Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 31st Jul 2011 21:27 UTC, submitted by kristoph
Multimedia, AV Ah yes, the MPEG-LA, the company that patent-trolled before it was cool (now every schmuck like Apple and Microsoft do it too). Remember how they once called for companies to step if they had any patents Google's VP8 might be infringing upon? After almost a decade of empty threats against Theora, the MPEG-LA finally started actually doing something. Now they claim (in an interview with streamingmedia.com) twelve companies have stepped up - but, in true MPEG-LA fashion, which patents VP8 supposedly infringes upon remains shrouded in mystery.
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Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Sun 31st Jul 2011 21:46 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

MPEG-LA companies biggest revenue comes not from the Web, but from hardware manufacturers, who have to pay license fees for implementing H.264 in cameras, digital players and etc. Google obviously wants to push WebM beyond the Web as well, and make it ubiquitous in hardware world. That's why MPEG-LA gets nervous now. Hopefully antitrust regulations will put those trolls in place.

Edited 2011-07-31 21:49 UTC

Reply Score: 11

RE: Comment by shmerl
by westlake on Mon 1st Aug 2011 15:40 UTC in reply to "Comment by shmerl"
westlake Member since:
2010-01-07

MPEG-LA companies biggest revenue comes not from the Web, but from hardware manufacturers, who have to pay license fees for implementing H.264 in cameras, etc. Google obviously wants to push WebM beyond the Web as well, and make it ubiquitous in hardware world. That's why MPEG-LA gets nervous now. Hopefully antitrust regulations will put those trolls in place.


Where to begin?

The H.264 licensors are global giants in R&D and manufacturing.

Mitsubishi. Philips. Samsung. Sony. Toshiba. About thirty in all, and none of them known for rolling over and playing dead for anyone.

Some of them have researching modern television systems from the days when Baird was still mucking around with the Nipkov disk.

Google licences three MPEG LA patent pools. MPEG-2. MPEG-4. AVC/H.264.

There are 1,030 licensees in the H.264 patent pool alone.

That may give you some idea of how difficult finding a comercially viable solution for video compression really is.

How hard it will be for WebM to gain traction.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Mon 1st Aug 2011 16:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by shmerl"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

MPEG-LA pretends to think that such monopoly built from individual patents is legal. But in essence it's just an attempt to circumvent antitrust regulations.

Reply Score: 6

Deadlock in 2012?
by jakubsafar.cz on Sun 31st Jul 2011 23:34 UTC
jakubsafar.cz
Member since:
2007-09-21

One day, a patent bank will be created. Something like ratio of Suing/BeingSued will mean more than money. Shortly, first exchange starts operating. And first Black Friday will happen after some time. Too many companies will go bankrupt at once because of bad S/BS ratio. State would not be capable of intervention since wealthiest corporations will fully control the economy. The patents will change from implementation to whole areas of thinking. Minefields will be too large to make any development possible outside largest corporations. Hopefully, after whole economy will turn to standstill, close to the deadlock, largest players will agree on granting rights to think and develop country-wide for a new "Think tax". Any living being, including monkeys and trained dogs will be paying every year 10% to the S/BS Bank, which will divide this income among top players. Or maybe, the best thing would be to simply erase whole software patent debacle before it gets too bad.

Reply Score: 5

Empty threats
by WorknMan on Mon 1st Aug 2011 00:49 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

If we're going to have software patents, I think it should be required for a patent holder to name the actual patents in question when they start making threats. For example, 'you're violating our patents, but we're not gonna tell you which ones' is just BS.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Empty threats
by galvanash on Mon 1st Aug 2011 03:43 UTC in reply to "Empty threats"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Thats just it though... MPEGLA doesn't own any patents and thusly can't actually sue anyone for patent infringement... They simply manage a patent pool -there job is not to sue infringers, it is to sell them licenses. As such, they can get away with saying pretty much anything they want. In the end it is all empty threats. They themselves have no teeth, their job is to bark.

Until a patent holder steps forward we should just ignore all the yelping...

