Monty writes: "Thomson Multimedia made their first veiled patent threats against
Vorbis almost ten years ago. MPEG-LA has been rumbling for the
past few years. Maybe this time it will actually come to
something, but it hasn't yet. I'll get worried when the lawyers advise
me to; i.e., not yet.
netcrawler writes "Steve Jobs' open letter on Flash has prompted someone at the Free Software Foundation Europe to ask him about his support of proprietary format H.264 over Theora. Jobs' pithy answer (email with headers) suggests Theora might infringe on existing patents and that 'a patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other "open source" codecs now.' Does he know something we don't?"
Update: 05/01 00:38 GMT
: Monty Montgomery of Xiph
(the group behind Theora
, as well as Ogg Vorbis
, and more) provides a pointed, skeptical response to the implicit legal threat, below.
The MPEG-LA has insinuated for some time that it is impossible to
build any video codec without infringing on at least some of
their patents. That is, they assert they have a monopoly on all
digital video compression technology, period, and it is illegal to even attempt
to compete with them. Of course, they've been careful not to say
quite exactly that.
If Jobs's email is genuine, this is a powerful public gaffe ('All video
codecs are covered by patents.') He'd be confirming MPEG's assertion
in plain language anyone can understand. It would only strengthen
the pushback against software patents and add to Apple's increasing
PR mess. Macbooks and iPads may be pretty sweet, but creative
individuals don't really like to give their business to jackbooted thugs."