Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (2063 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] MP3/swpatents
  • From: Pascal Bleser <pascal.bleser@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 01 Feb 2007 18:53:31 +0100
  • Message-id: <45C2291B.1000900@xxxxxxxxx>
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Juergen Weigert wrote:
> On Feb 01, 07 13:47:15 +0100, Pascal Bleser wrote:
>> I don't know for the US, but the EPO (European Patent Office) only
>> makes money from the patents that are filed and accepted, they don't
>> have any other source of revenue (and no, they're actually not an
>> official body of European Union). Hence, it's pretty obvious why they
>> accept anything without properly validating.
>
> I've been told exactly the same about the US Patent Office.
> I am under the impression that a patent is almost never rejected.

Indeed, heard the same.

> And I've heard a very absurd reason:
> An inventor could sue the patent office for not protecting his work ...
> (absurd, but plausible)

Eww... chicken/egg... or rather, chicken/egg/lawyer ^^

>> http://news.com.com/Kodak+wins+Java+patent+suit/2100-1014_3-5394765.html
>
> Right. That is about the worst that can happen.
> Some other troll squeezed money out of Sony for using JPEG.

True, but the Kodak-vs-Sun one is even worse IMO.
First of all, software development is totally not Kodak's business.
It's a patent they got from buying what were the remaining of Wang.
Second, it's so insanely fuzzy that almost any piece of software or
programming language can be sued.
Anything using the Observer pattern is obviously threatened.
And all the rest.

>> Note that I'm _not_ saying: don't use Vorbis/FLAC/Theora because they
>> probably violate patents.
>
> D'accord. Do *use* Vorbis/FLAC/Theora because they are not activly
> threatened. (Not yet. Ouch, I know ...)

Absolutely.
And especially, as opposed to MP3, anyone may implement an encoder or a
decoder for Ogg/Vorbis/FLAC/Theora.
There are no restrictions whatsoever (at least, AFAIK).

As a side note:
Ogg is the transport that encapsulates one of the following:
- - Vorbis for lossy audio
- - FLAC for lossless audio
- - Theora for video

>> I'm just saying that software patents are an absurd and dangerous
>> Damocles sword over the head of software development (both closed
>> source and open source).
>
> It is a strange life we live here. There may be threats hanging up there,
> but lawyers advise me, do not let these intimidate you.
> Otherwise, if we all stare at the threats, our business grinds to a halt.

Yeah. It's a sick situation.
75% of the software patents that have been filed at the EPO (European
Patent Office which, as said, is not an official body of the European
Union, it just wants to sound like it does) have been done so by
businesses from the USA and from Japan.

Software patents cannot be enforced in Europe (= you cannot go to court
because someone infringes one of your patents on software), but you're
allowed to file them at the EPO.
The very day the EU Commission acknowledges software patents (and let's
hope that day will never come), there's going to be a lot of lawsuits
coming down on European businesses.

The "funniest" thing is, there are European politicians (in the
Commission, in the Parliament and in national bodies) who are pushing
hard in favor of software patents, because it would "protect the
investments of European businesses against those from the USA and Japan".
Yeah, right. Want fries with the big cars and that bank account in
Switzerland/Luxembourg ?

We definitely have to support the FFII (Foundation for a Free
Information Infrastructure). The FFII is actively fighting against
software patents in Europe: http://swpat.ffii.org/

On a side note, Pieter Hintjens [1], the current president of the FFII,
will give a short status update on the situation of swpats in Europe [2]
at FOSDEM.

[1] http://fosdem.org/2007/schedule/speakers/pieter+hintjens
[2] http://fosdem.org/2007/schedule/events/status_swpats

>> And J├╝rgen, I know you know all that, it's more meant as a piece of
>> information for those how haven't had the joy (?) of taking a dive
>> into the topic of software patents ;)
>
> Sometimes I am not so sure about what I know :-)
> I simply spoke up, beaucse this thread appeared to come to the conclusion
> that both mp3 and ogg are equally encumbered.
> There is definitely less threat to ogg formats, than there is to mp3.

100% ACK.

Sorry, that's absolutely not what I meant ;)
Everyone should use Ogg/(Vorbis|FLAC|Theora) wherever possible.

cheers
- --
-o) Pascal Bleser http://linux01.gwdg.de/~pbleser/
/\\ <pascal.bleser@xxxxxxxxx> <guru@xxxxxxxxxxx>
_\_v The more things change, the more they stay insane.
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