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

11.18.10

RAND Mobbyists, Lobbyists, and Microsoft AstroTurfers in IP 2010 (Brussels)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents, RAND at 5:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Rand Pauls of RAND

Rand Paul portrait by Gage Skidmore
Photo by Gage Skidmore

Summary: Rough tactics used to promote Microsoft’s scheme wherein Free software gets taxed by Microsoft, even in places like Europe where software patents are in principle not legal

THE CONSENSUS that Microsoft is decreasingly a technology company (far fewer products) and increasingly a patent troll and political movement is gradually getting a foothold. As more and more Microsoft products get axed, the company will qualify as a patent troll (non-practicing entity) in more areas where it’s just extorting its competition which won.

In order for Microsoft to become more effective as a patent troll, Microsoft will need to modify some laws. Microsoft cannot do this directly as it would get blasted for attempting it. So Microsoft hires and bankrolls several front groups that do he lobbying. We wrote well over a hundred posts giving examples of this type of activity as we hope to document and to map the vectors of lobbying (which in turn weakens them or sometimes forces them to nymshift).

The Microsoft agenda du jour is pushing RAND into Europe. Microsoft apparently failed to do this in India. Simon Phipps, a Brit, has just explained why RAND is “Not So Reasonable”. It’s a decent new essay on this old subject:

Fair, Reasonable, Non-Discriminatory – surely that all has to be good stuff? RAND sounds so good, and it’s been showing up in all sorts of news lately. It’s a key part in the negotiation of licenses for patents that apply to standards, and it stands for “Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory”, excellent words that it’s hard to criticise. Sometimes it shows up as FRAND, with “Fair” in front making it sound even better, or as RAND-z, with the Z indicating that whatever the license terms are they will have a zero pounds price ticket attached.

RAND appears in the rules and procedures of most standards organisations and actually does a great job in most of them. It’s far better than the alternative, which is for patent holders to be able to either license their patents at whatever price each victim will pay, or to make the standard almost impossible to implement by anyone they don’t want to be able to by selectively withholding a license. You can understand why a standards group would want to mandate RAND, FRAND or RAND-z, given the alternatives.

Of course, there is the obvious question of why any standards body would allow something to become a standard in the first place if one of the companies contributing to it holds a patent on a technique essential to implementing it.

Simon Phipps tells Carlo Piana (another person who stands for Europe’s interests, not Microsoft’s): “Want to make any bets on how long it will be before I get a troll comment?”

Well, guess what? Yes, it didn’t take long for mobbyist Microsoft Florian to hit this piece with a troll comment promoting RAND, as usual. His position on this subject is virtually identical to that of Microsoft lobbyist Zuck (and his fellow minions). How predictable it must have been for Simon Phipps. He probably knew exactly who it would be with the “troll comment”. Just mention RAND and this mobbyist will soon show up. Just about any piece against RAND is being heckled/trolled by Microsoft mobbyists other than him, but that’s what we ought to expect given the billions of dollars Microsoft has at stake. Professionally speaking, Florian is all about Microsoft (.NET developer, never using GNU/Linux, proudly using Vista 7 while pretending to be a FOSS person who opposes software patents). We’ll come to more of that in a moment.

“RAND describes a superset of behaviours. Some RAND requirements lead to RF terms. The existence of trivial counterexamples where RAND standards have GPL implementations allows trolls to thus discredit this position.”
      –Simon Phipps
Glyn Moody gets involved in this debate as well (in Identi.ca). He tells Bradley Kuhn (FSF) for example: “generally, yes, but it [RAND] an be crafted in abnormal ways to be compatible.” Kuhn does not quite agree. To Phipps he writes: “I may have misread. My take-away was: “sometimes, #RAND works out for FLOSS, but usually doesn’t.” I don’t agree w/ nuance.” To Phipps and Moody he later writes: “It’s tough to get FLOSS hackers to follow patent licensing nuances, so simplifications help, ala “#RAND = #problematic” [...] my 1st yr CS teacher said: “We must lie a little here” b/c the nuances required prereqs we didn’t have. Similar here.” Phipps tells Kuhn: “RAND describes a superset of behaviours. Some RAND requirements lead to RF terms. The existence of trivial counterexamples where RAND standards have GPL implementations allows trolls to thus discredit this position.”

The mobbyist has already resumed badmouthing Android, spreading misinformation about a Vertical lawsuit against Samsung and LG (he closed all the comments in his blog after he had been exposed repeatedly by commenters, so nobody can correct him where he leads journalists whom he mass-mails). He characterises it as an anti-Android lawsuit even though it is slightly more complex than that. But never mind accuracy. The mobbyists are supposed to confuse people who don’t know better, making absurd statements that may capture gullible bystanders who curiously pass by.

