence pans out. If the KISS guys find someone stole code then we will see how they handle it. If the mplayer guys are right it won't be too long before the KISS folks will be apologising.

Alan

BTW: Larg e scale commercial copyright violation in parts of the EU (Denmark I believe included) is a violation of criminal not just civil law.

How come companies like Kiss cant'be punished by L (3, Insightful)

Confused (34234) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957419)

> How come companies like Kiss cant'be
> punished by Law?

Because the GPL is a rather weak weapon to make their life miserable. They just have to fix the problem or publish the source to their customers and the case collapses. This approach may be very sensible in a civilised society but not a good tool to annoy your neighbour.

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957185)

GPL.. What is it all about.. is it good, or is it whack?

THUS SPEAKS THE SPOOGE AWARDS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957413)

The GPL is whack. [geocities.com]

GPL@Court (5, Insightful)

SignificantBit (677809) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957186)

... i'm really eager to see what is going to happen when the GPL goes to court.
To me, it's seems that with wider commercialization of GPLed technology, it becomes more important to have solid foundation to stop once and for all corporate greed and FUD.

And As Always... (5, Funny)

bfg9000 (726447) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957187)

...the way to show support for our mplayer friends is to slashdot them into infinity!

Re:And As Always... (0, Troll)

siphi (732622) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957380)

Set opera to reload every 5 secs on their site. Mwahahahahaha.

They should no better. (4, Funny)

pardasaniman (585320) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957190)

GPL has been tested over and over, and enforced too. Those who don't comply are slashdotted! (And some those who do too!) We slashdotted SCO, now we slashdot KISS.. Fear our wrath!

Re:They should no better. (1)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957281)

Fear our wrath; grammar be damned!

Yu shud spel betta. (0, Troll)

Spoke (6112) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957372)

Um, yeah.

If You Don't Accept the Terms of the GPL... (5, Informative)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957197)

...then you're back to standard copyright law, which means you *cannot* distribute any derived works. IMO, this is why the GPL is much stronger than a EULA. It doesn't try to restrict usage at all; and it grants you certain distribution rights if you're willing to play ball.

Re:If You Don't Accept the Terms of the GPL... (2, Informative)

Pyro226 (715818) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957354)

You're entirely right. There are some situations whose outcomes can be decided by whether the GPL is enforceable or not, but this is not one of them.

...then you're back to standard copyright law, which means you *cannot* distribute any derived works.

Now, lets assume that KISS Technology did take code from MPlayer. The only thing that gives them the right to use that code at all is the GPL. Whether the GPL is valid or not, MPlayer has the copyright to that code. Being the copyright owners, MPlayer was nice enough to release their code under a license that allows other people to use it pretty freely. If the GNU/GPL is found to be invalid, those rights die with it, and the code is covered by standard copyright laws. I'm sure that KISS does not want to have to return all of the nice open source code that they've been using (until they can contact all of the authors, up the ENTIRE chain of derivitive works).

That is only if KISS did steal code. If they didn't steal code then they are just mean for insulting the GPL.

Dates? (4, Insightful)

phorm (591458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957202)

The arguement of "who stole whose code" shouldn't be too hard to settle. There are archives of old versions, logs of when certain sections/features were added. Compare the allegedly stolen Mplayer code with the Kiss release date, and then tell Kiss to kiss our GNU/Asses.

As for the GPL being were and unverified in court, perhaps they'd like to be our guinea pig? Of course, without GPL they'd still be in violation of copyright and up for large monentary damages.

Re:Dates? (4, Interesting)

nate1138 (325593) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957298)

Actually, the code in question (the subtitle code) is even easier than that to verify. At issue is MPSub, the subtitle format developed internally by mplayer coders. This format was developed by them for them, and until mplayer's release had never been "in the wild". KISS's players mention the MPSub format in their subtitling code. That makes it pretty darn clear to me.

License Review (-1, Troll)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957204)

Mplayer stealing from other companies = good. Other companies stealing from mplayer = bad.

Re:License Review (1)

Unregistered (584479) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957252)

mplayer violating eulas by packaging stuff that's available free == good (except the mplayer guys don't to this themselves, the PLF does). Other companies stealing from mplayer == bad. See the difference? troll.

