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

03.15.12

Mozilla and Others Still Lead Opposition to Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

John Lilly of Mozilla
Photo by Joi Ito

Summary: Software patents disdain as seen in this week’s news

THE backlash against software patents is very clear to see. With matrices as monopolies I am unable to do my work, at least not peacefully or without worries about taking it out there to market. Mike Masnick explains “Why It’s Mathematically Impossible To Avoid Infringing On Software Patents” and he makes some good points, as usual. Mozilla, meanwhile, struggles with codec monopolies, which are also all about maths — some of which controlled by MPEG-LA. Ryan from our IRC channels wrote about the subject in a better way than most did (including another Ryan, from Ars Technica):

Microsoft and Apple, which are also criminal cartels, are also members of the MPEG-LA, and are trying to wipe out the open and unencumbered VP8 and Ogg Vorbis combination known as WebM by refusing to support it in Safari and Internet Explorer.

Mozilla and Opera have so far not implemented MPEG codecs because they would be gouged by the MPEG-LA’s innovation tax.

The problem for the user, which is caught in the middle, is that sites that are out there today and insisting on MPEG-4, such as Vimeo, won’t work in Firefox or Opera in HTML 5 mode, and require the proprietary binary blob with gazillions of security problems known as “Adobe Flash” to play their content.
Mozilla is not proposing to ship the offending codecs themselves, but to just use the ones on the system, if any. On Windows, they can hook into DirectShow, on OS X they can hook into Quicktime, and on Linux they can hook into and use anything Gstreamer can play. Of course Android, iOS, and Windows Phone (with all three people who have one) all have their own media codecs.

Despite recent mistakes, Mozilla’s opposition to software patents and to MPEG-LA (there is adherence to free codecs) was covered here before. Mozilla is truly a proponent of Open Source, unlike Google with Chrome. Here is a new video campaign from Mozilla:

Taking the message to its users, Mozilla launched a user-generated video contest to help educate how its open-source browser, Firefox, differs from the pack.

“Browsers control what’s possible on the Web,” said Mozilla CMO Chris Beard, who joined the company just prior to the Firefox launch about seven years ago. “There is a lot of commercial interest vying for that control.”

Beard called Mozilla’s strategy “grassroots,” noting that the ad campaign should be seen as an extension of the company’s strategy. About 2 million people try Firefox daily around the world. The browser supports about 400 million users.

Tim Lee, another one from the “Open Source”/pro-sharing team, explains the idea of patent reform and addresses misconceptions in a skillful fashion:

But the more important point is that, in fact, the patent office does a really bad job at searching for prior art. In the famous patent episode of This American Life, they ask M-CAM to analyze a particular patent to see if similar concepts had been patented before. As I recall, they found the same concept had been patented dozens of times. Indeed, I’ve read that in the early years of the Internet, patent examiners were actually prohibited from using the Internet to search for prior art—even for patents related to Internet technologies.

[...]

The problem with tracking “the patents owned by your competitors and the trolls” is that you don’t know who the trolls are, or which patents they hold, until one of them sends you a cease and desist letter. There are at least two reasons for this. First, there’s no centralized registry of patent ownership, so while it’s easy to tell who was initially granted a patent, there’s no reliable way to tell if a particular patent has been sold to someone else. Second, legitimate companies regularly sell patents to trolls, or become trolls themselves. And even if you could somehow overcome these two obstacles, there are enough trolls out there now that even searching through troll-owned patents would be a serious burden.

In any event, software firms really do ignore patents when designing new products. You should read Mark Lemley’s excellent paper on the subject if you don’t believe me.

Software patents really need to go away. Nobody wants them except monopolies and patent lawyers.

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. Microsoft's and Bill Gates' Biggest Patent Troll (Intellectual Ventures) Suffers Setback and Nokia is Dead While Patents Scattered to Microsoft Patent Proxies

    Microsoft's patent collectors (trolls) are to have a feast with Nokia patents while Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft's largest patent proxy, continues to attack companies including Motorola



  2. Patent Racketeering Continues With Nadella: Motorola the Latest to Join the FUD Campaign

    Nadella continues Ballmer's campaign of intimidation and alienation, showing that nothing has changed at Microsoft, not even the FUD



  3. Links 23/4/2014: GNOME Maps Application, LG in Headlines

    Links for the day



  4. Links 22/4/2014: More GNU/Linux Gains, Syria Updates

    Links for the day



  5. Links 21/4/2014: New Games for GNU/Linux, Some NatSec Politics

    Links for the day



  6. Site Focus for The Remainder of the Year

    What we plan for the rest of 2014 and why



  7. Links 20/4/2014: EFF FOSS, Easter Drone Strikes, Copyright Industry Fear of Google

    Links for the day



  8. Links 19/4/2014: Slow Easter News Day

    Links for the day



  9. Links 18/4/2014: New KDE, Kubuntu, and More

    Links for the day



  10. Some Perspective on Heartbleed®

    Our views on the whole Heartbleed® bonanza, which seems like partly a PR stunt (for multiple stakeholders)



  11. Microsoft is Leaving Windows -- Including Vista 8.1 -- Vulnerable to Non-Government Crackers, Not Only to NSA

    Microsoft makes it ever more evident that securing users of Windows is not at all a priority, and perhaps not even a desire



  12. Links 17/4/2014: Android RDP, New Ubuntu, RHEL 7 Milestone

    Links for the day



  13. Racing to 1984: Mass Surveillance, Cracking, 'Targeted' Assassinations, and Illegal Torture

    Links for the day



  14. More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

    Microsoft hands money to Bill Gates' close friend who is the world's largest patent troll



  15. Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of 'Pro-FOSS'

    Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS



  16. Links 16/4/2014: Red Hat PR, Ubuntu LTS Imminent

    Links for the day



  17. Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

    Links for the day



  18. Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

    Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile



  19. Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

    A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that's wrong with today's model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes



  20. Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

    Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for -- let alone deploy -- proprietary software with back doors



  21. GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

    Links for the day



  22. Microsoft Gets Its Money's Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

    The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft's console competitor



  23. After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

    Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO



  24. Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

    Links for the day



  25. Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

    Links for the day



  26. TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

    The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance



  27. Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

    Links for the day



  28. Hardware News: Freedom, Modding, Hackability on the Rise

    Links for the day



  29. Distributions News: GNU/Linux Distros

    Links for the day



  30. GNOME News: Financial Issues, Mutter-Wayland, West Coast Summit, Community Participation

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts