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A Possible Workaround For The S3TC Patent Situation

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  • #61
    Forcing such an option enabled is certainly bad style and I would not recommend anyone to do that.

    However, Xonotic itself already comes with a S3TC fallback - one I wrote that predates S2TC. It decompresses each of the 4x4 blocks into ONE pixel, by just averaging the two color values and ignoring the pixel data. The rationale is that the affected chipset likely can't handle the full resolution well anyway due to being low on VRAM (or not having any at all, and always using system RAM). This assumption is true for Intel chipsets, and anything DRI - except the more modern DRI supported Radeon cards, and Nouveau - for both of which, non-free but "properly" S3TC supporting drivers are available too.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by F.Ultra View Post
      No that is not how patents work, you can only loose patents by having them invalidated by a court, and that cannot happen due to you letting others use the patent without litigating.

      What you are thinking about it copyright law, if you don't protect your copyright you loose it.

      Yes but it was filed in 1997 which is the date from which the 20 years should be added so it will expire in 2017.
      Patents and copyright are essentially the same thing. If you have a history of NOT protecting your patents, then the courts will be less likely to enforce your patents when you finally do attempt to do so.

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      • #63
        You don't lose copyright unless it expires, what on Earth are you two on about?

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        • #64
          Originally posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
          You don't lose copyright unless it expires, what on Earth are you two on about?
          I'm not sure what he was talking about, but I'm only talking about the court's willingness to enforce IP rights, whether they be through copyright or patent (which really boil down to very similar concepts -- "this information belongs to me"). If you have a history of not being interested in enforcing your IP and then suddenly want to enforce it, but only against a single violator, then there is this question of why. Courts are run by humans, and REALLY like precedent... so if you set a precedent of allowing your IP rights to slide, the court will be less likely to side with you when you finally do want to enforce it... especially if it is just in one specific instance.

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          • #65
            This is how trademarks work. That's why things like Xerox, Hoover and Cola can't be enforced anymore, since they've entered the common language.

            But if you have a patent, you have a patent. Same with copyright. I simply can't imagine the "others violated the copyright before us, so it doesn't count anymore" defense can work anywhere in the world. It's your "right" so you sue at your own discretion, if you feel like it.

            "Intellectual property" is a very misleading concept. It groups very different things together. They work very differently.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
              This is how trademarks work. That's why things like Xerox, Hoover and Cola can't be enforced anymore, since they've entered the common language.

              But if you have a patent, you have a patent. Same with copyright. I simply can't imagine the "others violated the copyright before us, so it doesn't count anymore" defense can work anywhere in the world. It's your "right" so you sue at your own discretion, if you feel like it.

              "Intellectual property" is a very misleading concept. It groups very different things together. They work very differently.
              I'm not arguing with what should or shouldn't be or the technicalities of the various branches of IP. The fact remains that the courts are IMPERFECT and very VERY likely to be swayed by PRECEDENCE.

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              • #67
                Has there ever been a precedent (as in: a court ruling) which ruled that a patent or copyright don't count anymore because you forgot to sue somebody in the past?

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
                  Has there ever been a precedent (as in: a court ruling) which ruled that a patent or copyright don't count anymore because you forgot to sue somebody in the past?
                  Ugh, don't take this the wrong way, but talking to you is like talking to children.
                  The court would never rule like that.

                  Whenever you're in court (for whatever reason -- traffic violation, litigation, etc.), the one thing that you always know is that you can never predict the outcome. Even if it makes complete sense and you KNOW that the judgement should be in your favor. No matter how impartial the judge tries to be, he, like everybody else, is HUMAN and will rule based to some degree on his own personal biases. There is no getting around this. If you give the impression that you're not really serious about your IP, then the judge won't take you seriously and will make a ruling along the lines of "does not apply".

                  If you want your IP rights to be held up in court, you need to be CONSISTENT with the application of the law to defend those rights. Whether the LAW is on your side or not, you aren't presenting your case to a computer, you're presenting it to a HUMAN.

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Qaridarium View Post
                    sure thats it.,.. Germany is the economic biggest part in Europe..

                    you can't talk its free to use in Europe if the biggest part can't use it.