The GPL Works, Because People Have Respect In It (0)

puckmaster87 (740068) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957206)

The GPL has never been tested in court for a reason:
People have respect for it and follow it. In the open source world, large coporations aren't usually involved and matters of GPL violations can be handled in a simple manner outside of the court system. If any of you don't understand what I mean by people having respect for it, let me give you an example. The U.S. dollar bill would be worth absolutely nothing if people didn't have trust and respect for it. U.S. money is not backed by any gold, silver, etc. It is backed by trust and respect and it is the same for the GPL. Well, except for the fact that an entire license isn't written on our money.

didn't the code... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957209)

didn't the code in question have something about mplayers internal format in? someone who commented on it when it last came up had pointed it out.

does anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957215)

know what happened to the computer printer company from the late '80's that also went by the name of "KiSS"? I figured it was the same company that had made my old laser printer (long since taken to the dump), but their website says they opened shop in 1994...
Hard to imagine that two companies would pick the same dumbshit name....

Christensen doesn't make Kiss look much better (5, Insightful)

ThisIsAnExampleAccou (718430) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957221)

So, if Gabucino is correct, Kiss Technology stole code from MPlayer. And if Peter Wilmar Christensen is correct, someone working for Kiss Technology leaked the information to the competition, possibly for money.

Neither scenario paints a pretty picture of Kiss Technology. Are they a publically traded company?

MOD DOWN, PARENT TROLL, CHECK HIS JOURNAL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957330)

MOD DOWN, PARENT TROLL, CHECK HIS JOURNAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957387)

but mod grandparent up

Since the mplayer website is being ./'d to death.. (0, Redundant)

bruns (75399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957223)

2004.01.10, Saturday :: Radio interview: Kiss VS MPlayer
posted by Gabucino

The Danish National Radio (http://dr.dk) has made an interview with me (as MPlayer representative), and Kiss Technology's managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen.

It is going to be broadcasted tonight at 20:35, but it is also downloadable from the Internet right now:

* streaming [real01drdk...-mplayerrm]
* downloadable [mplayerhq.hu] file

A written article is also available, in Danish.

We have made a rough english translation of the session (thanks to Anders Rune Jensen). Our commentaries can be found at the bottom.

Speaker: The development of MPlayer was started by a little group of Hungarian programmers 3 years ago.

Speaker: We needed a program that could play media files under Linux and were so unsatisfied with the existing choices that we started making a better alternative - said Gabucino, the spokesperson for the MPlayer programmers.

Speaker: MPlayer has reached a wide recognition in the Open Source community. Gabucino emphasizes the program's stability and ability to play many different movie formats as some of the obvious advantages.

Speaker: The trouble with Kiss technology started recently when one of the MPlayer developers was shopping for a new DVD player and went for a product by the Danish company. For fun the programmer started looking at the software in the Danish DVD player, the so called firmware, and compared it with MPlayer's own code. There were enough similarities to take a closer look at the case and make the MPlayer team angry - Gabucino said.

Speaker: The specific part of the code in which the similarities are found is the one controlling the subtitles when playing movies. The reality is that the code doesn't contain anything really brilliant. On the contrary, it's very simple. So Gabucino is puzzled why anyone would even bother using the code instead of writing it themselves. He suggests that it could be laziness on the programmer's side.

Speaker: I think it's actually a very normal thing that programmers borrow Open Source code because they are too lazy to write it themselves. There have been some cases prior to this which have caused quite a lot of trouble. I think there are hundreds of examples like this that we just don't hear about - Gabucino said.

Speaker: The MPlayer team has published the accusation of the code theft on their website and has tried to document it by listing the strings in the code which are identical in the two pieces of software. According to Gabucino, there are so many similarities that it's unthinkable that this might be a coincidence.

Speaker: Normally this type of code is different depending on who implemented it, so, when there are so many identical strings, it's obvious that we're dealing with theft, the Hungarians believe.

Speaker: GPL or General Public License which MPlayer is licensed under is a very widely used Open Source license, which gives the users certain rights and certain duties. Long story short, it is okay to take the code from MPlayer and develop it further, as long as the result is given back to the community. In this specific example Gabucino and the other Hungarians therefore demand that Kiss Technology should release the software used in its DVD players. And makes it clear that it is not a matter of getting some money from the Danish company, but a matter of fulfilling the requirements of the GPL and releasing the software.

Speaker: Kiss Technology at first didn't react to the Hungarians' inquiry, but after the story began to get large publicity in the different net-medias and forums the company began to investigate the case this week. There are two main questions: whether code from MPlayer really is inside the Kiss software and how the licenses of Open Source software should be interpreted and applied. Apart from being accused of taking code from MPlayer, Kiss Technology has also been accused of using other Open Source software, but managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen denies all accusations with small requisitions. The DVD player from Kiss uses a modified version of Linux as its operating system and that part of the software has been released in accordance with the licenses. But Kiss proclaims that the programs used in the machines on top of the operating system, which enables them to play video and music files are the company's own and therefore are not required to be released, the managing director Peter Christensen explains.

Peter: I would say that the is no truth to the accusations. In large there has been some interest regarding our applications recently and around GPL, which is the software used in the Open Source community which requires you to publish the source code if you use it. And there has been some interest in some of the programs used on our DVD players. Something called libmad and libjpg and than this Hungarian company MPlayer. On our DVD players we run Linux which is licensed under the GPL, we have on our webpage published the operating system so that people can download the improved version of Linux that we use. The application layer on top of Linux is proprietary and is not based on any GPL code. We doesn't use MPlayer, we use our own player, a player like we know from Real Player, Microsoft Media Player is the application used to display movies. It is a fundamental thing for our player, because it's what we are known for, being able to play a wide range of different formats.

Speaker: The documentation the Hungarians has presented on their website is parts from your code. By simply comparing the strings line for line and concludes that they are so identical that this can be no coincidence. What is your comment on this?

Peter: We are currently investigating exactly that specific part, how that can be and if it's really true what they say. Currently we have not investigated it enough to be sure whether or not they are right or wrong in their accusations. What is important is that we do not use their application (Of course, only the subtitle reader! - Gabucino). Should there be cases where the code is very much alike, we have to look at how that could have happened. But we doubt that there is any truth to the accusations. There are a lot of things that could have happened, one could imagine that code from our community has spread to other communities included the Open Source and code originating from our player could accordingly be a part of MPlayer, if in fact there are any similarities. It can be hard to tell how those similarities have supposedly appeared. What is important is that we do not use their application. If there are a few identical lines then one might ask themselves how that has happened. But it could have just as well come from one side as from the other. In any case, we are under no circumstances of the opinion that we have borrowed code.

Speaker: Whoever made the code for subtitles in the Hungarian software and in the Danish DVD players can be thought of as a minor issue in today's world. But what is important is the matter of principles in this specific issue and what private companies can allow themselves when they use Open Source and on the other hand what the Open Source community can expect from the companies. Because of the current case, managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen has had a closer look at the GPL license and evaluated its legal status.

Peter: We have confirmed what we already knew, that when using code licensed under the GPL then we have to publish any derivative work. This means that the legal foundation is very thin and there is no place in the world that I know of where the GPL has been tested in court. So from a business perspective I would say that the license is relatively weak. This doesn't change the fundamental spirit in the Open Source community which I think - all in all - is positive. But it is clear that as a commercial company living off selling its product, can not and will not release its proprietary code. It is naturally so that one should not use GPL code in proprietary systems.

Speaker:According to Gabucino, the Hungarian software developers of MPlayer are glad that their accusation against the Danish company has reached the media.

Speaker: As he said, there are no big economical options for dragging the case to court. Instead they hope that the Open Source community will put so much pressure on Kiss Techonology that they will be forced to release all its software.

Speaker: But that completely out of the question, said the managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen, even though he is very keen on staying good friends with the Open Source community.

Peter: We don't have any intentions of working against or in another way make enemies with the people in this community. We try to tell what we use and what guidelines we follow. Have we made any error, such as making incorrect descriptions in our manuals then we will of course fix those things. It is not so that we in any way want confrontation, but we have to make a clear statement that our software will not be released as Open Source.

Speaker: What is your conclusion of this case, what will it be after this?

Peter: The conclusion will be that the licenses in this area are a good description of how one ought to operate within this community. They're more of a tool to describe how to operate than a set of rules that can be used in court. And I think that the Open Source circles uses far too much energy on hunting down private companies like us for instance, because it's so obvious that one as a private company simply can't release your source code. We appreciate the Linux community very much and see it as a good thing for the industry. Generally that there is an alternative to the Microsoft community. But we think that the community should respect the companies who use Linux and not hunt them because I don't think that's beneficial for anyone.

END OF TRANSLATION

Gabucino's comments: I find it quite disgusting to read so much plain lies. It's obvious how companies like Kiss or SCO treat open source. Let's read these particular sentences again:

Peter: ...There are a lot of things that could have happened, one could imagine that code from our community has spread to other communities included the Open Source and code originating from our player could accordingly be a part of MPlayer, if in fact there are any similarities. It can be hard to tell how those similarities have supposedly started. What is important is that we do not use their application. If there are a few identical lines then one might ask themselves how that has happened.

