x264 is also patent-encumbered; including support for that will make it illegal for users to use Haiku (or the library you are proposing) in countries which enforce such patents (such as the USA) unless the required patent licensing is obtained
Many Haiku users including me are not in USA. Why USA should make suffer other countries?
Because Haiku, Inc. is located in the USA and is the legal entity responsible for Haiku and HaikuPorts.
Various strategies in the past have been discussed to take advantage of EU laws here instead, but nobody has actually consulted a lawyer about it and tried to find some way to actually do it.
Separate repositories for non-USA can be used that are not directly affiliated with Haiku inc. LOTE for example.
Have there been instances of similar solutions working for other OS projects (including Linux, Solaris/illumos, and BSD distros)?
Otherwise, this may require further scrutiny by a professional legal expert before being considered.
VLC’s libdvdcss was for several years (and maybe still is) not bundled in most Linux distributions for the very same reason. In Ubuntu you had (still have?) to run a script to domwnload/install it separately from an Europe located server.
Here is what ffmpeg has to say about patents: FFmpeg License and Legal Considerations
So, if someone thinks we are stepping on their patents, they should tell us and explain which one exactly is a problem. Then we can see what we can do about it. But going with “oh no, there might, maybe, possibly, be someone who has a patent on this” is the best way to not dare to write any software ever.
libdvdcss has no problems with patents (these would be expired by now, DVD is older than 20 years and patents last more than 20 years). The problem with libdvdcss is US laws that do not allow anything that would workaround DRM protections. See https://www.howtogeek.com/138969/why-watching-dvds-on-linux-is-illegal-in-the-usa/ for some details. It’s interesting to note that the EU went with completely the opposite: they explicitly allow reverse engineering for interoperability purposes.
I think we should move Haiku outside of US legislation if it is so much of a problem. There is no reason to apply US laws to other parts of the world.
Hmm, not sure how moving Haiku outside of US legislation would work though - do we move Haiku Inc to be based in the EU? That would require a lot of legal and paper/administrative work though.
I don’t know. Maybe simply transfer the package repo official ownership/hosting to the Haiku Support Association which is based in the EU already. I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know how that would work.
All effected code and resultant binarys
There is another solution, although it may consume precious resources: to split Haiku Inc into Haiku Inc USA and Haiku Inc Europe.
Is there a similar solution wherein it’s the HSA that becomes Haiku Europe Inc./Haiku Inc. Europe? And if there is, would it be less burdensome?
The HSA is already our european entity. Nothing needs to change there. We would just need to transfer ownership of some things from Haiku inc to the HSA.
It has a bif of a different history (it actually existed before Haiku was even a thing, originally as a BeOS user group), and of course we should check if the people runnign the HSA would like to do it. Or if new members should join it and help them do things.
It would in fact cost very little to set up a corporation in an EU country. Ireland might be a good bet as it is very friendly towards corporations and its legal system, like that of the USA, is based on English Common Law.
And, of course, they speak English.
Having established a company, it would then be simply a matter of transferring ownership of the intellectual property from the Inc. to the new Irish company, and the job would be done. The Inc could remain in existence but purely as a support organisation and fund-raising body.
The HSA, as I understand it (my English version of the HSA constitution is a very poor translation) is a club rather than a company, and would probably not be the right vehicle for owning Haiku. In saying that, I do not mean to disparage the HSA or its members in any way.
A company? Wouldn’t it be better to set up a non-profit as was done with Haiku Inc?
The notion of “non-profit” and how it works in Europe varies by country - but I believe a lot of the EU states have something like a US style non-profit, but it is quite often a different name and doesn’t work exactly like in the US. There might be advantages exploring other options. “Inc” and “Incorporation” is also not a “thing” and would usually be replaces by a local nomenclature.
nobody “owns” haiku currently anyway, there is no intelectual property that would need transfering.
The question is only about who pays the cost to host the repos, since that entity is responsible for them, if this is a US entity they need to follow US laws, if it’s an EU entity EU laws and such.
From what I understand HSA is not a club, but a non-profit association (declared under German law). So it can fulfill the desired role provided all incomes go to Haiku related subjects (paying devs, organizing events etc…) as long as the goal is not to generate benefits.
The trademark or other similar assets wouldn’t need to be transferred in order to set up separate repositories in the EU for hosting the legally troubled material, which I understand to be the reason for potentially transferring anything in the first place. I honestly don’t see why any legal transfers need to occur at all; wouldn’t your suggestion (separate repositories like LOTE not in USA) be sufficient to get around these patent/legal issues?