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A Possible Workaround For The S3TC Patent Situation

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  • Originally posted by crispy View Post
    Actually it does if they dont sue and know about the 'infringing'.
    The owners of the MP3 patents would beg to differ.

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    • Originally posted by smitty3268 View Post
      The owners of the MP3 patents would beg to differ.
      Isn't that Thomson/Fraunhofer? The mp3 patents should be expiring soon

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      • Originally posted by DeepDayze View Post
        Isn't that Thomson/Fraunhofer? The mp3 patents should be expiring soon
        2017 for the last of them.

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        • The point is that the patents weren't enforced early on, but then after the mp3 format was being used everywhere they suddenly started charging money and threatening people with lawsuits. I never heard anyone claim that their patents weren't valid just because they didn't enforce them immediately.

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          • Originally posted by F.Ultra View Post
            But that makes the distribution liable for "enabling their users to use the patent without a license" and that will probably be seen as illegal by a court.
            I think the best reasonable argument in your favour would be "nobody knows and that's a risk". But I imagine it's tough to prove any intent to enable infringement as long as you clearly state it's illegal in the US and merely point to a 3rd party howto or package. It's just as enabling as saying "I hear you can smoke pot in Amsterdam".

            There's the other option: distros doing nothing at all about it. In which case, many users could still find about such a workaround.

            Originally posted by F.Ultra View Post
            They can freely choose when and who to sue at any time. Even if they knew that you used the patent they can sue you 19 years later and claim damages due to 19 years of you using the patent without paying a license.

            Add to that that sometime in the future probably even individual users will be targeted, the patent trolls like Lodsys consists only of layers so for them to litigate in court is completely free of charge, while you have to pay your lawyer a substantial amount of money meaning that you will more likely pay a settlement than bring the case to court (this is how the entertainment industry earns money from (supposedly) file sharers).
            I assume they still need some evidence. Otherwise they'd just go about suing every poor fellow. Besides, I'm not so sure how common such litigation against end-users is, even in case of copyright infringement.

            If it's assurance you want, then maybe effort is better spent at developing solutions for making possible infringement invisible or at least untraceable. That effort earns you more in the long run, considering the other proposed solution is finding alternatives to encumbered technology every time the issue comes up.

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            • Originally posted by deanjo View Post
              2017 for the last of them.
              so in 6 years then the mp3 patents expire..but who knows if Thomson/Fraunhofer could tinker with it and then extend the patents another 17 years...

              as for the S3TC patents I certainly hope they can be put into a patent pool like OIN's

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              • But I imagine it's tough to prove any intent to enable infringement as long as you clearly state it's illegal in the US and merely point to a 3rd party howto or package. It's just as enabling as saying "I hear you can smoke pot in Amsterdam".
                Unfortuantely it's slightly different cases since the smoking pot thing is a criminal case and the patent is a civil case. And for criminal cases you have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, something that does not exist for civil cases. Now I don't know exactly how this would be treated by a US court but here in Sweden we have had at least two civil cases of the "I hear you can smoke pot in Amsterdam" type (the Pirate Bay case and a case where someone posted links to hockey matches in a discussion forum [the provider didn't protect their streams with username/password and relied simply on obscured URLs]) and both cases was a win for the copyright holder.

                As far as distributions go, I think that they don't want to even get close to do something that can be seen as illegal regardless of how silly you and me think that the patent system are or how little risk they have of getting sued (even a tiny risk should be enough for them to want to avoid it all together).
                I assume they still need some evidence. Otherwise they'd just go about suing every poor fellow. Besides, I'm not so sure how common such litigation against end-users is, even in case of copyright infringement.
                The thing is that they don't have to sue so they don't have to present any evidence, they simply send you a letter demanding that you pay them $1000 or else they will sue you for $1000000 and there is numerous examples of people that pay without even knowing if they really where guilty or not (there is a Danish film company Zootropia that made more money with these letters than they had with their movies).

                The only viable solution to me is to abolish the software patents. Fortunately we still have won every battle in Europe so far but who knows how long before they sneak it through the backdoor somehow, ACTA seams like a good candidate for that.

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                • So, is there any talk of this being included in Mesa? Looks like a major piece of the puzzle, but the legal issues could muzzle it.

                  Hopefully this will make it in sooner rather than later, when everyone's moved onto some other texture format and we're back to square one again.

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                  • Originally posted by monkeynut View Post
                    So, is there any talk of this being included in Mesa? Looks like a major piece of the puzzle, but the legal issues could muzzle it.

                    Hopefully this will make it in sooner rather than later, when everyone's moved onto some other texture format and we're back to square one again.
                    http://lists.freedesktop.org/archive...st/010039.html

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                    • Originally posted by smitty3268 View Post
                      The point is that the patents weren't enforced early on, but then after the mp3 format was being used everywhere they suddenly started charging money and threatening people with lawsuits. I never heard anyone claim that their patents weren't valid just because they didn't enforce them immediately.
                      Someone is confusing patents with trademark law.

                      Patents, copyright, and trademarks are lumped in as "Intellectual Property" but they are very, very different things, and the rules that apply for one do not at all apply for another.

                      Trademarks can be lost if they are not enforced. Sort of. Kinda. A little.

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