Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 29th Mar 2007 22:07 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Microsoft Software behemoth Microsoft could be one of the biggest losers from proposed license changes to the Linux operating system unveiled Wednesday. That's a possible outcome of updates to the license pushed by the FSF. The FSF wants to make mutually exclusive pacts such as the Novell-Microsoft open-source agreement a violation of the next iteration of the GNU GPL, the license that governs Linux use. "It is unfortunate that the FSF is attempting to use the GPLv3 to prevent future collaboration among industry leaders to benefit customers," said Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's vice president of intellectual property and licensing.
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RE
by lemur2 on Fri 30th Mar 2007 03:21 UTC in reply to "RE"
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

{ So does a codec (audo/video/whatever) fall under the realm of software? }

Yes, it does.

{ In other words, should a codec fall under copyright or patent? } }

Copyrights are meant to be able to restrict the copying of published works, so copyright could apply to published software code to protect that particular expression. Copyrights should not apply to works that are not published. You could argure that you can copyright the exact binary pattern in any given executable, and that would not prevent independent competing implementations from being written, so that is fair enough. You can then sue people who sell direct binary copies of your executable codec files without your permission.

Patents should apply to "inventive methods of doing <some function>". Not to "<some function>" per se. It is very debateable if a "codec" represents a patentable invention or not, just as it is entirely debateable if patents should apply to any software. Even Microsoft, apparently, have argued in court that patents should not apply to pure software.

{ IMHO, if you spend hundreds or thousands of dollar and/or man hours developing something like that, you deserve to be compensated for it monetarily. }

No problem with that. You can sell your version of your codec for as much as you think it will sell for.

I can't see a valid arguement for giving away a codec for free but at the same time trying to prevent other people from writing an independant implementation of the same codec ... especially if they write it for a platform that you do not support yourself.

{ While some would choose to give their work away for the greater good of man, we're not all socialists ;) }

While some would desire to restrict other people from doing original work in competition to themselves, fortunately we are not all despotic control freaks.

Edited 2007-03-30 03:30

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE
by Almafeta on Fri 30th Mar 2007 03:55 in reply to "RE"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Not to "<some function>" per se. It is very debateable if a "codec" represents a patentable invention or not, just as it is entirely debateable if patents should apply to any software.

Just to note, as patenting algorithms is specifically permitted by the U.S. Constitution, this is not something likely to change -- unless, for some reason, some court decides that computers don't use algorithms (which is entirely possible given the level of understanding of computers that courts the world over have repeatedly shown) or some senator decides to pass an amendment.

While some would desire to restrict other people from doing original work in competition to themselves, fortunately we are not all despotic control freaks.

Protecting yourself != restricting others. Others will have the same ability to create something new as they have always had. They just can't force you to do something that you don't want to do, just so they have an easier time of it.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE
by lemur2 on Fri 30th Mar 2007 05:26 in reply to "RE"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{ Protecting yourself != restricting others. }

Likewise, writing a codec, distributing a binary executable for Windows only, then trying to prevent others from writing a new implementation of that codec for another platform != protecting yourself. You don't have anything to sell for that other platform, therefore you are not harmed by the newly-written codec.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE
by dylansmrjones on Fri 30th Mar 2007 11:25 in reply to "RE"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Just to note, as patenting algorithms is specifically permitted by the U.S. Constitution

Woot? O_o ... where do you read that? The word "patent" isn't in the Constitution, nor is the word "invention" or "algorithm".

The Constitution says in article 1, section 8:

The Congress shall have Power To...

...promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;


http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#A1Sec8

Getting patents are not a right according to the Constitution but a possibility IF the Congress chooses so.

It does permit software patents, but it does not do so specifically.

Protecting yourself can restrict others if you protect yourself by restricting other individuals. Patents are such a restriction. Others will not have the same ability to create something new if you hold a patent, since their very own idea has become a government granted monopoly. They are barred from implementing their own ideas and barred from competition.

A few decades ago algorithms could not be patented in USA. As far as I recall it a court ruling in the 1970'es changed this. It could be changed back of course.

They just can't force you to do something that you don't want to do, just so they have an easier time of it.

That one doesn't make sense. Nobody is forcing you to do anything against your will by not granting you a monopoly on an idea (or a specific implementation of said idea). The Government is however forcing people to NOT do something their are otherwise capable of by granting you a monopoly. Your idea is not your property until you have received a Government granted monopoly. Until then it's public domain due to the fact that more than one person can get the same idea independently of eachother.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE
by gustl on Mon 2nd Apr 2007 14:46 in reply to "RE"
gustl Member since:
2006-01-19

Just to note, as patenting algorithms is specifically permitted by the U.S. Constitution

I am sorry, but that is not true.
That is the very long stretched interpretation of the USPTO and the courts that handle patent cases (special courts for IP laws).

It is NOT the interpretation of the highest US court. That court refused to take a case regarding the patentability of software ideas until this date.

What is in the US constitution is merely the statement, that the congress CAN (not MUST!!!) give a limited time monopoly to inventors in exchange for their making the invention public.

How far away a usual software patent tody is from the ideas of the constitution writes can be easily seen.
What exactly is not patentable is also given: Mathematics. And software code is pure Mathematics.

A Mathematician cannot patent his solutions to mathematical problems, as well as a programmer should not be able to patent his solutions to a mathematical problem (like data compression is one).
The line should be drawn where actual physics (and knowledge and innovative use of phsics) is necessary.

If you make an algorithm to have a better anti-locking brake, then the use of this algorithm for physical anti-locking brakes should be patentable, the use of the same algorithm in a video-codec should not be patentable. In effect this is the interpretation of most european courts of almost the same wording in their respective constitutions.

Reply Parent Score: 1