Summary: TPP helps the killing of people (whose access to patented drugs and generics will be impeded) and helps an inane class of patents become applicable in more countries
THE recently-leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) document helped show that the copyright cartel runs governments , not just in the US but also abroad . This even affects how people use their phones . Analysis continues to come , including a longish peep at the impact on patents.
In order to understand what TPP means in practical terms, watch how Apple extorts a Korean giant that promotes Linux/Android [1. 2]. Billions of dollars are at stake and it’s buyers that pay this money (to Apple, even if they never buy Apple). One company even rewrites the history of encryption in an attempt to extort businesses using patents. “Once-secret details of a mass-lawsuit operation are revealed in Texas courtroom,” says the author, who is one among several that address the problem. Remember that Apple actually copied a lot of companies but right now it rewrites the history of gadgets in order to extort money out of the real innovators.
What’s needed right now is acceptance that software patents are inadequate and that patents in general do nothing but serve large corporations like Apple. That’s what TPP is for. It’s protectionism for monopolies. We might return to covering patents in the future (running Tux Machines takes a lot of time), but the important point is, TPP has a lot to do with patents. TPP needs to be crushed. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
This summer the U.S. Government’s Internet Policy Task Force published a Green Paper signaling various copyright issues that need to be addressed. Among other things, the group proposed a “recalibration” of penalties for file-sharers, which currently reach $150,000 per shared file. The MPAA and RIAA, among others, have now responded to this suggestion, stating that the current punishments are proportional, and needed to deter others from file-sharing and related offenses.
The secretive multinational trade agreement the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “proves” that Wall St and Hollywood own Obama, according to MegaUpload and Mega founder Kim Dotcom.
In part two of Wired.co.uk’s interview with the infamous entrepreneur, we talk about international copyright law, NSA surveillance, Hollywood’s “backward, outdated licensing model”, Barack Obama and Dotcom’s political ambitions.
Even more examples of ill-informed thinking lurk in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the SOPA/CISPA/PIPA redux
Last Thursday, Wikileaks released a draft text of the intellectual property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The TPP is a free trade agreement currently been negotiated between 12 countries: the United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Japan. Like many FTAs, the TPP has been negotiated in a secret, non-transparent fashion, with access to draft texts provided only to lobbyists and the like. Wikileak’s release of the IP chapter thus provides an important opportunity for academics, activists, and the public to examine what is being negotiated in their name.
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i i i me me me ! ! !
Image by mylerdude
Summary: The man who helped glorify arrogance and selfishness is not to be put up on a pedestal anymore
SOFTWARE innovator and activist (with international reputation) Richard Stallman got a lot of flack for saying negative things about software ‘thief’, patent aggressor (over ideas that he had ‘stolen’, to use his own terminology), and selfishness advocate Steve Jobs — the man who loved to hoard and restrict, not to share.
As Linux spreads to hundreds of millions of users through Samsung (with no signs of stopping) Apple is suing, as usual, as part of Jobs’ nuclear legacy.
“Jobs colluded with Microsoft at least twice in the past, liaising against arguably common threats like Netscape and Android/Linux.”A few weeks ago the British press published the article “Steve Jobs: Apple founder a sexist bully, a skinflint and a liar says Chrisann Brennan, former partner” (Apple enthusiasts in deep denial would not even click the link).
Read the article to learn about the real Steve Jobs, not the legend which the corporate media (which is indirectly funded by the likes of Jobs) is trying to tell us about for its own agenda and self-serving reasons. Heck, those submissive publicists would even try to tell the world that Donald Trump is a generous and polite gentleman. All they look for is sponsorship through complicity (if there is no sponsorship already).
All we have left from Jobs (other than a bunch of people inspired by selfishness and arrogance) is a ‘Linux debt’ of hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars (legal fees aside). To quote this one new report: “An eight-person jury was picked yesterday, and today the Apple v. Samsung damages re-trial swung into full steam, moving through opening statements and speeding through four witnesses.”
