Larry Horn translated for all non-lawyers!

May 23, 2010

“Yes, in view of the marketplace uncertainties regarding patent licensing needs for such technologies…”

= “In view of the FUD we spread…”

“…there have been expressions of interest from the market urging us to facilitate formation of licenses…”

= “…we’ve been repeatedly told that we are nothing but a patent troll Moloch (supported by Apple, MS and others)…”

“…that would address the market’s need for a convenient one-stop marketplace alternative to negotiating separate licenses with individual patent holders…”

= “…that is simply collecting protection money…”

“…in accessing essential patent rights for VP8 as well as other codecs, and we are looking into the prospects of doing so.”

= “…since we actually believe we own the moving image per se.”

Once more the translation:

“In view of the FUD we spread we’ve been repeatedly told that we are nothing but a patent troll Moloch (supported by Apple, MS and others) that is simply collecting protection money since we actually believe we own the moving image per se.”

Source Larry Horn interview: Digital Daily (digitaldaily.allthingsd.com)

Further reading and discussion: Patent Troll Larry Horn of MPEG-LA Assembling VP8 Patent Pool (www.osnews.com)


CC licensed documentary: “Patent Absurdity – how software patents broke the system” (2010, 29 min.)

May 21, 2010

Watch online or download

About the movie (patentabsurdity.com)

CC licence: by-nd/3.0

(if you need it: VLC)


Software patents have almost arrived in Germany

May 20, 2010

FOSS patents reports that the German high court declares all software potentially patentable (19.05.10, fosspatents.blogspot.com)

“After a landmark court ruling, the German perspective on the validity of software patents is now closer than ever to that of the US.”

When looking at the financial situation in Europe we should ask ourselves if we can afford these dangerous kind of situations. The H.264 licensing fiasco will probably go on for a while and might cost some (Apple…?) more than they would like to.

Update 1: Bundesgerichtshof ebnet Weg für Softwarepatente and BGH-Urteil zu Softwarepatenten stößt auf viel Kritik (www.heise.de)

Now what if political instability (due to the financial situation in Europe) is the next thing…? If my to be founded company will suffer in the future thanks to this (I live in Germany) I will remember that it were Microsoft’s FAT patents that brought us to this. Will those people ever learn? Will they ever be held responsible for their greed? This is the second time within a few weeks that Microsoft’s actions/patents are potentially threatening my future as an independent artist/filmmaker (first the H.264 licensing fiasco and now this).

Update 2: The discussion on Slashdot German High Court Declares All Software Patentable (yro.slashdot.org)

Entry for this particular patent, Xa ZB 20/08 (a Siemens patent), in the End Software Patents Wiki (en.swpat.org)

The part that worries me: (from the second http://www.heise.de article above)

“So gehen sie etwa bei der “Verbesserung des Kontrastes” eines Bilds oder bei der effizienteren Aufteilung von Arbeitsspeicher durch eine auf einem Computer laufende Software von einem “technischen Effekt” aus, der schutzwürdig sein könne.”

In short this basically says that enhancing the contrast of an image might be “a technical effect” that could be patentable…

Seems like an invitation to patent trolls, maybe from the video codec department…? At least we’ll have a very public discussion about why one would (not) want to use an H.264 camera…!

From a comment on http://www.heise.de (user B-E-N):

“Er hat, was es Computersoftware betrifft, ein
Urteil im Sinne von “Alles unter der Sonne ist patentierbar”
getroffen. Damit sind wir selbstständigen Softwareentwickler und
kleinen Firmen im Abmahnland Deutschland juristisch gesehen tot,
beziehungsweise alle mit einem Bein im Knast. Der gesamte Kampf um
die Softwarepatente in Europa ging gestern für das größte und
wirtschaftlich bedeutendste Land der Union verloren.”

The user basically says that now “anything under the sun” could be patented, de facto a legal disaster for all small shops/software developers.

On a personal level this is just extremely disappointing, and having followed patent troll cases on Slashdot for the last ten years or so I now also have to consider the options of:

* leaving the country

* going back to analogue film/video

or

* changing profession and

* becoming an atheist monk in the Himalayas

Well done ladies and gentlemen from all those institutions/companies/corporations in this world that hold patents on software, well done!

You made my day.


WebM (Google’s open video codec VP8) is here!

May 19, 2010

Maybe we now can make all of this about fair competition that serves the consumers/users/artists/filmmakers instead of a few wealthy companies/institutions…?

WebM an open media project (www.webmproject.org)

Introducing WebM, an open web media project (webmproject.blogspot.com)

“The WebM project is dedicated to developing a high-quality, open video format for the web that is freely available to everyone.”