Edited 2011-08-01 03:46 UTC

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: Empty threats
by Carewolf on Mon 1st Aug 2011 10:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Empty threats"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

I thought MPEG-LA's job was also to "bite". They have the right and obligation to collect license fees on behalf of their members. So if the patents are entrusted to them, they should be able to sue.. So why don't they?

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Empty threats
by Thomas2005 on Mon 1st Aug 2011 12:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Empty threats"
Thomas2005 Member since:
2005-11-07

I thought MPEG-LA's job was also to "bite". They have the right and obligation to collect license fees on behalf of their members. So if the patents are entrusted to them, they should be able to sue.. So why don't they?

MPEG-LA said 12 parties (i.e. patent holders) have stepped up, but that is all that has been done at the moment. Most likely, MPEG-LA is researching the claims for validity and figuring out the best way to set up "payment plans" before they take any legal action. If the claims are questionable then they could be working on a FUD campaign.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Empty threats
by TechGeek on Mon 1st Aug 2011 15:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Empty threats"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

The job of the MPEG-LA is just to collect license fees. They don't own the patents. They are just a broker. Only the patent owner can sue for infringement.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Empty threats
by Icaria on Mon 1st Aug 2011 08:17 UTC in reply to "Empty threats"
Icaria Member since:
2010-06-19

How is this different from any other FUD or PR manoeuvring? Companies talk shit all the time, why should they be exempt from talking shit about patent portfolios?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Empty threats
by MollyC on Tue 2nd Aug 2011 02:08 UTC in reply to "Empty threats"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

My understanding is that patent holders do tell those to whom they make threats which patents are at issue. But they do it under NDA. If they actually go to court, then they publicly disclose which patents are at issue.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that Google knows that they infringe patents right and left, and knows which ones. Which is why they don't indemnify any of their clients.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Empty threats
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Aug 2011 03:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Empty threats"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

My understanding is that patent holders do tell those to whom they make threats which patents are at issue. But they do it under NDA.


An NDA is a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Note the operative word, "agreement".

Patent Troll: "You stole my idea"!

Patent Troll: "I am threatening you with a lot of trouble".

Troll's victim: "What idea is that"?

Patent Troll: "I am not going to tell you unless you agree to tell no-one else".

Troll's victim: "Why should I agree to that"?

Troll's victim: "Since you can't say what the alleged idea was, go away you silly person."

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Empty threats
by henderson101 on Wed 3rd Aug 2011 11:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Empty threats"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

In my experience, it happens more like this:

Option 1: the Long game

Org 1: "Hi we'd like to do business with you"

Org 2: "Okay, here is an NDA"

(time passes - CEO's change)

Org 2: "We believe you are now infringing on our patents"

Org 1: "Drat!"

Option 2: the kicker

Org 2: "We have released our cool new API!!"

Org 1: "See you in court"

Org 2: "Wha? What did we do?"

Org 1: "Sign this NDA and we can talk, else you'll have to wait. Meanwhile we will make bad press for you!"

Org 2: "Drat!"

Reply Score: 2

Congrats for propagating a press release ...
by MacTO on Mon 1st Aug 2011 04:04 UTC
MacTO
Member since:
2006-09-21

I'm sorry, but MPEG-LA put out a 'press release' that was intended to spread FUD and you did their bidding by publishing it. Sure you added a negative spin. I'm sure that most of the comments on it are going to be negative too. But it helps them accomplish their goals, which is plain old irresponsible.

If this was real news, we would know: which patents are involved (ideally), which companies are involved (minimally), or at least what course of action MPEG-LA is taking (on a slow news day). At least then people would have a better chance of determining what the future of VP8 is.

Reply Score: 7

Icaria Member since:
2010-06-19

Reporting on it isn't the problem, information is good. The (overt) 'negative spin' is a problem, however. Point out that there's still no substance to MPEG-LA's claims, sure, great, you'll be doing a better job of covering the issue than Ars* but the constant accusations of 'trolling' and vitriol are counter-productive and just make this look like a desperate attack piece.

* http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2011/07/mpeg-la-12-companies-own-pa...

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

What, I'm not supposed to inform people that Larry Horn is a patent troll? Considering he leads a patent consortium - that seems like some pretty vital information. I think the fact that other publications ignore this fact is far more worrying than my usual somewhat over-the-top style.