Steve Jobs was a smear on this planet and the fact that people were inspired by him was always truly worrisome. Jobs colluded with Microsoft at least twice in the past, liaising against arguably common threats like Netscape and Android/Linux. I wholeheartedly agreed with Stallman’s remarks about Steve Jobs when he made them. What he told me personally is a better explanation of why. I am planning to meet Stallman next Friday at Lincoln and hopefully this will give an opportunity to ask some more questions, then share the answers. █
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Ghost of Microsoft, they know where it came from…
Summary: Microsoft, which is the source of many patent trolls in the world of software, is trying to present itself as “against trolls”
TECHRIGHTS has written a lot about Acacia since 2007 (the Wikipedia page looks like a PR masterpiece). 2007 was the year Acacia, a patent troll, launched an attack on Linux. 6 years later Microsoft sues Acacia and just as a reminder of news we covered before: “In 2010, Microsoft agreed to pay an Acacia subsidiary to license a portfolio of patents related to smartphones and tablets ultimately owned by Tokyo-based web browser firm Access Co.”
According to this Microsoft booster (altering the above report from Reuters), “Microsoft sued Acacia Research Corp. today, accusing the company of breaking a contract “to license various smartphone and mobile computing technologies to Microsoft,” Reuters reported.
“The suit was filed in US District Court in New York, but it’s currently under seal, which means that details are thin. The Microsoft accusations come in response to recent suits Acacia subsidiaries filed against Microsoft that allege infringement of more than a dozen patents. Acacia filed these lawsuits despite the fact that “in 2010, Microsoft agreed to pay an Acacia subsidiary to license a portfolio of patents related to smartphones and tablets ultimately owned by Tokyo-based Web browser firm Access Co.,” Reuters wrote.”
‘”Acacia’s lawsuits are the worst kind of abusive litigation behavior, attempting to extract payment based on litigation tactics and not the value of its patents,” Microsoft Deputy General Counsel David Howard told Reuters.”
This claim does not hold water. Acacia has been rather helpful to Microsoft for years and it also absorbed senior staff from Microsoft.
In other news from the same source, Newegg is still going after patent trolls. To quote the writer (who is definitely not a Microsoft booster): “After a five years of legal battles over Jones’ patent, involving hundreds of lawsuits and tens of millions of dollars in payments, that question still has no clear answer.
“Whatever the invention, hundreds of companies have paid tribute to it. Jones’ patent, now wielded through a holding company called TQP Development, has become one of the most widely asserted patents in history. In complaints, TQP lawyers have accused website after website of patent infringement for using one of the most common Web-encryption strategies: combining the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol with the RC4 encryption algorithm.”
Newegg has been very serious when it comes to fighting patent trolls, whereas Microsoft has been openly feeding patent trolls and using them as a weapon against competitors like Android. We must not let Microsoft portray itself as “against trolls”; Microsoft itself it the troll and it’s the source of the world’s biggest patent troll. Heck, its co-founder is a patent troll, too. The other Microsoft co-founder uses patents for huge profits at taxpayers’ expense. █
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Summary: Microsoft is AstroTurfing and IBM has learned no lessons from mistakes like going along with Microsoft
THE OTHER day we showed that a longtime Microsoft AstroTurfing group, ACT, had morphed again and lobbied for software patents under the pretence that it represented small businesses and developers (to whom software patents are really horrific).
Well, two of the biggest software patentors, IBM and Microsoft, are still at it. As TechDirt put it, “Microsoft’s Intense Lobbying Works: Goodlatte To Drop Plan To Allow For Faster Review Of Bad Software Patents” (software patents).
To quote: “Last week, we wrote about Microsoft’s intense, and somewhat dishonest, lobbying to try to remove one aspect of proposed patent reform: the covered business methods program, which would have allowed approved technology patents to get reviewed by the Patent Office much more quickly. It was based on Senator Chuck Schumer’s plan, which enabled the same feature for patents related to financial services. Many have seen that Schumer’s effort was somewhat successful in stopping bad financial services patents, and so it makes sense to do the same thing for software as well. In fact, it makes more sense, since so many patent lawsuits and patent troll shakedowns involve software-related patents.”
