EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.25.08

Then, They Fight You… by Buying Some New Laws

Posted in Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, Law, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, Patents, RAND, Standard at 3:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“…yesterday we were notified that the Microsoft representative in charge with the education strategy had requested the organizers to pull the Ubuntu presentation because it is ‘unfair competition’ to hold such a presentation at an event sponsored by them. They are indeed co-sponsors but the conference is organized by the Ministry of Education and its local office, and is being held on the premises of a public University.”

“Then, they fight you,” May 2008

The question of Free software adoption (or contrariwise — obstruction) continues to involve some heavy doses of corruption, so herein we study some of the methods which are actively used against GNU/Linux and other disruptive trends, especially in light of news items that cannot escape without comment.

RAND

The ugly nature of RAND was discussed recently in [1, 2]. Microsoft, for instance, embeds its RAND routine in Mono and OOXML. It’s a tool for monopolisation and control of rivals. One recent case, which demonstrated just how nasty a RAND can be, revolved around Rambus [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Let this new blog post remind you what it’s all about.

By the time Rambus announced its patents and began demanding royalties (and filing patent infringement suits against companies that refused to pay royalties), Rambus had achieved a technical “lock-in” that made it difficult for the memory chip industry to move to a different technology. Rambus’s lock-in allowed it to obtain a 90% market-share, and demand supracompetitive royalties from companies that were producing JEDEC-compliant memory devices. Rambus has earned several billion dollars in licensing fees to date, and by some estimates its total royalties are could reach as high as $11 billion.

Think about OOXML, which is RAND-’protected’ in the sense that it ‘protects’ itself from this ‘nasty’ thing called the GNU GPL. Expect more of the same poison to be spread via Microsoft technologies which are queued in the pipeline. For granted, Novell will continue to help Microsoft with this. It’s Novell's new business model (since 2006).

Here is another month-old example of RAND nastiness. [via Digital Majority]

Now, here an example of a RAND (Reasonable And Non Discriminatory) licensing model, this one has been made by Cisco about VRRP :

Cisco is the owner of US patent No. 5 473 599, relating to the subject matter of “Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol for IPv6 <draft-ietf-vrrp-ipv6-spec-04.txt>. If technology in this document is included in a standard adopted by IETF and any claims of this or any other Cisco patent are necessary for practicing the standard, any party will be able to obtain a license from Cisco to use any such patent claims under reasonable, non-discriminatory terms to implement and fully comply with the standard.

First you need to contact Cisco to have a license but the terms are unknown. “Non-discriminatory” is vague and could be an issue for any free software implementation.

That would be convenient to Cisco, but not to any of its rivals. Therein lies the importance of vendor-independent protocols and formats such as ODF.

Media Codecs

In a similar vein, Microsoft lobbyist (dare we say “shill”?) Jonathan Zuck seems engaged in another new mission to ensure Europe’s media formats remain discriminatory and require payments to be made (i.e. make Free software an impossibility). In his latest logical gymnastics he’s trying to pretend to have agreed with FFII while at the same time pushing for Microsoft-esque technologies to be required.

We need to work together on live streaming challenge

Jonathan Zuck’s crusades against ODF, against the GPL(v3), and for software patents in Europe were noted before. We have already expressed an opinion about such lobbying in general.

There is already a response to the latest FUD from Zuck.

To correct the article of EurActiv, the 2 petitions are not about free software adoption, but well about free and open standards, which are not the same as free software. So the article of EurActiv misses the point and has a confusing title.

In addition to this, a clarification was made to make people aware that the European Parliament shuts the door in the face of those who don’t have proprietary “special software”.

In order to find out what your members of European Parliament are doing, you need some special software. Europe by Satellite (EBS) is only for those people who have the right software.

[...]

None of those protocols and file formats are described in specifications, neither they are standardized nor free of patents or other restrictions. Why Europe is choosing technology which is not accessible to everybody, regardless of the platform?

Remember the recent story (possible corruption) from Hungary? Remember the BBC? That’s just how it’s done. Lobbyists and spinmeisters are used as agents of monopolisation, by intruding government authorities and deceiving them on technical decisions that are made. They impose lock-in ‘from the top’, so to speak, by requiring basic things like tax submission and communication with Parliament to be dependent on specific software vendors.

Rocket Docket

Blackboard, the very bothersome patent troll whose portfolio has been harassing FOSS projects [1, 2, 3], is getting stung again [via Digital Majority], having recently suffered defeat. Will it finally learn (pun unintended)?

TechRadium sues Blackboard over patent

[...]