                    Germany overall is the EU pay master if some Greek needs money Germany pay.

                    even if Spain needs money to Germany pay. and maybe Italy next.

                    pay means give unlimited credit.

                    but hey the Germans people do have 10 000 000 000 000 euro... they pay this in cash on hand LOL

                    sure they do have owe of 2 000 000 000 000 but how care?
                    Because only German people work, and the rest of Europe spends it...

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                    • #70
                      That's why you have appeals and higher instances. A judge must follow the letter of the law, and if they fail, the lawyers go piranha on him.

                      I agree that courts are imperfect and all that, but I don't think that what you're talking about has ever actually happened. Courts make strange patent rulings, but will NEVER rule a patent (or copyright) invalid because you did not litigate in the past.

                      I also think that you might want to read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precedent . Without a legal ruling, there is no precedent.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
                        That's why you have appeals and higher instances. A judge must follow the letter of the law, and if they fail, the lawyers go piranha on him.

                        I agree that courts are imperfect and all that, but I don't think that what you're talking about has ever actually happened. Courts make strange patent rulings, but will NEVER rule a patent (or copyright) invalid because you did not litigate in the past.

                        I also think that you might want to read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precedent . Without a legal ruling, there is no precedent.
                        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/precedent
                        Precedent is NOT ALWAYS ABOUT legal rulings. Its what YOU create by YOUR OWN choices. If YOU establish a precedent of not enforcing your rights, it will be accepted that you aren't interested in your rights, but are rather PLAYING GAMES.



                        Do you want the court to realize that ***IT ISN'T REALLY ABOUT THE IP***?
                        Because that is what this discussion is all about....

                        If **THEY KNOW** that you're just using the IP as an excuse to make life miserable for someone, you will NEVER get judgement, no matter how many times you appeal it.
                        Last edited by droidhacker; 07-20-2011, 11:13 AM.

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                        • #72
                          We are talking about legal precendents here dude. Only those are relevant in a court setting. Actual rulings judges can refer to (in common law countries).

                          The fact remains that no patent has been canceled and no book put out of copyright just because somebody did not protect them vigorously enough.

                          What happens is that people try to invalidate patents in other ways -- prior art, showing that it is too broad, arguing that it doesn't really cover what you are doing, etc. This is where lots of strange things happen and where lawyers argue about technicalities and where it's really easy to confuse a judge. They weasel their way around by claiming that they are not really violating the existing, accepted patents or copyright.

                          But you don't "lose" copyright, or patents.

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                          • #73
                            Patents, USA and You.

                            I'm glad to live in a country that doesn't accept software patents, and there are only 3, maybe 4 countries that do. That said...

                            This is the same situation with codecs. No mp3 or h264 playback in your distro? Thats why, BUT... People are misunderstanding something. It is not illegal to distribute software with patented technology, just using it without paying the fee (in these countries).

                            Normally, a software company will pay the fee (annually, per copy, whatever) and add this to the product price. But this doesn't work with free software. Now, a lawful (rich) US citizen could simply find a way to pay the fee for him/her self, and stay in the clear (contacting the patent holder for licensing). This makes perfect sense if you are another large corporation using free software (eg. Apple/Amazon encoding mp3s for their store, because lame is the best encoder).

                            It could be argued that, if you purchase a commercial mp3 encoder, but decide to use lame instead, you already paid the fee. In any case, the responsibility would fall to the individual to make sure all patented technology in use has been paid for...

                            Of course, nobody wants to test this in court and handle the costs involved (much less non-profit community based organizations). Which is why there is a scare about distributing binaries of patented technology in the US, UK, Germany and Japan i think.

                            Lame and x264 are free software as defined by the FSF and comply with the 4 liberties, yet they both use patented technology. Their distribution in the US is NOT illegal, only their usage without having paid the patent fee, in theory (US laws ARE crazy).

                            The patent holders usually don't accept individuals paying directly to them, and thats where intermediaries such as Fluendo can help.

                            Politically, the US is not a democracy. They don't even define it as such, even if it has some democratic elements. The system was made for the rich to have the most influence, and there is nothing richer than whole corporations. People can vote, but they know their votes are next to meaningless, so the abstention is high. They can also talk, and voice their opinion (with some restrictions); but thats about it. Only the rich, organized to lobby politicians can have any influence in decision making. The system was designed as such for the believe that masses are ignorant and prone to mistakes, so better leave the important stuff to the prepared elite...