AstroTurfing gets called PR now: “Oh, and to the PR guy from Microsoft who sent me a laughable email trying to argue that Microsoft is supportive of patent reform and that my post was unfair because I didn’t mention that: next time stay on topic. Yes, Microsoft supports some forms of patent reform. Just the kind that stops trolls from hitting it directly. What it doesn’t support is the kind of patent reform that would stop Microsoft’s all too common practice of shaking down all sorts of innovators and entrepreneurs with crazy patent licensing demands from its bundle of patents. No, Microsoft isn’t a patent troll, but it is a patent bully with a lot of bad patents, which apparently it’s scared that real innovators might invalidate a lot of those patents under a covered business method review.”
Here is more on what happened [via] and a reminder that they are “pretending that the problem is “bad” patents rather than software patents in and of themselves,” as iophk put it.
“On Wednesday,” says the article, “the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider legislation aimed at reining in abusive patent litigation. But one of the bill’s most important provisions, designed to make it easier to nix low-quality software patents, will be left on the cutting room floor. That provision was the victim of an aggressive lobbying campaign by patent-rich software companies such as IBM and Microsoft.”
It’s just like what happened in NZ. Those two proprietary software giants and software patents hoarders just can’t help harming society. They do this quietly or by proxy to reduce public backlash. █
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Summary: Microsoft’s shamed proxy “Association for Competitive Technology” (ACT) is reincarnated as “ACT4Apps” and lobbies for software patents, still
HAVING just assaulted Google/Android/Linux by proxy through Rockstar (a patent troll which Microsoft gave patents to  along with smaller Android foes ), Microsoft starts another assault, this time too using software patents. To Microsoft’s service come ACT and the BSA, as usual, plus some Microsoft people who would rather hide where they came from. Leading this assault there’s Jonathan Zuck, as usual. There are lies in their “about” page. Just as Jonathan Zuck and his lackeys pretended to represent thousands of SMBs in Europe they now pretend to be spokespeople for app developers. The site of their new shell says: “ACT has emerged as the leading voice for the app developers who make up the $20 billion app marketplace.”
“If you see “ACT4Apps” mentioned anywhere in the press, be sure to point out to writers/publishers/readers what “ACT4Apps” actually is and who’s behind it.”Really? Liars!
We have already sent a complaint to the FTC about this AstroTurfing parasite, but the FTC is hardly responsive. This disgusting pest called Jonathan Zuck not only works for Microsoft (Microsoft pays him) by promoting software patents; it is the lobbyist who also fought ODF when Microsoft was desperate to defend the monopoly using bribes and all sorts of corruption.
Timothy B. Lee has some people’s testament/information explaining Microsoft’s role in all this. The best article which ties it together comes from Mike Masnick , who also shares a nice new video about patent trolls .
If you see “ACT4Apps” mentioned anywhere in the press, be sure to point out to writers/publishers/readers what “ACT4Apps” actually is and who’s behind it. This isn’t the first time that ACT is nymshifting, moving its staff under a new umbrella with a new name in Washington. This is just another AstroTurf effort, just like “Consumer Watchdog”. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
We’ve seen plenty of skirmishes come and go already, of course, but the latest example — in which that thinly veiled and proprietary minded entity known as “Rockstar” is suing Google and other Android users — is being called nothing short of “thermonuclear” war.
The expression, of course, hearkens back to the words of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who considered Android a “stolen product.” Now, Rockstar — which, not coincidentally, includes Apple — appears to be making good on Jobs’ combative words.
The lawsuit filed by patent troll Rockstar Consortium Inc. on Halloween against Google and at least five makers of Android handsets is about much more than merely the tons of money that would be reaped if the Rockstar cartel prevails. Mainly, it’s about gaining a competitive edge that could result in increased market share down the road.
That letter was actually put together by the BSA (the “Business Software Alliance”), a trade group that pretends it represents “the business software industry,” but which everyone knows takes its marching orders from Microsoft. In a recent interview with a BSA official, Tim Lee at the Washington Post pointed out that Microsoft seems very opposed to the expansion of CBM, and suggests that Microsoft is driving the BSA’s position against this. He also points out that there’s an obvious reason for this: Microsoft has a ton of low-quality patents that it doesn’t want to lose. The BSA official tries to tap dance around the whole thing, but doesn’t make much sense. Basically, they don’t like CBM because there are other ways to deal with bad patents — even though those aren’t working.