It's quite clear that they've never read our News section, because we hurried to state they've even stolen our own subtitle file format MPsub (see our specifications).

Its idea was mine, then I asked laaz if he would be so kind as to implement it in MPlayer. Then in 2001 October 12 at 13:51:58 he commited the support, as it can be seen here. The format was never seen in the wild.

Several things can be concluded:

1. Mr. Christensen never took the time to read our announcements.
2. Mr. Christensen suggest they've implemented our subtitle format way before we did it ourselves. The Kiss firmwares are all made in 2003, which is - as far as I know - a way later year than 2001.
3. Mr. Christensen doesn't have the slightest clue about what software his company is using.
4. Kiss Technology has strange interpretation problems with some sentences, like "...We don't have any intentions of working against, or in another way make enemies with the people in this (Open Source) community."

Actually we can picture a quite nice representation of their viewpoint, especially after seeing their unwillingness to start a conversation with us in E-Mail. Kiss Technology's views are:

1. "...making our source open to public is out of question"
2. Pressing Microsoft (or Bush)-style PR, like repeating their own lies, emphasized again and again: "What is important is that we do not use their application."
3. Spreading FUD: "It can be hard to tell how those similarities have supposedly started." Ever heard of version control systems?
4. Holding good communiqe with the Open Source community: "If there are a few identical lines then one might ask themselves how that has happened. But it could have just as well come from one side as from the other..." The pitful aspect of this is that it implies a totally ignorant viewpoint, like 'our sources are ours, it's completely obfuscated, but yes, our claims are the truth, yours are plain lies'

How come companies like Kiss cant'be punished by Law?

SUE THEM!!! (1)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957231)

There are way too much violations to the GPL already. Stallman and Cia. should have a fund for sueing such idiots so that no other lamer shall think the GPL is "weak".

Re:SUE THEM!!! (1)

samjam (256347) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957324)

FSF will take up the case but only if copyright has been assigned to FSF.

Sam

Cebit 2003 (5, Interesting)

-unta (712537) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957234)

I met this guy at Cebit last year - and he certainly seemed VERY pleased with himself. He was going on about how the player used "2 million lines of code". I wonder how many of those 2 million came from the MPlayer CVS server? ]-[

The True Meaning of KISS... (5, Funny)

deminisma (703135) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957245)

Keep It Stolen, Stupid.

Breaking news... (5, Funny)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957248)

SCO is apparently suing KISS for stealing their business model...

Don't pass judgement yet. (-1)

James A. C. Joyce (733782) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957249)

It's too early to tell who's right yet, and I've had to resist my automatic temptation to "side with the little guy". However, at the moment, it's just been mudflinging with no proof from either side.

Re:Don't pass judgement yet. (2, Insightful)

jdhutchins (559010) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957404)

Mudflinging with no proof from both sides? The MPlayer guys have provided some evidence, as well as how they got the evidence and how you can find it yourself. The evidence seems pretty compelling. Not to doubt the MPlayer guys, but it's always a wise idea to hear your opponents arguments. If you don't hear your opponents arguments, you may overlook a large hole in yours.

However, there haven't been any arguments from KISS other than "We didnt' do it, we swear, and by the way, if we did it anyways, GPL sucks"

And if GPL is so weak, why do they distribute the rest of the sources used in their stuff?

Around and round we go! (4, Insightful)

Ghoser777 (113623) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957256)

Wow, either that's a bad translation, or Peter talked himself in circles like 8 times. I guess he wanted to make it clear that they don't use MPlayer directly... as if that really mattered. Instead of answering a question with an answer, he kept saying they were looking into it and investigating. Now that's okay for a one or two line answer, but he kept saying it over and over and over again. It really sounded like he had no idea what to say but decided to say it over and over again.

Over all, a fun read!

Matt Fahrenbacher

Re:Around and round we go! (2, Funny)

Chainsaw Messiah (223587) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957361)

" It really sounded like he had no idea what to say but decided to say it over and over again."

Well, when his company goes under, he'll have a bright future in politics.

Damm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957274)

Well I come from Denmark, and this interview makes me angry - what he basicly says is that it is okay not to folllow the GPL because KISS is a company and they need to make money (when asked if the company will put the code online if it contains part of mplayer, he says that it is a natural thing, that a company can not show its code).

I can understand that a company that have coded an aplication that runs on top on a modified linux, will only show the modified linux code, but in the case of KISS this aplication that runs on top of linux, is made of mplayer code - and should be made public.

Just sue them (0)

obsid1an (665888) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957284)

$3 billion sounds like a good number.

