[theora] Theora patent question
remco47 at gmail.com
Sat Oct 10 01:30:09 PDT 2009
On Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 10:00, Shayne Wissler <wissler at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.
Xiph have investigated the matter and came to the conclusion that
Theora probably doesn't infringe on any patents. 'Probably not' is
about the best you can get for a patent situation. Xiph can't make
their findings public, because if they would, it would give attackers
a list of patents that are probably not infringed, but can still be
Freetype has a few known patented technologies, which are #ifdef-ed
out at compile time by default. No known patented technology is being
used by default.
Linux infringes on no known technologies. Microsoft says Linux is
infringing on $scarynumber of their patents, but they deliberately
don't list them. OIN bought a few patents from Microsoft, which turned
out to be quite dubious. As always, the scare of patents is enough to
make money off of.
Software patents suck.
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