Of course, Microsoft is not exactly known for attacking on a single front. Another well-known Microsoft front group is a group called ACT, the Association for Competitive Technology, which calls itself a “grassroots advocacy organization” representing “small and mid-size app developers,” despite the fact that the organization only seems to reflect Microsoft’s interests. ACT has also set up a related organization specifically for app developers, called “ACT 4 APPS” which looks like it’s trying to be what the App Developer’s Alliance actually is, but without actually caring what actual app developers want. For example, last week, it sent a letter to Goodlatte arguing against CBM, just like the BSA, but in complete contrast to the App Developer’s Alliance. The App Developer’s Alliance has hundreds of names signed onto their letter in favor of expanding CBM and being able to knock out bad patents quickly.
In contrast, ACT 4 APPS’ letter could only turn up 14 signatures. And almost all of them appear to have some sort of close connection to… (you guessed it)… Microsoft. One of the signatures is from a former ACT employee, who appears to have just left a few months ago. And with at least ten of the other signatures, they appear to be Microsoft partners.
When you look at the letters from the BSA and from ACT, it seems pretty clear that Microsoft is deathly afraid of this accelerated review of crappy patents, and it’s getting various groups to “front” that effort with letters to Congress. But when you dig deeper into those letters and look, it’s pretty clear this is just Microsoft knowing that an awful lot of its patents are likely to be of very low quality, and easily challenged under such a program. Next time, perhaps Microsoft should focus on actually innovating, rather than betting so much of its strategy on shaking down companies with weak patents.
Over the last few years, Next Media Animation has become something of a cult hit for their famed “Taiwanese animation” of various news events. We’ve written about them a few times, such as when they did a news animation of the outrage over TSA scans and again when they took on SOPA. The folks over there got in touch to let us know that they recently did one on patent trolls…
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Credit: Financial Times
Summary: So-called ‘analysts’, including some from Goldman Sachs, are serving Microsoft’s FUD campaign by claiming that Microsoft makes billions of dollars from Android (without any proof)
IN ORDER TO scare companies and keep them away from Linux, Microsoft needs them to believe that Linux is somehow expensive, with the same going for Android and GNU. For a number of years now we have seen purely speculative reports which try to quantify costs that we know nothing about because Microsoft’s racketeering operation makes secrecy part of the protection racket. This is a pattern of FUD which we are very familiar with, having seen it in the Novell era as well.
Right now we have yet another so-called ‘genius’ trying to tell us that he has an exclusive insight into the income of the racketeering operation. This serves nobody but the racketeering operation and it’s not the first time that we see so-called ‘analysts’ doing this, sometimes even analysts close to Microsoft, including Goldman Sachs. It’s always them, like marketers in suits. We urge people to ignore those so-called ‘geniuses’, who just like secret services  want us to sometimes believe that they have powerful and valuable inside knowledge, even when they’re not inside-trading, which is against the law. According to Business ‘Insider’, “Microsoft is generating $2 billion per year in revenue from Android patent royalties, says Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund in a new note on the company.”
What are his sources? Did Microsoft’s racketeering operation tell him to write that? And is so, can it be believed? The Microsoft which was caught engaging in financial fraud after an employee had blown the whistle? It would be the perfect FUD. Only speculations are still being passed as ‘fact’ by some shallow sites that try to make Android look risky. We can recall many such examples, spanning at least 3 years (an early analyst’s speculation was the cost of Android to HTC after a patent deal with Microsoft). Since Microsoft-hired lobbyists like Florian Müller play a significant role in relaying those numbers, we can safely suspect that there is agenda at hand. Previously, when he spread some FUD about payments from HTC to Apple, he was proven wrong by the head of HTC. Patent deals are as much about generating FUD as they are about generating income (if any). Microsoft, along with Apple, is generating Android FUD and suing Android by proxy now. That’s a different thing.
