[theora] Theora patent question

Shayne Wissler wissler at gmail.com
Sat Oct 10 01:00:49 PDT 2009

Does the reason Theora is relatively safe from patent infringement
lawsuit have more to do with it actually not being encumbered, or is
it because its use is decentralized?

For example, FreeType is not patent-free, nor is Linux, yet they
succeed because on the one hand, they are open source, and those who
maintain them do not guarantee anything regarding patents, it is up to
each individual user to deal with those issues; and on the other hand,
the very fact that it's not one but many infringers makes it far more
difficult for a patent troll to extract anything. People use Linux
even though Microsoft (for example) is known to have patents that
cover parts of it; and people could probably use the patented
algorithms in FreeType without being worried about a suit.

I for one doubt that Theora truly does not infringe on some patent or
other, because I believe that the way the patent system works today,
it is impossible to write anything of significance without
accidentally "trespassing" on this or that patent.


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