TechRadium develops and sells a mass communication messaging systems that allows a “group administrator to send a single message that will be delivered to the members of [a] group via numerous communication devices such as cell phones, pagers, standard landline telephones and e-mail,” according to TechRadium’s complaint.

Quoted above is the claim, which hopefully illustrates superficiality. Unsurprisingly, TechRadium is a “Texas-based technology company.” In addition, as one can just about guess, it “filed a patent infringement lawsuit Monday against Blackboard in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.” Yes, once again it’s that Rocket Docket, which even Law.com is addressing.

Will the 5th Circuit Ground an Eastern District of Texas Rocket Docket?

In a mandamus case that could significantly alter one of the hottest federal civil dockets in Texas, the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on Thursday over whether a trial judge’s discretion should be limited when a party moves to transfer venue.

Digital Majority had dug up some articles from 2006 to show just how often the slack treatment in the Eastern District of Texas is being misused. Will someone, anyone, somewhere, finally take care of this loophole?

Software patents are bad enough as they are, but for these patents to be seen as valid and assure settlement out of court due to one dysfunctional district court seems utterly inexcusable. It encourages programmers to apply for more software patents and it casts a shadow over the legitimacy of Free software. It taken one rotten egg to poison the entire well.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

25 Comments

  1. master_chief said,

    May 25, 2008 at 3:52 am

    Gravatar

    RAND (Reasonable And Non Discriminatory) licensing model is the new weapon against FOSS – I agree 100%

  2. master_chief said,

    May 25, 2008 at 3:56 am

    Gravatar

    RAND = Wolf in the sheeps clothing !

  3. master_chief said,

    May 25, 2008 at 3:57 am

    Gravatar

    FOSS should publicly announce boycott of all RAND licenses !!!!!

  4. AlexH said,

    May 25, 2008 at 4:02 am

    Gravatar

    If OOXML is “protected” from the GNU GPL, how come OpenOffice.org is implementing it?

  5. master_chief said,

    May 25, 2008 at 4:14 am

    Gravatar

    OpenOffice has not received any patent protection from Microsoft with regarding to OOXML.

    Every user of OpenOffice is open to litigation except Novell and their customers !!!

  6. master_chief said,

    May 25, 2008 at 4:21 am

    Gravatar

    OpenOffice could support OOXML as a seperate plugin I suppose.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 25, 2008 at 4:22 am

    Gravatar

    If OOXML is “protected” from the GNU GPL, how come OpenOffice.org is implementing it?

    I believe the EC would have something to say about this. While ISO won’t challenge RAND, those above ISO might.

  8. master_chief said,

    May 25, 2008 at 4:26 am

    Gravatar

    OpenOffice is implementing it without taking any permission from MS. I guess except for Novell and their buddies everyone is under a bit of threat from MS regarding this.

  9. master_chief said,

    May 25, 2008 at 4:28 am

    Gravatar

    MS and likes are in a software patenting business

  10. AlexH said,

    May 25, 2008 at 4:31 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy: so you think that OpenOffice.org is relying on the EU stepping in to prevent any legal issues with OOXML?

    Considering how fast the EU moves, that wouldn’t be an entirely clever move, but thankfully I’m pretty sure that their plan isn’t to rely on the EU at all.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 25, 2008 at 4:45 am

    Gravatar

    What’s the alternative, Alex? Remember that these are filters.

  12. AlexH said,

    May 25, 2008 at 4:52 am

    Gravatar

    I don’t need an alternative; I don’t buy the “OOXML cannot be implemented by GPL’d software” FUD. I’m just pointing out the logical inconsistency.

    FWIW, btw, the EU are generally pretty OK with RAND terms – e.g., the patents mentioned in the Samba docs are under RAND terms. Samba also had to pay up front for their docs. I’m not saying that’s good, I’m just saying that their history indicates RAND isn’t a problem.

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 25, 2008 at 5:23 am

    Gravatar

    RAND is /inherently/ incompatible with the conditions of Free software (redistribution gotcha), so it’s not a question of practicability as you put it.

  14. AlexH said,

    May 25, 2008 at 6:00 am

    Gravatar

    Firstly Roy, don’t put words in my mouth. I didn’t say RAND was a question of practicability, and please don’t say that I did.

    Second, you keep sidestepping the issue. It’s very simple: you can’t simultaneously claim that OOXML cannot be implemented in GPL’d software without casting FUD on OpenOffice.org 3′s status as free software. It’s logically impossible. So, which claim do you want to keep?