Watch the type of stuff Apple is patenting right now:
Apple granted patent for location-based camera phone disabling
Last week I was frustrated in my attempt to take a screen grab of a frame from the cartoon Gravity Falls, which I was playing in iTunes on my Mac. The screen grab image showed the player window as gray-and-white checkerboard. Next, I downloaded a 3rd party screen grab application, and it gave me the same result. I ended up taking a photo of the iMac’s display with my camera. (The photo is in this post — it’s the one with the cartoony occult symbols). Thanks to Apple’s bullshit deal with the studios, the image has crappy video artifacts in it.
This type of patents from Apple were mentioned here before. Apple will help crush protests and also impede legal sharing of data. It is worse than DRM.
Speaking of DRM, Microsoft’s allies at Netflix (deep links between those two companies) are going aggressive with patents, seeking a ban (through the ITC) of something which is not even a physical product. “A trade commission investigated Netflix, although it imports nothing,” Joe Mullin correctly pointed out. Perhaps we’ll return to covering patents like we used to (not enough time/resources), but this is just another example of software patents doing their damage. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
It is a belief that has been central to much of the journalism about spying and spies over the past fifty years. That the anonymous figures in the intelligence world have a dark omniscience. That they know what’s going on in ways that we don’t.
It doesn’t matter whether you hate the spies and believe they are corroding democracy, or if you think they are the noble guardians of the state. In both cases the assumption is that the secret agents know more than we do.
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Summary: The patent troll which Microsoft has created to attack Android/Linux is now doing the predictable and Microsoft (mis)uses legal instruments like DMCA as well
Microsoft is not a scapegoat. Microsoft is a criminal company thriving in bribes, sabotage, litigation, racketeering, etc. For anyone who thinks that Microsoft will die peacefully or has somehow become any more benign than before, there’s news to pay attention to. This post is just a quick summary of events which were mostly covered — fairly well in fact — by other sites.
Here is an accurate assessment of where Microsoft stands right now and what it is trying to do. As FOSS Force put it:
About a month ago we decided to speculate on where Microsoft would be five years down the road. Obviously, the company is in transition and is trying to reinvent itself fast. The traditional desktop market, where Windows dominates, isn’t going anywhere and reports of it’s demise are premature, but it is shrinking and becoming much less important, especially in consumer space.
Well, it oughtn’t neglect how Microsoft tried to reinvent itself as just a racketeering company, making money from other people’s work using patents. “Apple/Microsoft-backed Rockstar Consortium suing Samsung and Google over old Nortel patents Rockstar now owns,” says this article, noting that Nokia too has a role to play:
On the heels of the Apple/Microsoft-backed Rockstar Consortium suing Samsung and Google over old Nortel patents Rockstar now owns, Samsung is tying up patent negotiations on another front. Today Flinland’s Nokia announced that it has extended a patent license agreement with the Korean handset giant for another five years, and that the two had entered into binding arbitration to settle additional compensation related to this, expected to be concluded in 2015.
Microsoft staff that’s just “following orders” says that: “We will know that day has arrived when Microsoft quits threatening every open source project under the sun with patent litigation.”
Well, if he feels this way about Microsoft, then why does he work for Microsoft and help it infiltrate the FOSS community? As FOSS Force put it:
The legal papers were filed by Rockstar Consortium, a patent troll owned by Microsoft, Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony. They hold 6,000 plus patents purchased in an auction for $4.5 billion from bankrupt Canadian telecom Nortel. Google had been bidding against Rockstar for the same patents, but dropped out after placing a $4.4 billion bid that didn’t hold up. Not long afterwards, Google bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, in large part for its vast patent portfolio–just in case a patent war broke out.
Again, the patent wars have now gone nuclear.
Rockstar is suing Google and just about every manufacturer of Android phones. The suit against Google seems to be mainly against their search technology. The Android makers are accused of infringing on patents dealing with issues such as “Managing a Virtual Private Network” and “System and Method for Notifying a User of an Incoming Communication Event.” To determine infringement, Rockstar engaged in a lot of reverse engineering.
Like all good patent trolls, Rockstar is using everything it can find as a weapon–even Googles $4.4 billion dollar bid to purchase the patents that are now being used against it. Rockstar claims that to be proof that Google already knew it was in violation, paving the way for a finding of willful infringement–meaning damages can be multiplied by three.
