[SATLUG] Dell Hope
thomas.cameron at camerontech.com
Sun Jun 3 00:33:50 CDT 2007
Daniel J. Givens wrote:
> Thomas Cameron wrote:
>> I don't know if the patent holders for those codecs would actually win a
>> contributory violation suit against a distro which does this. But it
>> would certainly lead to a loooooooong drawn out court case which would
>> give MSFT and other anti-F/OSS folks a lot to FUD about.
> OH NOES! It's the end of F/OSS!
Not sure how you get to this piece of happy horseshit from what I said.
> So you mean like SCO? There isn't any new FUD in this, because Microsoft
> and others have already been spreading it for years. What is more
> telling, is that Microsoft and all of the non-free software makers are
> just as vulnerable to being sued for patent infringement because it
> certainly seems they have had more cases filed against them. There is
> more FUD on this to go around and that is why insurance companies are
> now offering protection against this now for companies that are the
> users of software.
It is easy today to say "oh the SCO thing was a bunch of nothing." At
the time, it *significantly* impacted the commercial uptake of Linux.
Even today, many many more C-level execs are familiar with Microsoft
than with Linux. When they hear Microsoft make statements about patent
violations and the like, they listen. To blithely poo-poo the risk of a
commercial distro making patent-protected software available is stupid.
Just because it isn't new FUD doesn't mean it isn't effective FUD.
> In all reality, anyone that did sue the backers of a distribution, such
> as Canonical, would more than likely get a settlement, processes would
> change, and everyone would move along. In the end, the codecs will still
> be available in some form. The genie is out of the bottle and I think
> this is true of almost any patented technology that has been implemented
> in F/OSS.
If anyone sued a Linux distro maker, it would probably drag on for ages,
and during that time opponents to Linux would be shouting from the
rooftops that Linux is going away. If you don't see how this would have
a chilling effect on Linux success, you need to read a little more about
the history of BSD.
> What court system would they sue under?
It doesn't really matter. The US or Europe, either way this kind of law
suit is hugely damaging, win or lose.
> If the servers hosting the
> patented stuff is outside the jurisdiction of the patent, then how can a
> patent holder really sue?
It doesn't matter where the servers hosting the IP violating codecs are.
What matters is the intent of the Linux distro maker. If there is
even a small chance that it can be proven that the intent of the distro
maker was to cause the illegal distribution of patent encumbered
technology, do you think for a second that Microsoft wouldn't quietly
fund another lawsuit like they did with SCO?
Let me make clear: I don't think that this would be a winnable lawsuit,
but this is not about winning such a suit. It is about muddying the
waters around Linux.
IMHO, Ubuntu's decision to add code to their distro which encourages
what the courts see as software piracy is ludicrous. It is potentially
very harmful to the Linux community.
> This kind of goes into the "how can linking be
> illegal without infringing on someone's free speech" debate.
Not really. I think you just don't understand the implications.
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