Watch what the mobbyist did with Nancy Gohring, who covers a lot of Microsoft since years ago. She took this one assignment/story for IDG and was possibly fed by one of Florian’s pseudo-personal E-mails (he personalises identical messages which he pushes to many journalists while presenting himself as an opponent of software patents). Gohring wrote:

Android faces a new threat with a lawsuit that Vertical Computer Systems filed Monday against Samsung and LG.

Vertical alleges that certain Samsung and LG Android-based phones infringe two of its patents that describe systems for generating applications. In the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Vertical names the LG Ally, four Samsung Galaxy models and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablet computer as products that use the patented technologies.

She is then linking to the mobbyist, who is mass-mailing journalists to get his version of the story told (and it’s Linux-hostile). We don’t know for sure if Gohring was fed by the mobbyist, by judging by the way it is written (with his own fake introduction to himself), it’s very likely to be the case. He is still pretending that he is against software patents because this is how a lobbyist should present himself to journalists (for credibility, even if it’s bogus, like fronting for a monopoly while pretending to speak for small businesses). We do not appreciate his active-aggressive approach towards journalists, wherein he pressures them (with unsolicited mail for the most part) to get his version of the story told, then brags about it as though he was spontaneously quoted for being more accurate or insightful. Then again, that’s just how lobbyists in general work. ACT works like this. They are media subvertors, who try to sway public opinion. The mobbyist also copies and pastes a lot, posting identical or nearly identical comments in many sites and forums such as Slashdot, Ars Technica, and LWN. As usual, he received aid from Dana Blankenhorn, whom he met some weeks ago. Blankenhorn mentions us in a negative way because he refuses to listen to many other FOSS proponents who repeatedly explain to him Florian’s agenda. He should read his comments more carefully and reflect. Maybe one day he’ll realise and admit that he got bamboozled.

Anyway, not only the mobbyists are actively promoting RAND right now. Watch this new schedule for IP 2010 and scroll down to ACT, the RAND lobbyists (with software patents inside). Under “6C Software Patents, Open Source” we found “Jonathan Zuck”, who pretends to stand for Belgium (who is he kidding really?).

Glyn Moody says that “EC & EPO want to explore “tensions” between ICT standards and patents” (in reference to this). He rightly asks (in Identi.ca), “isn’t it decided?”

You can tell just by its framing: this is “a conference to address some specific issues on patents and ICT standards”. ICT is mostly about software, and yet software cannot be patented “as such”. So, in a sense, this ought to be a trivial conference lasting about five minutes. The fact that it isn’t shows where things are going to head: towards accepting and promoting patents in European standards, including those for software.

That’s not really surprising, given who are organising it – the European Commission and the European Patent Office (EPO). The European Commission has always been a big fan of software patents; and the EPO is hardly likely to be involved with a conference that says: “you know, we *really* don’t need all these patents in our standards.”

Of course, the opposite result – that patents are so indescribably yummy that we need to have as many as possible in our European ICT standards – must emerge naturally and organically. And so to ensure that natural and organic result, we have a few randomly-selected companies taking part.

This sort of fake debate (like the one we find in climate change) is summoning the fake controversy which the mobbyists and lobbyists work so hard to create. They want to distract with questions which ought to be trivial and instead put disinformation at the centre of it all.

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. Links 5/6/2020: LibreELEC (Leia) 9.2.3, Rust 1.44.0, and Hamburg's Pivot to Free/Libre Software

    Links for the day



  2. This Article About GitHub Takeover Never Appeared (Likely Spiked by Microsoft and Its Friends Inside the Media)

    And later they wonder why people distrust so much of the media (where paying advertisers set the agenda/tone)



  3. Raw: How Microsoft and/or the EPO Killed an Important EPO Story About Their SLAPP Against Techrights and Others

    Spiking a story about spiked stories about corruption



  4. The Linux Foundation 'Bootcamp' -- Badly Timed and Badly Named in June 2020 -- Only Uses Linus Torvalds Like a 'Prop' (for Legitimacy) While Promoting Militarised Monopolies

    Sometimes a picture says a lot more than words, especially in light of political events in the US and a certain Chinese anniversary we cannot name (Microsoft censors mentions of it)



  5. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, June 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, June 04, 2020



  6. The Gates Press (GatesGate) -- Part II: When Media That You Bribe Calls All Your Critics 'Conspiracy Theorists' (to Keep Them Silenced, Marginalised)

    The assault on the media by Bill Gates is a subject not often explored by the media (maybe because a lot of it is already bribed by him); but we're beginning to gather new and important evidence that explains how critics are muzzled (even fired) and critical pieces spiked, never to see the light of day anywhere



  7. GitHub is Not Sharing But 'Theft' by Microsoft

    Microsoft buying GitHub does not demonstrate that Microsoft loves Open Source (GitHub is not Open Source and may never be) but that it loves monopoly and coercion (what GitHub is all about and why it must be rejected)



