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.”


“The Hurt Locker”: here is one DVD buyer less now!

May 15, 2010

TorrentFreak reports that the makers of Kathryn Bigelow’s latest “The Hurt Locker” are going to sue “Thousands of BitTorrent Users.

I see.

And here in Europe there is now one buyer less for “The Hurt Locker” DVD: me.

I’m quite of a fan of Kathryn Bigelow’s work, I was hyping that movie (among my friends) long before everyone was only talking about the movie that brought DRM to the mainstream cinema, “Avatar” (and no, I still have not seen “Avatar” yet because of the DRM they use).

From now on I will write about individual Hollywood movies and pick them out for boycott – just like Hollywood picks out individual fans that they’ll sue!

I love (good) movies. I don’t “pirate” movies for one good reason: “piracy” simply helps promoting (Hollywood) movies and I wish people would stop distributing what I think is really to about 9/10 unwatchable anyway.

Yet if Hollywood continues to sue my movies loving brothers and sisters I will stop buying from Hollywood entirely and I will stop watching new Hollywood movies entirely.

And in the long run:

I hope that all sane and creative people will stop working for an industry that has lost its touch to the audience long ago.

And this is not even talking in detail about the incredible superficiality and the poor handwork (e.g. scripts) that Hollywood pushes on the market these days.

I am specially sad that the makers of “The Hurt Locker” are now joining in the corporate fascism tactics that Hollywood is using. This movie is an exception, it’s actually really, really good – yet I will not buy it on DVD now, the movie simply will not exist in my collection, it will be missed, yet this is what needs to be done now.

This system needs to be changed. I won’t shut up. Not me.


A Kingdom For A Dead Horse

May 11, 2010

“A kingdom for a horse!”, cried the King.

Quickly they went and brought him a horse – a dead horse…

And when they took away his kingdom the King complained:

“But this is a dead horse…!”

They told the King that where they come from there used to be an old saying:

“When your horse is dead, get off the horse.”

Now over time, they told the King, things changed a bit and today the saying goes:

“When your horse is dead, go and sell your horse!”

And so it came that the King gave his whole kingdom –

Yet all he got – was this old and dead horse…!


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