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

David Newall david at davidnewall.com
Wed Dec 19 11:56:42 UTC 2007

Paul Wayper wrote:
> David Newall wrote:
>> To hell we will!  It would be contemptible, not to mention backwards,
>> to think that someone could claim to impose conditions upon patent
>> owners.
> Why?  There are already many conditions imposed on patent owners.

Those conditions were not imposed by 'someone', but by every one of us, 
through the authority of the government.

> And why is it contemptible and backward to expect that those given a
> lease on applying an idea to be restricted in how they apply that idea?

We're not talking about a lease, nor an idea.  It's a patent, which is 
an official grant of monopoly power over an invention.

It's contemptible because it puts you above the law, which was enacted 
by the government to the benefit of society at large.  Patents are 
enormously expensive to obtain, and that's after expending what normally 
is an enormous amount of time and money on the invention.  How generous 
you want to be with other people's money and property.

It's contemptible because the patent owner doesn't even get notice.  
Sure, "the standards group says," but does anyone actually tell the 
patent owner?  No.

Analogously:  I plan to knock down all of the properties around and 
including your house, so that I can build myself a wonderful mansion.  
Unless you come forward now, I'm not going to permit you to stop me.  
I'm not actually going to tell you my plan; I'm just going to publish it 
in a newspaper which you won't necessarily read.  And once I deem enough 
time has passed, I'll tear down your house and you won't be able to get 
a cent out of me.

If you don't find that contemptible, I suggest you start reading the 
"Greenland Igloo" or buy another house.

> Why should anyone have the right to patent something only to sit on it
> for fifteen years and prevent anyone using it?

I don't know why they should; I understand it's something to do with the 
good of society; but I do know why they do have that right.  It's called 
the law.  There's a dark, dank, stinking gaol cell waiting for anyone 
willfully violates it.

> And who is this 'we' in your statement, anyway?

That would be the notional standard group you brought up when you said, 
"we're going to use Vorbis and Theora, if you have any patent claim on 
these patents (sic) you must say so now, otherwise we're going to use it 
and you won't be able to get a cent out of us."

> Sorry for getting sidelined, but if you're going to make bold statements
> like that you need to back them up with argument.

I made no bold statement.  Twas you being bold when you sought to 
dictate to patent holders.  That's simply not your place.

Rather than rip the foundation out of the patent system, which clearly 
has been abused far too often, fix it.  The way to achieve the aims you 
have is to change the law, not to ignore it.

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