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[News] Theora Under FUD Attack from Apple, Microsoft, and MPEG-LA (Whose CEO is a Patent Troll)

  • Subject: [News] Theora Under FUD Attack from Apple, Microsoft, and MPEG-LA (Whose CEO is a Patent Troll)
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 05 May 2010 06:52:04 +0100
  • Followup-to: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • User-agent: KNode/4.4.2
Hash: SHA1

Growth Market in Theora FUD

,----[ Quote ]
| A blogger named Hugo Roy posted a piece 
| called An Open Letter to Steve Jobs in 
| which he picked on Steve a bit about the 
| openness of H.264. A few valid points were 
| made, but most interestingly, Hugo then 
| posted an email response he says came from 
| Steve himself, which included the following 
| inflammatory quote:
|     A patent pool is being assembled to go 
|     after Theora and other âopen sourceâ 
|     codecs now. Unfortunately, just because 
|     something is open source, it doesnât 
|     mean or guarantee that it doesnât 
|     infringe on others patents.
| If this is true, it is bad news for Theora 
| indeed. Can the Mozilla foundation afford 
| to hang a giant "Kick Me" sign on the next 
| version of Firefox? Can they afford to 
| litigate against even a single patent 
| lawsuit, much less this consortium Steve is 
| quoted as knowing of?


Microsoft defends its move to H.264


Canonical licenses H.264 â Theora out for the count? [Updated]

,----[ Quote ]
| Canonical are currently the only Linux 
| company to license H.264/AVC, the patented 
| non-free technology used to compress video 
| and favoured by companies such as Apple & 
| Microsoft for HTML5 Video.
| Neither RedHat, makers of Fedora, or 
| Novell, makers of Suse, appear on the list 
| of over 800 licensee's.
| Whatâs interesting is that the rival, if 
| you will, to H.264 is the free and open 
| codec Ogg Theroa which one would naturally 
| assume would be the favoured choice for a 
| Linux distributionâs parent to support.


Why Is MPEG-LA Getting Into The Patent Trolling Game?

,----[ Quote ]
| Joe Mullin has a great blog post, looking 
| in detail at MobileMedia, a recently 
| launched "company" that fits all the 
| traditional characteristics of a "patent 
| troll" or "non-practicing entity" (if you'd 
| prefer). It doesn't appear to do anything 
| but hold patents, demand licensing fees and 
| sue. So what's so interesting about this 
| one? Well, it's a subsidiary of MPEG-LA, 
| the company that manages some important 
| digital video standards, and manages the 
| patent pools related to them -- and both 
| companies have the same CEO.
| [...]
| What I find interesting, of course, is that 
| many patent system folks have said that 
| patent pools are the "answer" to issues 
| like non-practicing entities filing crazy 
| lawsuits. And yet, here we have an example 
| of one of the major patent pooling 
| administrators apparently deciding it's 
| more lucrative to get into the other side 
| of the business instead...
| In the meantime, while all this has been 
| going on, it's worth noting that Steve Jobs 
| -- one of the targets in this lawsuit -- 
| has apparently been telling people that 
| MPEG-LA is getting ready to sue open video 
| codecs, such as Theora, for patent 
| infringement. Of course, such threats have 
| been made before and never carried out -- 
| but if MPEG-LA now thinks that suing for 
| patent infringement (rather than just 
| alerting the patent holders to possible 
| infringement) is the way to go these days, 
| perhaps the lawsuits above were an opening 
| salvo. 


Why Our Civilization's Video Art and Culture is Threatened by the MPEG-LA 

,----[ Quote ]
| We've all heard how the h.264 is rolled 
| over on patents and royalties. Even with 
| these facts, I kept supporting the best-
| performing "delivery" codec in the market, 
| which is h.264. "Let the best win", I kept 
| thinking. But it wasn't until very recently 
| when I was made aware that the problem is 
| way deeper. No, my friends. It's not just a 
| matter of just "picking Theora" to export a 
| video to Youtube and be clear of any 
| litigation. MPEG-LA's trick runs way 
| deeper! The [street-smart] people at MPEG-
| LA have made sure that from the moment we 
| use a camera or camcorder to shoot an mpeg2 
| (e.g. HDV cams) or h.264 video (e.g. 
| digicams, HD dSLRs, AVCHD cams), we owe 
| them royalties, even if the final video 
| distributed was not encoded using their 
| codecs! Let me show you how deep the rabbit 
| hole goes.


MPEG Issues Resolution on Type-1 (Royalty-Free) Standardization


It's Apple and Microsoft versus Google and Mozilla in a tag team match for the video codec in HTML5

,----[ Quote ]
| As I wrote about earlier, there has been a 
| horse race going on about which video 
| codecs will be supported by HTML5. With the 
| stakes so high, the race is starting to get 
| a bit rougher. Now it is turning into a tag 
| team match, with Apple and Microsoft on one 
| side and Google and Mozilla on the other.
| This past weekend both Apple (of the open 
| standards according to Steve Jobs) and 
| Microsoft (never afraid to assert an 
| alleged patent claim) have supposedly put 
| down the hammer that Ogg Theora (supported 
| by Mozilla) and other open source video 
| codecs may violate patents.
| [...]
| This sets up an interesting tag team match. 
| On one side, the defenders of "open 
| standards that we like" Apple and 
| Microsoft. In the other corner, the open 
| source champions Google and Mozilla. Hey 
| maybe Adobe can be the guest referee?  The 
| winner of this match will determine what 
| technology will underlie the video you 
| watch on the web or your TV in the future.


Will Apple put its lawyers behind the open codec patent attack?

,----[ Quote ]
| All this makes the pending decision in 
| Bilski vs. Kappos, still unknown at this 
| writing, so important. A decision that 
| encourages Apple to proceed, especially 
| against Google, may make for the biggest 
| lawsuit of all time.

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