Re:Just sue them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957358)

Forget damages--better stuff can come out of this than money.

Just force them to comply with the license of the code they're using (GPL). This means they have a choice of either not distributing their derivative work at all, or distributing the source code to their customers.

If they choose the former, they go out of business. Good. If they choose the latter, the world discovers yet again that you can make money from GPL-licensed software. And so KISS learns TWO lessons!

maybe... (1)

morganjharvey (638479) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957286)

Perhaps all that is needed is a little kiss and tell?

Sorry, I'm a bad person. :)

GPL Defense Fund? (4, Insightful)

_bug_ (112702) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957291)

Is there any such thing as a GPL defense fund? A lot of open source software is being developed by people who probably don't have the extra money to pay the legal fees needed to pursue action against GPL violators. Hence the GPL remains untested in court (although IBM may help fix that soon).

It'd be nice if any leftovers from the US$10 million that IBM and Intel are putting up would be dumped over into a general GPL defense fund.

Re:GPL Defense Fund? (1)

jg_elliott (731553) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957391)

Aren't the FSF around to help out stuff like this? Don't they give legal aid to open source developers? Wouldn't they be interested in defending the GPL in a case which seems so cut and dry? Wouldn't that help in the GPL and the whole community in the long run?

what he's really saying (5, Interesting)

jtilak (596402) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957294)

By saying "if parts of the code are similar maybe MPlayer stole our code" he is basically admitting that someone stole from someone.

then he says...
The GPL is a weak license and hasn't been tested in court. What is the point of making this comment if he feels that MPlayer stole from them? What he is really saying is "What are you going to do about it?"

Article in danish (1)

Zakarun (536039) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957296)

Here's [www.dr.dk] a direct link to the article in danish

I don't know if... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7957301)

...it was already mentioned in the previous article, but the KISS player can even play older divx format (the 3.xx one), which are based on illegaly tweaked MS drivers.

I don't know if these divx can be played with legal drivers, but if it's not possible, and KISS accept to provide the source of the player, they ould also accept to provide the evidence that they are using illegal MS drivers in their product, wouldn't they ? In that case, doesn't it cast some light on their possible motivations ?

Mplayer subtitles.. (1)

Chris_Jefferson (581445) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957314)

So wait.. let me get this stright. If Mplayer stole this stuff from KISS, why did KISS invent a new subtitle format which they never told anyone about, which the mplayer people just happened to decide to launch? This has crap written all over it

Good Luck (1, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957315)

MPlayer is the last open source project that needs to be giving lectures on breaking licences. The only thing that makes their project usefull are the dll's which they redistribute, the legality of which is iffy at best.

While thier claim of GPL violation may be completely legitimate, the first rule when breaking the law is you don't go calling the authorities if you get screwed.

SCO Defense vs. Chewbacca Defense vs. OJ Glove (1, Funny)

CoreDump (1715) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957316)

I guess the next poll, should be "Lamest Legal Defense".

I think I'll vote for the "Cowboy Neal made me do it!" option.

Re:SCO Defense vs. Chewbacca Defense vs. OJ Glove (1)

powerbarr (466387) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957346)

I can't believe you forgot the Twinkie Defense!

This won't be the last time (4, Interesting)

Earlybird (56426) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957320)

He denies all claims of wrongdoing and suggests that if the pieces of code are the same, perhaps they were leaked from Kiss Technology and were then used by the Mplayer group.

This is an interesting problem that will require a solution. Can the Mplayer people prove that their code existed before it existed in Kiss' source tree? Certainly the contents of version control systems could be compared, and release repositories such as SourceForge could be used as evidence, but a more formal system is probably needed.

I imagine a system similar to copyright registration and escrow services, where a neutral third party would receive code checkins/snapshots that would be time-stamped, "sealed" as evidence (and compared against SCO sources, natch). Then the owner would stand on more solid ground, and even unpaid open-source developers would have a chance to protect their work. Of course, such a service would have to be highly affordable, perhaps even free, SourceForge-style; in fact, this is something SourceForge ought to support and promote.

Not To Play Devil's Advocate (2, Interesting)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957338)

but I'm curious as to why the mplayer folks were using "strings" on the KISS module(s).

Granted, if what they say is true, it *does* look like something's not right there.

But why they were even looking to see how KISS's stuff worked is a bit curious.

Re:Not To Play Devil's Advocate (5, Insightful)

bruns (75399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957411)

But why they were even looking to see how KISS's stuff worked is a bit curious.

