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

05.05.10

Apple and Microsoft a Threat to Culture (Data), Not Just Software (Tools)

Posted in Apple, Google, ISO, Microsoft, Patents, Ubuntu at 4:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MPEG crisis

Summary: Microsoft’s and Apple’s cultural threat with MPEG-LA; Canonical listed as H.264 licensee; Google perceived as potential game changer with YouTube

OGG THEORA has been a hot topic recently because it’s under attack from Apple and from Microsoft. Previous and very recent posts about that subject include:

The Microsoft Bott continues his war on Theora this week, so Chips B. Malroy responds by calling him “major Microsoft shill” (which is actually true because his career is dependent on Microsoft). Malroy added that “audio and video codecs and the patents on them, are in some ways, an attack on the right of free speech” and later he argued that: “Most of us do disdain software patents. They only help the monopolies. They do not promote science or innovation. But there is a worse form of software patents, its software patents on codecs. This should never have been allowed in any reasonable world. Software patents on multimedia codecs are basically a patent on sight and sound, two inalienable senses of the human experience.

“Beyond that the monopolies (Microsoft and Apple) want to use software patents as a way to block free operating systems, to control the web, and to profit by taxing those who have to use these multimedia video and sound software patents.

“Multimedia software patents are completely against the idea of standards, or even standards that can be freely used on the web. We must try to educate those in power to reject software patents on video and audio codecs and to get free standards on these codecs for a free web. Not a web that will be controlled and taxed further by unnecessary Microsoft and Apple lockin.

“It is not enough to just have Theora or the new free Google codec.”
      –Chips B. Malroy
“As far as IBM and Google with their support of software patents. While we would be better off without the patents, in the meantime, Google has to play the patent game in some countries, as that is the law of the land in the USA. To be able to sue those who come against you, is a weapon that we should not say to Google; “do not sue MS or Apple.”

“It is not enough to just have Theora or the new free Google codec. All of these video and audio software codecs should be free if used on the web, as the web should be free. Free standards for a free web, should be the call. Invalidate the software patents on these video and audio codecs, and make them public domain.”

This point of view is further supported here:

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

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.

Microsoft is of course choosing to lobby for MPEG-LA, of which it is a participant. Microsoft is going to use Internet Explorer* to promote H.264 and Canonical’s old codec affairs won’t help, either:

Canonical licenses H.264 – Theora out for the count?

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.

What’s 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 distribution’s parent to support.

Let us remember that MPEG-LA's CEO (Larry Horn) is a patent troll. TechDirt has just caught up with this news.

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.

MPEG-LA is hardly a legitimate business if it bullies like this, but ISO, which is a farce that sells out to whoever has enough money to corrupt it, won’t do anything/much to stop this. As the president of the FFII put it yesterday, “ISO [is] pushing for a patent-free video codec, committee stuffing, yes you can do it [...] The analysis of patents is outside of the scope and competence of ISO and MPEG [...] MPEG believes that 20 years after its publication some technology will become royalty-free” (posted in Twitter).

One new writer at IDG puts it like this:

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

[...]

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.

Dana Blankenhorn has more to say about Apple:

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

[..]

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.

Apple has already sued Android through HTC.

Do not support Apple and Microsoft, though not just because they produce non-Free software and engage in anti-competitive activities (bad faith and conduct); they are also a threat to freedom in culture. This helps nobody but stakeholders like Disney, which Apple is tied to.
_____
* Not that Internet Explorer matters so much anymore. Even Microsoft-friendly meters like Net Applications (mostly from the US, secret data and secret methods, funded in part by Microsoft) say that Internet Explorer is losing browser share while about one in two Windows PCs is infected with no foreseeable solution, certainly not even snake oil marketing like this new example:

The word about Immunet’s free anti-virus solution is spreading fast. The agent installed on my computer tells me that there are currently 162,597 people in the Immunet Cloud, and that I’m protected from 12,637,576 threats. When I first installed it almost a month ago, the number of users was around 122,000.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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

What Else is New


  1. The Linux Foundation's Business Model

    The Linux Foundation's plan, illustrated



  2. Links 18/6/2019: i386 Abandoned by Canonical and a New osquery 'Community'

    Links for the day



  3. Indifference or Even Hostility Towards Patent Quality Results in Grave Injustice

    The patent extravaganza in Europe harms small businesses the most (they complain about it), but administrative staff at patent offices only cares about the views of prolific applicants rather than the interests of citizens in respective countries



  4. Links 18/6/2019: CentOS 8 Coming Soon, DragonFly BSD 5.6 Released

    Links for the day



  5. 'AI Taskforce' is Actually a Taskforce for Software Patents

    The mainstream media has been calling just about everything "HEY HI!" (AI), but what it typically refers to is a family of old algorithms being applied in possibly new areas; patent maximalists in eastern Asia and the West hope that this mainstream media's obsession can be leveraged to justify new kinds of patents on code



  6. Patent Maximalism is Dead in the United States

    Last-ditch efforts, or a desperate final attempt to water down 35 U.S.C. § 101, isn't succeeding; stacked panels are seen for what they really are and 35 U.S.C. § 101 isn't expected to change