  8. The Huge Damage (Except for Patent Lawyers' Bottom Line) Caused by Fake European Patents

    The European Patent Office (EPO) keeps granting fake patents that cause a lot of real harm (examiners are pressured to play along and participate in this unlawful agenda); nobody is happy except those who profit from needless, frivolous lawsuits



  9. Red Hat/IBM Got 'Tired' of RMS. Is It Getting 'Tired' of GPL/Copyleft Too?

    After contributing to the cancellation of Richard Stallman (RMS) based on some falsehoods perpetuated in the media we're seeing the sort of thing one might expect from IBM (more so now that it totally controls Fedora and RHEL)



  10. Links 4/6/2020: Proton 5.0-8 Release Candidate, GNU Linux-libre 5.7

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 03, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, June 03, 2020



  12. Social Engineering of Free Software, Based on Corporate Criteria

    What "professional" nowadays means in the context of coding and honest assessment of technical work



  13. Weakening GNU/Linux by Disempowering Its Leaders and Founders, Replacing Them With Microsoft Employees and GNU/Linux-Hostile Moles

    The coup to remove (or remove power from) Stallman and Torvalds, the GNU and Linux founders respectively, is followed by outsourcing of their work to Microsoft’s newly-acquired monopoly (GitHub) and appointment of Microsoft workers or Microsoft-friendly people, shoehorning them into top roles under the disingenuous guise of "professionalism"



  14. Sword Group Violates Its Own Commitment by Working for the EPO

    The European Patent Office (EPO) keeps outsourcing its work to outside contractors (for-profit private entities) to the tune of hundreds of millions if not billions — all this without any oversight



  15. In 2020 Canonical No Longer Fights for Freedom

    Freedom requires a GNU/Linux distro other than Ubuntu, which seems unwilling or unable/incapable of speaking about and promoting the ideals of GNU/Linux



  16. We Need to Use the F Word (Freedom) to Promote Adoption of GNU/Linux

    "People get the government their behavior deserves. People deserve better than that." -Richard Stallman



  17. People Who Want to Explore GNU/Linux With Ubuntu See This Today

    "Wait, am I in a GNU/Linux blog or another Windows blog," a visitor might think... or, is Microsoft 'taking over' messaging at Canonical? (Same with code)



  18. Links 4/6/2020: Septor 2020.3, Nextcloud and Blender 2.83

    Links for the day



  19. Hey, Where's Red Hat (IBM)?

    Red Hat is conspicuously silent at these critical times (in its home country); Must be too busy hailing and cashing in on Trump's military (state) while dishing out shallow and self-contradictory diversity PR/fluff…



  20. Microsoft's Latest Vapourware About Supercomputers

    Microsoft has spent almost two decades dropping supercomputers vapourware on the media, but those misinformation dumps always turn out to be 100% hot air, no substance



  21. 2020: A Time for Resolutions or Revolutions?

    There are nonviolent means by which the current system can be corrected; we need to convince peers and relatives to change the way they behave and not cooperate with unjust elements of the system



  22. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, June 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, June 02, 2020



  23. The Gates Press (GatesGate) -- Part I: Lost the Job After Writing an Article Critical of Bill Gates for Attacking Some Actual, Legitimate Charities (Because They Had Spread GNU/Linux)

    The sociopaths from the fake 'charity' of Bill Gates would go to great lengths to squash criticism and also to eliminate critics; this series tells the story of some of those personally affected



  24. Don't Fall for the Spin, Microsoft is Laying Off Workers and It's Not Just Because of the Pandemic





  25. All They Want is Litigation, Not Innovation

    It's getting difficult to ignore or to overlook the fact that the 'litigation lobby' (the likes of Team UPC and today's EPO management, guided by groups like the Licensing Executives Society International) doesn't care about innovation and is in fact looking to profit by crushing innovation



  26. Reminder: Microsoft Profits From Crushing Protesters for Donald Trump

    Don't lose sight of the fact that what's going on in the United States right now is very profitable to Microsoft



  27. No, GNU/Linux Isn't at 3% and Windows Isn't at Over 90%, Either

    This ludicrous idea that "Linux" (however one defines it) enjoys just 3% of the "market" is false and it should be treated as laughable spin (it is being widely promoted this week, often by Microsoft boosters looking to make charts where Windows stays at above 90% and Vista 10 is 'gaining'... at the expense of Windows)



  28. Links 3/6/2020: Devuan Beowulf 3.0.0 and Tails 4.7 Released

    Links for the day



  29. Links 2/6/2020: New Firefox Release (77), Debian-based MX Linux 19.2, KDevelop 5.5.2, GNU/Linux Growth on Desktops/Laptops

    Links for the day



  30. Techrights Can Figure Out Source Protection/Anonymisation Whilst Operating Very Transparently

    We're still quite radically transparent whilst at the same time enjoying 100% source protection record; we're also improving the software we use to publish more quickly and efficiently


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