  15. master_chief said,

    May 25, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Gravatar

    Considering OOXML is like a tiny fraction of OpenOffice which can easily be removed, and there seem to be no other way…

  16. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 25, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Gravatar

    You sort of put words in my mouth too. I did not say that OOXML cannot be implemented; I said it would be unwise to do so (RAND+OSP exclude/discriminate against the GPL), especially if your end users require free software and full peace of mind. Even *without* OOXML, let me remind you of May 2007 when Microsoft specifically pulled the “patent terrorism” card (Sun’s words) against OpenOffice.org users. It remains to be seen if they have anything. Threats are tactless. Words are cheap.

  17. AlexH said,

    May 25, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Gravatar

    So… you’re saying OpenOffice.org 3 users won’t have free software and/or full peace of mind?

    Gimme a break, Roy, you’re like a broken record.

  18. Woods said,

    May 25, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Gravatar

    Is OpenOffice’s implementation of OOXML going to be in the general version or in the “Novell edition” of OO?

    If the latter, isn’t it automatically a non-issue because of the patent covenant?

    (insert a *big* IANAL-disclaimer here…)

  19. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 25, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Gravatar

    OOo3 has import filters only. Novell’s ‘enterprise’ thingie has Mono-based ‘translators’, which have the whole covenant strings attached to them.

    It’s important to fight for ODF at the moment, at all costs.

  20. AlexH said,

    May 25, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Gravatar

    @Woods: it’s a new implementation, not the quick hack Novell put together, and it will be in the general edition of OOo, not go-oo.

    @Roy: don’t bring Mono into this; it’s irrelevant. The question is OOXML. Are you saying that by including OOXML, OOo is somehow less free? Because that’s what it sounds like.

  21. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 25, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Gravatar

    It may make it more susceptible and sensitive to the aforementioned “patent terrorism”, in my humble assessment.

  22. AlexH said,

    May 25, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Gravatar

    The license is irrelevant to patent terrorism: if someone else has patents on something you’re doing, then no GPL, BSD or other license is going to give you any protection; the threat is exactly the same.

  23. Victor Soliz said,

    May 25, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Gravatar

    “Proof by OpenOffice”, such an amazing way to back up arguments…

  24. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 25, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Gravatar

    You dodge my point, Alex. There’s the OSP. It assures developers that there is a form of ‘protection’ (from Microsoft). The GPL is implicitly excluded.

  25. Bogdan said,

    May 26, 2008 at 6:41 am

    Gravatar

    Please read: http://www.microsoft.com/interop/osp/default.mspx
    Because the General Public License (GPL) is not universally interpreted the same way by everyone, we can’t give anyone a legal opinion about how our language relates to the GPL or other OSS licenses

    There is no legal assurance in here. Until proven by an advocate (better: in a Court of Law) the OSP does not make any legal assurance.

    I had never heard of a “promise” being held in a law court (judges, jurors, audience). I know of contracts, donations & other legal bonds, but there is no “promise” in my juridical/legal vocabulary.

    US Court system follows the rule of precedence – is there another precedent of this kind of promise being enforced by a judge?

    Until proven otherwise, a promise is made to be broken.

What Else is New


  1. [Humour] IAM Ranked Top for Quality of EPO Propaganda

    Contrary to what the European Patent Office (EPO) keeps saying, patent quality is slipping very fast in Europe (based on the EPO's own analysis!) but patent trolls-funded publishers deny that



  2. When They're Done With Patents on Foods and Recipes They'll Have Patents on Fashion, Taste and Smell

    The mental dysfunction — an infectious condition — that says everything in the world must be patented should be resisted; it overlooks the fact that patents were introduced to protect/promote actual invention, not thoughts, feelings, nature and art



  3. [Humour/Meme] IBM's Money is Unhealthy to the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    IBM will never be happy as long as RMS (Richard Stallman) has a say in the FSF — directly or indirectly — or even in the GNU Project, both of which he himself created back when IBM was the biggest monopolist



  4. IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, July 06, 2020



  5. Never Let IBM/Red Hat Lecture Us on Morality

    Ethics and morality should not be taught by those who themselves need a lesson; in the meantime we're losing the courage to speak freely and those who commit atrocious acts like it a lot better that way



  6. [Humour/Meme] Wear the Red Hat as the Open Org Becomes Openwash

    IBM is changing Red Hat and not for the better; sooner or later IBM will become another Microsoft and changing from one to the other will be like swapping 'masters'



  7. IBM is Imposing Non-Free, Privacy-Infringing Tools and Patent Tolls on Red Hat Staff

    There are signs that Red Hat under IBM will be more like assimilation to IBM, not IBM assimilating to the 'Red Hat way' or the so-called 'open org'



  8. They Tell the Free Software Community That It is Racist While Saying Nothing at All About Trump's Racism (Because He Gives Them Government and Military Contracts)