Because, when you develop open source software, and suddenly some closed source company suddenly 'develops' software for their set top boxes that has very similar features to your open source software, you should check using simple tools (like strings) to see if anything matches. Its not hard to look for certain strings, and you certainly not violating any laws by doing it.

You aren't reverse engineering the software.

Open Source developers have every right to protect their projects.

What, you don't think Microsoft, and every other closed source software developer does this to products which are very similar to theirs?

How else are you supposed to discover when someone steals your work?

The Newest Defense (5, Funny)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957347)

What may happen in the future....

GPL Group: Excuse me.


Evil Proprietary Company (EPC): Yes?

GPL Group: That's our code.

EPC: No, it's not.

GPL Group: Yes, it is. Look - you didn't even remove our "GPL License" warnings inside.

EPC: Oh, that. No, it looks like you stole our code.

GPL Group; What? Why would you put those warnings -

EPC: So we could prove when people steal our code! Now, leave us alone, you thieves!

GPL Group: Wait a second -

Scooby-Doo: Shaggy, look!

Fred: Why, it's Darl McBride! He's been making other perfectly honest proprietary companies look bad by giving code thieves an argument they can make to the press!

Darl McBride: And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids! By the way, I invented that talking dog, and his royalties are mine! Mine, I tell you!

Velma: We knew the truth when we asked you to show us your code history through the CVS archives which clearly showed when the Open Source code was developed.

(Everyone else looks at her.)

Velma: What? Didn't I look hot in the movie?


Hopefully we can stop this evil before it spreads too far. No, not Velma looking really good in the next "Scooby Doo" movie, but companies stealing GPL code, then arguing "Well, *you* must have stolen it from us", even though they can't prove it.

GPL weak... No way.. (1)

fuzzbot77 (611247) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957364)

Put simply

You will see how strong GPL is with the SCO - IBM battle.

Need I say more ?

Copyrights on compiled databases (4, Interesting)

Trinition (114758) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957366)

Mind you that I'm referring to U.S. law which may or may not impact the MPlayer/KISS problem, but didn't a high court recently decide [techlawjournal.com] that it is not copyright infringement to copy data from a database built from a compilation of data? That is, you can't just organize a bunch of readily available data and copyright it and prevent anyone else form using the same data.

The reason I ask is that the original Slashdot article [slashdot.org] stated that a big clue was "the KISS ROM includes the same list, in order, of subtitle formats as MPlayer (including their own format mpsub)". That sounds like it could be construed as a compiled set of data, akin to the case I cited above.

I'm certainly not supporting KISS

The sad state of affairs. (1)

deadhammer (576762) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957369)

Thanks to SCO, it looks like we have a new trend developping. Any time you want to rip off GPLed code, and you get busted, simply deny deny deny, and then turn around and level the charge that YOUR code was put into THEIR project! What better way to get code for free and get away scot free?

Ah, yes, that makes perfect sense. (5, Funny)

Temporal (96070) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957381)

That's right... By some freak coincidence, KISS had developed a custom subtitle format and gave it the name "MPSub". You might think that the "MP" in that name stood for MPlayer -- you know, as if MPlayer had invented it -- but you would be wrong.

uhh...

Liars and thieves don't like to be called on it... (4, Insightful)

Spoing (152917) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957383)

A little more behind the scenes negotiations before making this an even bigger issue might have been prudent.

Yes, Kiss stole from Mplayer. Calling them on it early and harshly, though, might have been the wrong tactic as it forces Kiss to defend an unethical position or to admit they are thieves.

Now, it's an issue of ego and anger where it could have been a largely uninvolved and low key licence dispute.

Case in point: Anyone remember Marion Barry, former Washington DC mayor? He was caught buying crack cocaine -- and ended up a hero to many people because he fought back from an ethically undefendable position where he had already lost everything. Barry is still involved in DC politics.

Kiss currently can cause Mplayer and other projects trouble, and since Kiss also -- potentially -- has nothing additional to loose there is little reason for them not to be defiant and to basically say "No, you're wrong" to Mplayer.

The only thing that will change this is if the dammage of caving in is less than the dammage of fighting this.

Any ideas?

this smacks of, (0, Redundant)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957421)

SCO! Is KISS taking lessons from Daryl??

Stop the FUD (1)

worldcitizen (130185) | more than 10 years ago | (#7957427)

>The GPL is a weak license which has never been tested in court

== F U D

Copyright infringement on programs otherwise GPL licensed has been tested in court (and, as expected, it is still copyright infringement).
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