Posted by: Anonymous Coward
on March 10, 2007 04:59 AM
Depends on the terms and the codec, for instance DVD playback and mp3 playing are DCMA and Patent issues not copyright issues since libdvdcss and lame are both gpl packages.
The Microsoft stuff is completely off though, the licence for those dlls explicitly forbid the use their being put to in Mint and even Ubuntu using autmatix and this applies to almost every country in the world.
The nvidia driver is a notable exception because while it's proprietory it allows redistribution so it would be allowed to be included.
The Wifi drivers are out though, those binary blobs are copyrighted; and the best bet is having automated programs for downloading them or getting them off cds.
Summery: It's complex, I'd never have wmv codecs includes by default but I see no reason why dvd and mp3 can't be since libdvdcss was created in the EU before the European version of the DMCA (EUCD) came into effect; besides the DCMA and EUCD explicitly allow the software under the compatibility terms so I don't recon it's even illegal in the usa.