Point is, if it was included "with" the IWAD, nobody would use it. Can you honestly say that you or anyone else would go to the bother of adding "-bex freedoom.bex" every single time you launch the game? Essentially it defeats the entire purpose of having the patch, which is that out of the box, the Freedoom messages are displayed, and not the Doom ones.
All I'm saying is that embedding the DeHacked patch in the IWAD itself causes problems with mods that use DeHacked. I don't want the DeHacked patch to be tossed out, not at all, I just think it's a much better idea to include it with, and not in the IWAD.
You're correct that it breaks some mods. That's actually down to bugs in source ports rather than Freedoom. For example, some source ports load dehacked patches in the wrong order, so that the IWAD DEHACKED lump is applied after patches specified on the command line, or in PWADs. Loading of patches needs to be carefully ordered in order to make sense: I described the required ordering back when we added the patch.
As a workaround, you could use a WAD editing tool to remove the lump from your copy of the IWAD. I know that's a pretty shitty workaround but it's a solution at least. Other than that, file a bug / complain to the authors of your preferred source port, to try to get them to fix their dehacked behavior.
Strings are completely engine-side, and therefore no concern to Freedoom's legality, since it's only an IWAD that it's contents normally make no reference to the original strings.
I absolutely disagree in the strongest possible terms, and your assessment fails to recognise the reality of the situation.
You're correct in that if this went to a court case, and a judge was looking at the evidence, you could perhaps make that argument and it might hold. But the entire point is that that's never going to happen. Freedoom is a tiny online collaboration: it doesn't have lawyers, or the ability to even pay for them. Realistically, if it receives a legal threat, like a cease-and-desist, that's the end of the project. That's a real thing that has already happened for a bunch of id-related collaborative projects. Our aim should therefore be to do everything possible to ensure that we never even reach that point.
The lawyers representing ZeniMax etc. aren't interested in subtle technical details about source port code containing strings and not IWADs. If anything they're more concerned with iPhone apps being sold on the Apple app store that say eg. "You got the BFG 9000" when you pick up a weapon, because that's trademark infringement. If they decide to go on a cull of those apps and discover Freedoom is the ultimate source of all of them, that puts us in their sights.
I know it's not really fair and technically speaking, you're correct that it shouldn't be our responsibility to have to do this. The reality is that it's a potential threat to the project and we have no other plausible way to defend against it.
We can take some small consolation in the fact that the brokenness is at least only cosmetic - it just affects the messages shown on the screen, and it doesn't affect the playability of these mods. I know it sucks but I honestly believe that the benefits of having this patch in there outweigh the downsides.