                            A workaround is to have a degraded software experience for these countries, an "US" compiler flag... A distro could simply warn US users that, if they wish to use xy and z, they need to have paid for themselves the patent fees... Or purchase 3rd party solutions.

                            The whole world should not be dragged behind by the corporate greed of shortsightedness. It is unfair to say the least, and we can't expect any political changes anytime soon. They must be singled out, made ashame in the international scene, at least as deterrent for future countries falling the trap of trade agreements with the US, which ALWAYS involve modifying local laws to comply with US (corporate) laws...

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
                              We are talking about legal precendents here dude. Only those are relevant in a court setting. Actual rulings judges can refer to (in common law countries).
                              No, **WE** are not discussing ANYTHING. YOU showed up late to this discussion and are attempting to inject your idealogical nonsense into a discussion related to REAL precedent. NOT legal precedent.

                              And do yourself a favor, search this thread for the word "precedent". You will see that **I** am the first one to use the word, so don't you DARE try to tell me that **I** mean something besides what I MEAN. I don't know where the hell you come off with this bull.

                              The fact remains that no patent has been canceled and no book put out of copyright just because somebody did not protect them vigorously enough.
                              Fact remains that you have no clue what you're talking about. You need to read into EVERY patent litigation case where judgement was NOT in favor of the plaintiff.... and MIND MELD with the judge to find out what he was thinking. Do this and you will see that yes, LOTS have been decided on this very basis.

                              What happens is that people try to invalidate patents in other ways -- prior art, showing that it is too broad, arguing that it doesn't really cover what you are doing, etc. This is where lots of strange things happen and where lawyers argue about technicalities and where it's really easy to confuse a judge. They weasel their way around by claiming that they are not really violating the existing, accepted patents or copyright.
                              No effin kidding. You don't think that the judge will weigh EVERYTHING in forming his judgement? You think the defendant is going to go up with ONLY ONE ARGUMENT? No, it is about convincing the judge with ALL of your arguments. If the judge SEES that the plaintiff ***ISN'T REALLY SERIOUS***, then he'll pick a reason -- ANY reason, to judge in favor of the defendant.

                              But you don't "lose" copyright, or patents.
                              I never once said that you did. You only lose the ability to consistently defend them.

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Artemis3 View Post
                                Which is why there is a scare about distributing binaries of patented technology in the US, UK, Germany and Japan i think.
                                Don't forget Canada. Same thing here.

                                The system was made for the rich to have the most influence, and there is nothing richer than whole corporations. People can vote, but they know their votes are next to meaningless, so the abstention is high. They can also talk, and voice their opinion (with some restrictions); but thats about it. Only the rich, organized to lobby politicians can have any influence in decision making. The system was designed as such for the believe that masses are ignorant and prone to mistakes, so better leave the important stuff to the prepared elite...
                                In theory, you are totally incorrect.
                                The problem is that the system has been bastardized. These "big evil corporations" as you put it, have the money to pay off corrupt politicians. In theory, this isn't supposed to happen. In theory, things like copyright and patent are there to enforce that these things DO NOT happen. Unfortunately, there is a huge gap between theory and reality.

                                A workaround is to have a degraded software experience for these countries, an "US" compiler flag... A distro could simply warn US users that, if they wish to use xy and z, they need to have paid for themselves the patent fees... Or purchase 3rd party solutions.

                                The whole world should not be dragged behind by the corporate greed of shortsightedness. It is unfair to say the least, and we can't expect any political changes anytime soon. They must be singled out, made ashame in the international scene, at least as deterrent for future countries falling the trap of trade agreements with the US, which ALWAYS involve modifying local laws to comply with US (corporate) laws...
                                While in theory, you could split things between US and non-US, this isn't a viable solution because despite what you say about distribution vs use of patented "technology", as a distro distributor.... you KNOW that your users will use that code, whether they've paid for it or not... and unfortunately, this does make you responsible in the eyes of the law.

                                A much better long term solution than splitting things up like that is to modify the US. At some point, it *will* become too much, and people will get pissed, and things will come to the point of revolution. Not yet though, the average American doesn't feel it yet.

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