    While their president compares 'foreign' people to a virus (using innuendo, dog whistles and racist rhetoric reminiscent of the Nazi era) the big US corporations (American surveillance giants) turn their attention to rather innocuous words inside people's code (which almost nobody sees anyway)



  9. LibreOffice 'Personal Edition' Seems Like a Marketing and Communication Fluke

    Had LibreOffice developers (and the Document Foundation) communicated these changes more openly, they would have averted/avoided some of the FUD



  10. It Almost Feels Like Microsoft Has Already 'Bought' Canonical

    Canonical's disturbing trajectory and betrayal of the community continue unabated; one can easily get the impression that Ubuntu exists to help Microsoft at some level



  11. Update to GNU Project Bleeding into Microsoft

    Update



  12. Microsoft is Going to Get Tired of Whining About “GAFA” and Accept That It's Just as Bad If Not a Lot Worse at Privacy

    Microsoft is being treated by the US government as if it's not abusing anything, let alone people's privacy; if anything, this demonstrates the degree to which Microsoft infiltrated or 'vendor-captured' regulatory branches



  13. Links 6/7/2020: LibreOffice 7.0 RC1, MX-19.2 KDE Beta 1, Linux 5.8 RC4

    Links for the day



  14. ZDNet's 'Linux' Section: Linux is Full of Problems and It Loves/Embraces Software Patents

    Software patents promotion and GNU/Linux FUD; your daily dosage of 'news' from the tabloid known as ZDNet...



  15. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, July 05, 2020



  16. Links 5/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Mate Beta and GNOME Gingerblue

    Links for the day



  17. Technological Progress? Only If We Assume The Wrong Things...

    When we're told that we're all dumb we're being given increasingly dumb technology (and they tell us dumber is better)



  18. Linux Foundation Still Owned and Controlled Largely -- and More Over Time -- by Surveillance Companies (Openwashing Services for Bad Practices and Bad Actors)

    The Linux Foundation‘s growing role in spying or the focus on data-mining operations is an eternal reminder or warning that the Foundation follows power and money, not freedom or ethics (it began as a salary-paying venture, crowdfunding among large corporations which conduct mass surveillance)



  19. Sharing is Caring, as Those Who Share Usually Care

    Going back to our human roots, people who cooperate and collaborate are vastly more likely to survive and thrive; Free software is almost guaranteed to become the norm when/once everyone demands it (proprietary software is too divisive, supremacist and even racist)



  20. Systems Can Crash and People Can Die by Changing Language (Even in Parameter and Function Space) to Appease Activists

    It seems clear that Intel takes the lead in trying to change Linux not in technical means but purely social means; even when (and where) that can compromise the robustness of the kernel (Intel is nowadays known for profoundly defective chips with back doors)



  21. António Campinos Should Speak to Peasants, Not Litigation Lawyers

    Mr. Campinos does not work for campinos but against campinos; he represents the people who sue or threaten them using ludicrous patents that should never have been granted (e.g. in Ethiopia)



  22. Christine Lambrecht (German Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection) Ignores the Fact That Even Patent Experts Reject the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The debacle single-handedly caused by and attributable to Christine Lambrecht, who is eager to appease litigation lawyers, is made yet worse by the fact that people in this domain/profession reject what she's trying to ram down people's throats



  23. [Humour] The Linux Foundation is Not Even Using Linux

    The Linux Foundation does not support Linux except in name; it is important to remember that



  24. Microsoft Loves Power

    An explanation of why Microsoft says it loves this and that; Microsoft lacks the capacity to love or to express empathy as it's always about self gratification or coercion, nothing else



  25. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, July 04, 2020



  26. Indoors Society, Shut the Windows

    Times are changing in all sorts of ways; it seems like GNU/Linux and other Free/libre operating systems may emerge as winners when the 'dust settles'



  27. Allegation That Microsoft Adopted the Mentality of Suicide Bombers Against Linux, Leaks Reveal

    Looking at leaked E-mails from around the time Microsoft used Cyanogen as a 'proxy', we're finding some stunning admissions or speculation about the real motivations



  28. [Humour] A Union in Whose Interests?

    The union-busting 'yellow union' (the one that helped Benoît Battistelli marginalise SUEPO) is unable to represent staff any longer



  29. FFPE EPO Has Rendered Itself Obsolete by Liaising With Benoît Battistelli

    FFPE EPO has been left out of staff representation, demonstrating that liaising with the oppressor is a self-deprecating move which must be avoided (the only remaining potent union is SUEPO)



  30. Links 4/7/2020: LibreOffice 7.0 'Personal Edition', Atari VCS Coming Soon

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts