“Another big Bag of Hurt” (since the USPTO asked)

June 20, 2011

As Slashdot reported Software Patent Reform Happening Now (17.06.11) and the “USPTO is inviting public comments to change the system”.

Here is my public comment, I took the liberty of adapting some of my favourites lyrics for the occasion. Do sing along by all means!

Another big Bag of Hurt (part 2)

We don’t need no software patents

We don’t need no Jobs control

No unfree codec in the classroom

Lawyers, leave them kids alone

Hey! Steve! Leave them kids alone!

All in all it’s just another big Bag of Hurt.

All in all you’re just another big Bag of Hurt.


ACTA, EU and WikiLeaks. And showdown for free speech, indie online media in Germany.

December 3, 2010

ACTA, EU and WikiLeaks

Julian Assange answers your questions (www.guardian.co.uk):

Do you have leaks on ACTA?

Yes, we have leaks on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a trojan horse trade agreement designed from the very beginning to satisfy big players in the US copyright and patent industries. In fact, it was WikiLeaks that first drew ACTA to the public’s attention – with a leak.

Recommended reading.

Showdown for free speech in Germany

As previously discussed it does not look good at all for blogging, online indie media, art and free speech in Germany. Next week might already tell if Berlin and Germany will still be a relevant place to be for new media, online art and anyone considering investing time and money in this country:

Berlin: Infoveranstaltung & Entscheidung zum JMStV (www.netzpolitik.org)

JMStV: Emails an Abgeordnete (www.netzpolitik.org)

And there is yet another potentially serious problem for bloggers in Germany, the Leistungsschutzrecht: think of it as software patents for snippets of words. Basically established media will have exclusive rights to certain phrases they “created”. The article says a website explaining the problem will go online in mid-December.

Ein neues Monopol mit irreführendem Namen (www.heise.de)

Update 1: This is related… One wonders if the same might not have happened in Germany in regards to the JMStV…?!

Wikileaks cables reveal that the US wrote Spain’s proposed copyright law (www.boingboing.net)

Update 2: The Wikileaks Copyright Cables: Confirmations Not Revelations (www.michaelgeist.ca)


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)


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.


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


Save free web video incl. my own movie “Vincent”: vote with your browsers (dump all your Apple/MS browsers!)

May 16, 2010

If the MPEG-LA, the patent pool behind H.264 and MPEG-2, has it their way I am an endangered species: “Vincent“, being 44 min. long would not qualify for the MPEG-LA’s “free” offer, latest after 2015 and there is no way that I (or someone else) will be paying protection money to a fucking patent pool for “Vincent”.

My work would simply not be available online any more (thanks to software patents no alternative). Welcome to the age of Corporate Fascism. It’s standing at your and my front door. But you can still act now:

* vote with your browser: since Apple and Microsoft – both H.264 patent holders – are pushing for H.264 as the future web standard for video: simply dump your Apple/MS browsers now and use Firefox, Chrome or Opera. If not: you might be paying for the rest of your life with more ads (yes, H.264 is “free” for the end user…).

* let others know what is at stake here: those people would like to/are about to establish a MONOPOLY ON THE MOVING IMAGE (lock-in via video codec) – a pretty scary systemic change:

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

And for all my younger – and not so young – readers: if this was a Harry Potter movie Dumbledore would say:

“Dark times lay ahead, Harry. Soon we’ll all have to choose between what is right — and what is easy.”


H.264 may You find the grace to give me my daily fix of decoding today

May 10, 2010

Hail to our new Overlord,

The One and only,

Owner of all legal moving pictures compression algorithms of this world,

Great conqueror of Theora, Dirac and all the other “open source” algorithms,

Master of all moving pictures distribution channels that legally exist:

May You find the grace to give me my daily fix of de/en-coding today.

Hail to MPEG LA!

Hail! Hail! Hail!


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