  7. Links 18/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC5 and OpenMandriva Lx 4

    Links for the day



  8. Weaponising Russophobia Against One's Critics

    Response to smears and various whispering campaigns whose sole purpose is to deplete the support base for particular causes and people; these sorts of things have gotten out of control in recent years



  9. When the EPO is Run by Politicians It's Expected to Be Aggressive and Corrupt Like Purely Political Establishments

    António 'Photo Op' Campinos will have marked his one-year anniversary in July; he has failed to demonstrate morality, respect for the law, understanding of the sciences, leadership by example and even the most basic honesty (he lies a lot)



  10. Links 16/6/2019: Tmax OS and New Features for KDE.org

    Links for the day



  11. Stuffed/Stacked Panels Sent Back Packing After One-Sided Patent Hearings That Will Convince Nobody, Just Preach to the Choir

    Almost a week ago the 'world tour' of patent lobbyists in US Senate finally ended; it was an utterly ridiculous case study in panel stacking and bribery (attempts to buy laws)



  12. 2019 H1: American Software Patents Are as Worthless as They Were Last Year and Still Susceptible to Invalidation

    With a fortnight left before the second half of the year it seems evident that software patents aren't coming back; the courts have not changed their position at all



  13. As European Patent Office Management Covers up Collapse in Patent Quality Don't Expect UPC to Ever Kick Off

    It would be madness to allow EPO-granted patents to become 'unitary' (bypassing sovereignty of nations that actually still value patent quality); it seems clear that rogue EPO management has, in effect, not only doomed UPC ambitions but also European Patents (or their perceived legitimacy, presumption of validity)



  14. António Campinos -- Unlike His Father -- Engages in Imperialism (Using Invalid Patents)

    Despite some similarities to his father (not positive similarities), António Campinos is actively engaged in imperialistic agenda that defies even European law; the EPO not only illegally grants patents but also urges other patent offices to do the same



  15. António Campinos Takes EPO Waste and Corruption to Unprecedented Levels and Scale

    The “B” word (billions) is thrown around at Europe’s second-largest institution because a mischievous former EUIPO chief (not Archambeau) is ‘partying’ with about half of the EPO’s all-time savings, which are supposed to be reserved for pensions and other vital programmes, not presidential palaces and gambling



  16. Links 15/6/2019: Astra Linux in Russia, FreeBSD 11.3 RC

    Links for the day



  17. Code of Conduct Explained: Partial Transcript - August 10th, 2018 - Episode 80, The Truth About Southeast Linuxfest

    "Ask Noah" and the debate on how a 'Code of Conduct' is forcibly imposed on events



  18. Links 14/6/2019: Xfce-Related Releases, PHP 7.4.0 Alpha

    Links for the day



  19. The EPO is a Patent Troll's Wet Dream

    The makers of software and games in Europe will have to spend a lot of money just keeping patent trolls off their backs — a fact that seems to never bother EPO management because it profits from it



  20. EPO Spreading Patent Extremists' Ideology to the Whole World, Now to South Korea

    The EPO’s footprint around the world's patent systems is an exceptionally dangerous one; The EPO amplifies the most zealous voices of the patents and litigation ‘industry’ while totally ignoring the views and interests of the European public, rendering the EPO an ‘agent of corporate occupation’



  21. Guest Post: Notes on Free Speech, and a Line in the Sand

    We received this anonymous letter and have published it as a follow-up to "Reader's Claim That Rules Similar to the Code of Conduct (CoC) Were 'Imposed' on LibrePlanet and the FSF"



  22. Links 13/6/2019: CERN Dumps Microsoft, GIMP 2.10.12 Released

    Links for the day



  23. Links 12/6/2019: Mesa 19.1.0, KDE neon 5.16, Endless OS 3.6.0 and BackBox Linux 6

    Links for the day



  24. Leaked Financial 'Study' Document Shows EPO Management and Mercer Engaging in an Elaborate “Hoax”

    How the European Patent Office (EPO) lies to its own staff to harm that staff; thankfully, the staff isn't easily fooled and this whole affair will merely obliterate any remnants of "benefit of the doubt" the President thus far enjoyed



  25. Measuring Patent Quality and Employer Quality in Europe

    Comparing the once-famous and respected EPO to today's joke of an office, which grants loads of bogus patents on just about anything including fruit and mathematics



  26. Granting More Fundamentally Wrong Patents Will Mean Reduced Certainty, Not Increased Certainty

    Law firms that are accustomed to making money from low-quality and abstract patents try to overcome barriers by bribing politicians; this will backfire because they show sheer disregard for the patent system's integrity and merely lower the legal certainty associated with granted (by greedy offices) patents



  27. Links 11/6/2019: Wine 4.10, Plasma 5.16

    Links for the day



  28. Chapter 10: Moving Forward -- Getting the Best Results From Open Source With Your Monopoly

    “the gradual shift in public consciousness from their branding towards our own, is the next best thing to owning them outright.”



  29. Chapter 9: Ownership Through Branding -- Change the Names, and Change the World

    The goal for those fighting against Open source, against the true openness (let's call it the yet unexploited opportunities) of Open source, has to be first to figuratively own the Linux brand, then literally own or destroy the brand, then to move the public awareness of the Linux brand to something like Azure, or whatever IBM is going to do with Red Hat.



  30. Links 10/6/2019: VLC 3.0.7, KDE Future Plans

    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