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[Esp-action-alert] MPEG LA's attack on VP8 video highlights need for sof

From: Ciaran O'Riordan
Subject: [Esp-action-alert] MPEG LA's attack on VP8 video highlights need for software patent abolition
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2011 19:03:46 +0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.1 (gnu/linux)

+++ MPEG LA's attack on VP8 video highlights need for software patent abolition 

 - Press Statement from Ciarán O'Riordan, Executive Director, End Software 

MPEG LA is blatantly trying to claim a monopoly on online video.  The patent
system is failing for software, and initiatives to "fix" the system are not
working.  A clear exclusion of software ideas from patentability is the only
workable solution.

VP8 is an attempt to free the software industry and all software developers
from this patent troll.  MPEG LA did not develop VP8 but it wants to own it

What MPEG LA is now doing to VP8 is the same as what it previously did to
another popular video format, MPEG h.264 (no relation, despite similar
name).  MPEG LA claims to represent 1,000 patents which are essential for
anyone wishing to develop or distribute software which supports this format.
With a patent thicket that size, reviewing the validity of the patents is
impossible.  The element of chance in court cases also means that even if
they were all invalid, courts couldn't be relied on to find this in all 1000

As for what's practical, many software developers and distributors are
individuals and small businesses.  These usually have neither the resources
nor the time to investigate or refute even a single accusation of patent

MPEG LA wields thus a veto over everyone who wants to use that video format.
MPEG LA can block other people's development models and business models if
it finds these inconvenient or insufficiently profitable for MPEG LA.  It
can extract revenues from those it does permit to use the format, and it
creates a cloud of legal uncertainty over all video software because the
terms of use can be changed now or in the future.

People use the h.264 format not by choice but by necessity.  In computing,
compatibility with existing data formats is essential.  If you write a video
player and it can't play the videos that already exist, it is not a
functional video player.

Because the profile of developers of software is so different from the
profile of developers in industrial fields, the checks and balances of the
system have no effect.  Despite well-funded attempts in recent years to
"improve the system", the MPEG LA problem is worsening.  The only practical
solution is for software to be clearly excluded from patentability.

Financial support for End Software Patents is very welcome:

+++ Contact info +++

Ciarán O'Riordan
+32 487 64 17 54

+++ About End Software Patents +++

Since 2008, End Software Patents (ESP) works to eliminate patents which
prevent the development or distribution of software.  ESP participates in
government consultations and court cases, and provides information resources
to enable local citizens to participate effectively in these processes. For
more information on participating in the project, or to access its knowledge
base, please visit its website at:

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