Here is what Linux Insider said about it: “Another legal battle between tech titans is brewing. The winners of the Nortel patent bidding war — Microsoft, Apple, et al — have filed a batch of lawsuits against Google and several Android smartphone manufacturers, charging infringement of a number of those patents. Though a good deal of money may change hands, this will be “a road bump in the smartphone wars,” said IP attorney Peter Toren.”
A good take came from TechDirt:
Patent Troll Shell Company Owned By Microsoft And Apple Launches Massive Patent Attack On Android
About a year and a half ago, we wrote about “Rockstar Consortium,” a shell company set up by Apple and Microsoft (and a few other companies), in which they placed many of the patents they received when they outbid Google to get Nortel’s patents. We noted at the time that one of the reasons regulators let Apple, Microsoft, RIM and others team up to buy these patents without it being an antitrust concern was that they promised that all the patents would be able to be licensed on “reasonable terms.” Except… once they handed them off to Rockstar, that company’s CEO, John Veschi, noted that this promise “does not apply to us.”
Microsoft is misusing laws against Google not just when it comes to patents; here is another new example:
Gmail Stays Up as Google Rejects Microsoft DMCA Takedown Notice
While Google receives millions of DMCA notices for its search service every week, that’s not the only part of its system to be targeted by rightsholders. Working on behalf of entertainment companies, over the past year several anti-piracy companies. Microsoft included, have regularly identified and reported URLs used by Google’s Gmail service as infringing copyright. Fortunately, the system hasn’t come crashing down.
For those who say that Microsoft is just worth ignoring it should be made apparent that it’s not GNU/Linux picking on Microsoft; it’s Microsoft that’s constantly picking on GNU/Linux. Any dislike of Microsoft is very much defensive and for Microsoft to be loathed is a well-earned status. We wrote about Rockstar a long time and we foresaw the above action. It’s cartel with racketeering and Apple plays a role in it too, showing its growing proximity to Microsoft. █
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With Nokia, Microsoft uses patents to ban Linux in Europe
Summary: Another sad reminder of the destructive strategy of Microsoft and its minions in other companies (such as Stephen Elop inside Nokia), not to mention patent trolls
As we have said repeatedly in dozens of posts over the past 2.5 years (see our Nokia index), the Elop-led Microsoft occupation was primarily about Nokia’s patents, of which there’s plenty. Many of those patents affect today’s most popular form factors, including but not limited to smartphones.
Now we have a new example of the Microsoft-owned part of Nokia banning Linux-powered devices:
FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia has won a patent case against HTC in the UK High Court, and will seek a ban on the HTC One smartphone.
Nokia’s legal victory saw the UK High Court rule on Wednesday that Nokia’s EP0998024 patent, described as a “modular structure for a transmitter and a mobile station”, is valid, despite challenge from HTC.
How are British people benefiting from this? Who does the UK High Court protect here?
Well, thank you, Microsoft, for banning Linux. And HTC thought it had partnered with Microsoft for patent peace. A peace for our time…
Google is not choosing to challenge software patents these days, instead joining the rather pointless debate about trolls (Nokia is not a troll, but Microsoft uses the company like it uses patent trolls), so maybe Google deserves some bans before it wakes up and joins us in opposing software patents (with no hypocrisy or a two-faced approach). It is worth mentioning other news that will harm Google. The United States’ surveillance giant Cisco (bigger a spy than the NSA’s strong ally Microsoft) is subsidising Microsoft’s and Nokia’s patent troll (one of several), MPEG-LA. As the British press indirectly put it, Cisco challenges WebM and Ogg by promoting a non-free (patents-encumbered with payments involved) codec:
Networking titan Cisco Systems says it will open source its implementation of the H.264 video codec and release it as a free binary download.
This could make it easier for open-source projects to incorporate real-time streaming video into their software as the company has promised to cover the codec’s patent-licensing fees.
This is an attack on WebM and Ogg — an attack in the form of “a free [gratis, but not to companies] binary download” (helping to make Microsoft’s and Nokia’s patent troll a universal taxman).
This gross distortion of today’s market is clearly the result of software patents. They do absolutely nothing to serve public interests, only to stomp on them. █
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