[Linux-aus] Fwd: Ogg Vorbis and Theora removed from HTML5

Mike Lampard mike at mtgambier.net
Sun Dec 16 22:56:18 UTC 2007

On Monday 17 December 2007 08:21:48 Jon 'maddog' Hall wrote:
> > Which begs the question: Can any open source compatible codec meet the
> > 'no additional patent risk' requirements without having that
> > opensource code infringe on known patents?  Obviously it cannot.
> For all practical purposes, correct.
> > Are there any large opensource companies willing and able to pay
> > royalties to patentholders on behalf of myriads of opensource
> > projects/users?
> This is impractical.  First of all, as you pointed out, you can not
> identify all the potential patents.
> Secondly, different patents are licensed different ways.  Some allow
> paid-up licenses (i.e. any number of copies for a fixed fee).  But most
> sell licenses on a per-unit cost.  This is the killer for Free Software.
> Think about all those CDs that people have which never get installed.
> All the downloads that happen over and over again for a particular
> system.  Or the fact that one CD downloaded can be installed 10,000
> times.  Do I pay a software patent royalty every time I download a
> particular distribution, or only the first time?  And what if the
> royalty is really infringed by OpenOffice?  Do I pay each time I install
> a different distribution, even if all of them include OpenOffice?
> Closed Source, commercial operating system vendors paying the codec
> royalties, then including the codecs in their distribution provided a
> "service" for their customers, albeit a "service" for which they in all
> probability helped to create the need.
> Bottom line, in the free software space it would not only be impossible
> for a company to measure how much royalty it could pay, but would be
> fiscally suicidal for any company to offer to pay it from its own
> coffers to the benefit of its competitors.

Agreed.  The question was hypothetical.

> > Can there really be a sustainable middle ground in this quagmire?
> There were no software patents before the 1980s.  The computer industry
> seemed to be pretty innovative in the period of 1943 to 1980.

And therein lies the rub.  This proverbial Pandora's Box has been open for 
some time, what can be done now to contain its' evil?  I suspect we're stuck 
with it, however that's possibly a discussion for another time/thread.

> > Is 42 really the meaning of life, the universe and everything?
> I do not know about that, but I am fairly sure that software patent
> litigation is no[t|w] the meaning of life.



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