Reply Score: 11

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Yes, because Slashdot is only about slashes and dots, The New York Times is only about New York, the Washington Post is a daily periodical on the state of posts in Washington, and so on, and so forth.

OSNews has changed its scope over the years, and this change was clearly announced and completed over 2.5 years ago. If you read OSNews, you'll have to deal with my quirky writing style. I do this for fun, and as such, that's going to be reflected in the writing. I'm sorry if you don't like that, but hey, we can't be all things to all people.

Reply Score: 7

David Member since:
1997-10-01

His point doesn't seem to be that we're straying from the "OS" part of our mandate, but rather that you, we, whoever are putting too much editorial into our news. I think that's a valid criticism, because I think you can go to far in one direction or the other. A media outlet can be too impartial, and you end up inadvertently giving crazy ideas and bad people a fair shake they don't deserve. But we could also take sides too brazenly, to the point that legitimate concerns are ignored or belittled.

Now I personally feel pretty strongly about IP issues, and support having OSNews have an official IP reform editorial position. I also think that IP issues are crucial to the future of computing technology, so it's on-topic to talk about.

However, it's also a legitimate complaint to say, "I don't want OSNews to become merely a clearinghouse for IP issues." Or, "Enough with the patent-related postings already!"

So I'd recommend that we stay on guard, even though we're comfortable with our pro-patent reform editorial position, not to get too fanatical about it. And make sure it's not crowding out other news.

Reply Score: 4

fran Member since:
2010-08-06

Their is a lot of variety news on osnews.
Think we are over critical on that. Me sinner as well.
This software IP issue is so important that we need such articles to win over the hearts and minds of people.

Reply Score: 4

Icaria Member since:
2010-06-19

Your 'over the top' style is the problem, though; it borders on demagoguery. Being the much-needed voice of reason is not the same thing as being another talking head and incensing the perennially outraged masses.

You also almost buried the lead under background information and analysis (the first link in this story doesn't even lead to this story but an equally incendiary piece you'd written previously). If you want to editorialise, try to separate it from your informational content: at least keep the opening paragraph as uncoloured as possible, then introduce background info and your own interpretation in the subsequent paragraphs. Instead, you're written this so that we're supposed to hate MPEG-LA before we even find out what they've said.

Reply Score: 3

1c3d0g Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't see what's wrong with that. NOTHING GOOD has ever come out of this fucking MPEG-LA cartel. Yes, they're just like organized crime, that's what they really are.

Pretty soon, if they aren't stopped by *somebody*, you won't be able to watch your own God damned home video's without having to pay them your hard-earned cash. These bleeding trolls must be stopped at all costs!

Reply Score: 3

Icaria Member since:
2010-06-19

I don't see what's wrong with that.
Probably because you happen to agree with his conclusions. That's rather besides the point, however.

Reply Score: 1

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

What, I'm not supposed to inform people that Larry Horn is a patent troll? Considering he leads a patent consortium - that seems like some pretty vital information. I think the fact that other publications ignore this fact is far more worrying than my usual somewhat over-the-top style.


I find it amusing watching you anti-patent people twist yourselves in knots over something that you simply can't find a way to change.

Reply Score: 2

It's "hot air" - nothing more
by obsidian on Mon 1st Aug 2011 07:58 UTC
obsidian
Member since:
2007-05-12

I'm willing to bet that this MPEG-LA nonsense is all "hot air" and that there's nothing in it.
If they *really* had something, they'd be a lot more upfront about it. I say they're *bluffing*.

They will try to keep the masses guessing, just like SCO did, and just like SCO, they will go down in a burning heap.

Reply Score: 7

Filter?
by judgen on Mon 1st Aug 2011 13:41 UTC
judgen
Member since:
2006-07-12

As i am logged in, could there not be a setting somewhere where i can disable the viewing of articles categorized to patents and mobile phone news? None of them interest me at all any more.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Filter?
by MOS6510 on Mon 1st Aug 2011 15:58 UTC in reply to "Filter?"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

But then you'd be left staring at an empty white page.

Reply Score: 4