Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 26th Aug 2011 22:06 UTC, submitted by Morgan
Legal And we have another contender for the stupidest technology-related lawsuit of 2011. Do you remember RealNetworks? The scourge of '90s web users? Lucky for us, their horrible media player is no longer a requirement on the web. Also lucky, for those of us who occasionally run into content encoded in any of Real's codecs, there's Real Alternative (download here). Well, apparently, RealNetworks is not happy with Real Alternative (download here), as the US company has completely destroyed the life of the Dutch maintainer of a website who dared to link to Real Alternative (download here).
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Alex Hitech
Member since:
2005-12-29

Well, actually I didn't update my profile for a long time. Since August 22, 2009 I'm working for Microsoft.

I discourage infringing of patents, strongly believe in intellectual property and think that copyright is good. Actually, if anyone actively, consciously and by his own will infringes the property rights of any other developer, never mind a private person or an organization, he should be ready for fight - and, in my opinion, must be sentenced to punishment.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

There are so many conflicting stories here.... frankly I can't tell which is true!

If he was merely linking, well there's nothing morally wrong with that. I doubt there's anything even legally wrong with it either.

If he distributed a clone without violating copyrights or patents, there's nothing wrong or illegal with that.

If he distributed an independent clone which infringed software patents only, he's morally in the clear, but the law's an ass (he may be liable for "damages" caused by his clone).

If he distributed an unlicensed copy of real software codec, then he's both morally and legally wrong.

If this is about "real alternative" violating a real networks trademark, my personal opinion is that real networks customers won't be confused, but I guess it could go either way.


Who knows anymore, these days corporations can use the law for intimidation even if nothing illegal was done. And with judicial incompetency being at an all time, particularly around technology, nobody knows how they'll rule.

Reply Parent Score: 3

cmchittom Member since:
2011-03-18

It's rare enough that I find a comment in a discussion online with which I completely and totally agree, that I thought it was worth mentioning. Well said. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

delta0.delta0 Member since:
2010-06-01

Your such an ass.

If it wasnt for IBM letting a hardware patent be ignored and allowing compaq to run with the reverse engineered bios we wouldnt have the pc market today and Microsoft would probably have been a nothing company.

The company you work for Microsoft spent its whole beginnings copying and ripping off other people.. Lets see they bought QDOS, renamed it MSDOS, but QDOS was a rip off of DRI CP/M. Lets ignore the DRDOS random error messages win would throw out.

Then there was Windows itself a direct rip off of MacOS .

Yes I can see why you hold such staunch views about IP protection and copyright laws, this is why you work for Microsoft, in other words your a hypocritical Ass.

Reply Parent Score: -1

BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

They didn't let "a hardware patent" be ignored, they fought compaq in court and failed. it wasn't just "a hardware patent" Compaq had reverse engineered the frigging original BIOS.

IBM didn't let anything go, they lost horrifically, and that allowed the PC to take over the world.

Reply Parent Score: 4

viton Member since:
2005-08-09

Every experienced programmer infringes a thousands of patents every year. There is no way around

Edited 2011-08-27 12:07 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

Your boss must be really proud ;) [edit: referring to "I'm working for Microsoft."]

Anyway, this story seems a total mess. But if they asked him to remove links, and he complied, then suing him was over the line and stupid. Apart from all the theoretical (c) infringement, IP protection and whatnot else. Real video/audio/player all are a thing of the past anyway, nobody is going to sympathize with them. Well, except maybe some other companies who see their magnificent products surpassed by others (yes, I'm going too far here, but just take a look at comments above, it goes both ways) and can't do else but sue, and then not even the creators, but some who link to it? Doesn't get any more stupid than that.

Edited 2011-08-27 14:32 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Well, FYI, this makes you the lowest possible form of scum.

A blind faith in the law is the worst kind of stupidity. Stupid laws should be willfully violated by everyone at all times. In fact, this is pretty much the norm everywhere. Only people who are mentally broken or deeply sick believe in laws over people. There are a lot of you about, I'll admit, and that's surely a problem.

Okay, mod me down for being mean. Go ahead, I can take it.

Reply Parent Score: 3

boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

Simply believing that a given legal regime is working or is a social benefit does not constitute "blind faith in law." Believing that a given legal regime is a good thing because it was arbitrarily already the law would be, but that's not what he said; he believes copyright protections are a good thing because of the effect they have.

I share your frustration with the flaws in copyright law, but I believe in rule of law as a public good, and I think the system we have works more than it doesn't.

Reply Parent Score: 2

cmchittom Member since:
2011-03-18

Stupid laws should be willfully violated by everyone at all times.


What are your moral and/or philosophical grounds for this statement? I ask because, while I agree that there are many stupid laws, I tend to believe that one is only justified in willfully violating them when they directly infringe someone's natural rights.

Reply Parent Score: 1