[theora] Theora patent question

Shayne Wissler wissler at gmail.com
Sat Oct 10 11:28:50 PDT 2009

On Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 11:16 AM, Jason Self <jason.self at gmail.com> wrote:

> While it's true that there are lots of software patents granted each
> year, that fact is actually irrelevant because the number of patents
> to investigate is actually fixed: Think about when Theora made its
> first public appearance. Any patent granted after that date cannot
> threaten Theora because of the prior art.

First of all, that hardly changes the situation, except by some small
fraction. Second of all, you are adding new things all the time, and
probably many of them are clever, and regardless of whether they are
clever or not, they are new things to get sued over.

So--I think you are without a point here. And to your original
point--that I am trying to spread Microsoft FUD--that is an outrageous
and bogus accusation. How about when you don't understand, rather than
you trying to be a mind-reader, you actually ask the person why he's
saying what he's saying. If you'd asked, I'd tell you that has nothing
to do with me trying to spread FUD. It has everything to do with
understanding exactly where Theora stands with respect to patents and

I find it implausible that someone could guarantee that Theora--or any
other substantial piece of software--doesn't infringe (and indeed Xiph
makes no such guarantee). I further think that perhaps most of the
strength of Theora to withstand a patent suit comes not from having
done a thorough patent search (which is impossible), but more from the
open-source nature of it, that the profits aren't centralized, and
therefore there is no single point  of attack that a patent troll
could wage.


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