[theora] As I've said before...

xiphmont at xiph.org xiphmont at xiph.org
Fri May 21 13:20:25 PDT 2010

No one here likes software patents.  The system may work well in other
industries, but for software it's clearly broken. (Actually, as an
antique sewing machine collector and history nut, the system broke
down similarly in the heydey of the industrial revolution too. There
were simply far too few experienced inspectors familiar with the
technology for the USPTO to keep up or function effectively.  The
battles between Singer, Davis, Howe, et al should be instructive.)

What the 'tiptoeing', as you put it, accomplishes is not putting more
money than necessary in the hands of the 'enemy'.  My objection to
x264 is not philosophical; those guys hate software patents as much as
I do.  But by building the world's best h.264 for free and effectively
handing it to the patent powers for nothing, they've even done all the
enemy's work for them.  For MPEG-LA, h.264 becomes a pure profit play;
they don't even have to build a good encoder (the hardest part).  All
that money that x264 brings MPEG-LA goes straight to paying lawyers to
prop up the patent system as it currently stands.

Free competition isn't possible until the patent system is either
broken or put back into working balance (hey, it's possible.  Probably
more likely than abolishing it).


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