(Update 1)

An introduction to the WebM project:

Google Frees VP8 Codec for HTML5: the WebM project (openvideoalliance.org)

The WebM Project : about : WebM Supporters (www.webmproject.org)

(Update 2)

The announcement/discussion on the web:

BREAKING: Google Opens VP8 Codec, Enables it on YouTube (www.osnews.com)

Microsoft: Internet Explorer 9 To Support VP8 (www.osnews.com)

Google, Mozilla, And Opera Take On H.264 With The WebM Project, A New Royalty-Free Video Codec (techcrunch.com)

Google tries freeing Web video with WebM (news.cnet.com)

Microsoft planning to support VP8 in Internet Explorer 9 – with a catch (www.neowin.net)

Google launches open WebM web video format based on VP8 (update: hardware partners and Microsoft statement) (www.engadget.com)

Theora Founder: WebM Project is ‘Wonderful’ (newteevee.com)

The first in-depth technical analysis of VP8 (x264dev.multimedia.cx) – [Wikitech-l] VP8 freed!(lists.wikimedia.org)

Software and Hardware Companies Jump on Google’s WebM Train (mashable.com)

Google launches open WebM web video format based on VP8 (update: hardware partners and Microsoft statement)


And the message is… (hint: Free Culture)

May 18, 2010

TorrentFreak reports that The [Swedish] Pirate Party Becomes The Pirate Bay’s New Host (that is after the Pirate Bay supposedly “sank” in recent days).

In the light of the recent aggressive attacks against filesharers this is an interesting turning point in this real life drama/story about (our) culture…

As I previously said it’s a bit silly to help your ideological/cultural “enemy” push the warez, but seen as political activism my sympathy is with the pirates:

Hollywood needs to understand the message behind all of this instead of trying to put that genie back into a bottle that never was right in the first place.

Hollywood, Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture book is a very good starting point to learn more about your fans/customer’s world and needs…!

Update 1: This is related, seems like a good time for a (new) discussion about copyright…! Why I Steal Movies… Even Ones I’m In – Peter Serafinowicz – Gizmodo (14.05.10)

Update 2: And this is the official announcement on the Pirate Bay blog (in lolcat):

PLZ LEARN: TPB CANT BE SHUT DOWN
LOL!
AS U MITE HAS READ OR NOTICD, PEEPS ONCE AGAIN R TRYIN 2 SHUT US DOWN. DIS WILL NOT SUCCED, LOL. OURS RLY NICE WEBHOST WUZ THREATEND WIF RLY HUGE FINE, SO WE DECIDD 2 MOOV TEH SIET SO DAT THEY DIDNT GOT INTO TROUBLE, LOL. TEH DECISHUN 2 MOOV WUZ TAKEN BY US, TEH PIRATE BAY, LOL.
TEH PIRATE BAY IZ AN UNSINKABLE SHIP. IT WILL SAIL TEH INTERWEBS 4 AS LONG AS WE WANTS IT 2. REMEMBR DAT, K THX.
TPB, ONLY IN IT 4 TEH LULZ SINCE 2003


H.264 List of Shame: all the patent holders

May 18, 2010

The following organizations hold one or more patents in the H.264/AVC patent pool:

(Source: Wikipedia MPEG LA)

Apple Inc.
DAEWOO
Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation
Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute
France Télécom, société anonyme
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.
Fujitsu Limited
Hitachi, Ltd.
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
LG Electronics Inc.
Microsoft Corporation
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
NTT docomo
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation
Panasonic Corporation
Robert Bosch GmbH GmbH
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Scientific-Atlanta Vancouver Company
Sedna Patent Services, LLC
Sharp Corporation
Siemens AG
Sony Corporation
Ericsson
The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
Toshiba Corporation
Victor Company of Japan, Limited

Further reading

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

No, you can’t do that with H.264


Is H.264 a legal minefield for video pros?

Why this list…?

It’s a reminder for myself when it comes to spending money or investing in equipement. And yes, I like to share this list with everyone who cares about free artistic expression and who thinks that the moving image is too important and precious and should not be controlled by anyone and surely not by corporations or patent pools. (Software) patents are the cancer of this economy: they encourage greed, create monopolies, discourage innovation and as we are now seeing with the H.264 licensing fiasco they can seriously harm your video business, specially smaller ones.


Sintel Open Movie Trailer

May 17, 2010

Here a first glimpse at what should be another milestone from the Blender Foundation: the trailer to the current Blender Open Movie project “Sintel”.

This is also the project used to test the later this year to be released Blender 2.5, a pretty big leap forward from the current 2.49 series, specially but not only in terms of usability.

I am also one of the many mini-investors of this movie and you could be too! The Blender Foundation presells DVDs and you’ll get your name in the credits. Check out the Sintel (was: Durian) Blender Open Movie project blog!


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