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[whatwg] Codecs (was Re: Apple Proposal for Timed Media Elements)

From: Christian F.K. Schaller <christian@fluendo.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 13:18:37 +0100
Message-ID: <1174652317.2780.77.camel@localhost.localdomain>
Hi Gareth,
Well my company deals with these issues every day as our main line of
business is codecs and multimedia. Patents only apply to the country 
of issue so the UK company could only be sued under US law in your
example. If the UK company have no US presence it would be likely that
the patent holder would go after either the US distributor is such exist
or in extreme cases the US customers of the UK company. 

And I don't want to turn this into a legal discussion list either, but I
think that a it can't be a non-issue either, which is why w3c for
instance do have a patent policy in place. 

So while almost no software can be sure to not violate any patent
anywhere, the response should not be to embrace royalty bearing patented
technologies wholeheartedly for something wanting to be a truly open
standard, but at least attempt to go with the technologies and choices
which have at least attempted to be royalty free. So maybe someone come
with new Theora or Dirac patent claims if they get choosen, but at least
in that case this group made an honest effort to try to avoid the
situation and move towards a more inclusive web, instead of throwing the
open source community and the end users to the wolfs by either endorsing
technologies with established patents and royalty fees or by trying to
duck the issue by just standardizing the HTML packaging. 

I mean what have we truly achieved if the new VIDEO element means that
web page developers still have to support Windows Media for Windows
clients, MPEG4 for Apple systems and Ogg for Linux/Unix systems? I think
in that case most web developers would be more than happy to just stick
to using flash video, at least they can get away with encoding once and
have a decent chance of all platforms supporting it.

Christian

On Fri, 2007-03-23 at 11:59 +0000, Gareth Hay wrote:
> Hi Christian,
> 
> My main concern is simply to avoid the issue altogether.
> I do agree that patents exist and have been granted, but I just can't  
> see how they are ever going to be enforced at all.
> For example, a patent issued in the US is infringed by a UK company,  
> where the patent would not be held up by current UK law, (or worse  
> *may* be valid in the UK but not under EU law), where is the case  
> heard? Who's law applies?
> 
> I know this is a trivial example, but I would just prefer to not have  
> to feed a lawyer's pockets over this issue.
> 
> Gareth
> 
> On 23 Mar 2007, at 11:49, Christian F.K. Schaller wrote:
> 
> > Hi Gareth,
> > This is a strange way of looking at the issue. Once a patent is  
> > granted
> > it is by definition valid and enforceable. It is the people  
> > opposing it
> > who have to prove their non-legality at that point and not the  
> > other way
> > around. So sure a lot of software patents might be challenged around
> > Europe, but the main burden of proving they are non-valid falls on the
> > people opposing the patent and not the patent holder. So until someone
> > have successfully challenged all the patents involved and gotten them
> > found invalid they are by definition valid. A granted patent is valid
> > until a court of law finds it invalid, not invalid until a court of  
> > law
> > finds it valid.
> >
> > Be aware that I do not support the idea of software patents, not in  
> > the
> > slightest, but one have to accept that in many places around the world
> > they are 'the law of the land'. One should work to change the law, not
> > pretend it doesn't exist.
> >
> > Christian
> >
> > On Fri, 2007-03-23 at 10:30 +0000, Gareth Hay wrote:
> >> As i said in a previous post, this is a very grey area.[1][2]
> >>
> >> So much so that many of the granted patents are being opposed, and
> >> until the outcome of these oppositions, neither one of us can comment
> >> on the true legality of them.
> >>
> >> I would suggest backing away from any such areas where software
> >> patentability becomes an issue. Case law hasn't sufficiently
> >> established the legality in my country, europe and many, many
> >> territories.
> >>
> >> [1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_patents#In_Europe
> >> [2]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
> >> Software_patents_under_the_European_Patent_Convention#Inventive_step_ 
> >> tes
> >> t
> >>
> >> On 23 Mar 2007, at 10:02, Christian F.K. Schaller wrote:
> >>
> >>> It is an Urban Legend that there are no software patents in the EU.
> >>> True
> >>> enough there is no 'EU' software patents, but a lot of member
> >>> states do
> >>> have them. I suggest going the MPEG LA's webpage and looking at the
> >>> patent lists they have there for MPEG4. You will notice that a  
> >>> lot of
> >>> the patents are from EU countries.
> >>>
> >>> Christian
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> On Fri, 2007-03-23 at 08:35 +0000, Gareth Hay wrote:
> >>>> Not in the EU, no such thing as a software patent.
> >>>>
> >>>> On 23 Mar 2007, at 04:55, Ian Hickson wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>>> On Fri, 23 Mar 2007, Robert Sayre wrote:
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> MPEG-4 is proprietary, because it is covered by patents.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> I hate to be the one to break this to you, but CSS is covered by
> >>>>> patents,
> >>>>> HTML is covered by patents, the DOM is covered by patents,
> >>>>> JavaScript is
> >>>>> covered by patents, and so forth. Proprietary technologies are
> >>>>> those that
> >>>>> are under the control of a single vendor. MPEG-4 is not  
> >>>>> proprietary.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> It's not available under royalty free licensing. But it is not
> >>>>> under the
> >>>>> control of a single vendor. That is the important difference, not
> >>>>> whether
> >>>>> the technology is patented or not.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> -- 
> >>>>> Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )
> >>>>> \._.,--....,'``.    fL
> >>>>> http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _
> >>>>> \  ;`._ ,.
> >>>>> Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--
> >>>>> (,_..'`-.;.'
> >>> -- 
> >>> Business Development Manager
> >>> Fluendo S.A.
> >>> Office Phone: +34 933175153
> >>> Mobile Phone: +34 678608328
> >>>
> > -- 
> > Business Development Manager
> > Fluendo S.A.
> > Office Phone: +34 933175153
> > Mobile Phone: +34 678608328
> >
-- 
Business Development Manager
Fluendo S.A.
Office Phone: +34 933175153
Mobile Phone: +34 678608328
Received on Friday, 23 March 2007 05:18:37 UTC

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