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Steve Jobs Hints At Theora Lawsuit

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the fuddish-duddish dept.

Patents 686

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 by T : 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.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.

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."

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He doesn't know something we don't. (5, Funny)

Korey Kaczor (1345661) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051594)

He doesn't know anything that we don't already know.

However, he, on the other hand, thinks different. (TM).

The bottom line (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32051638)

The apple is the best computer. I don't care who he sues, it is for a good reason no doubt. Stop stealing from apple you dirty hippies.

Re:The bottom line (4, Funny)

Korey Kaczor (1345661) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051744)

What if dirty hippies are stealing your apples? You know, they hop over your fence, climb up your apple tree, and start taking the apples. You confront them, and they're all like, "Yo, man, you can't, um, steal mother nature." Then flash those damned, self-righteous smug looks.

I think they're working for Al Gore. Like, his henchmen or something. After all, he _IS_ on the board of directors for Apple Computers (TM).

Re:The bottom line (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051850)

The apple is the best computer. I don't care who he sues, it is for a good reason no doubt. Stop stealing from apple you dirty hippies.

I hope you use mouthwash after you finish sucking off Steve Jobs.

Re:The bottom line (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051962)

Nah, he enjoys the aftertaste.

Steve Jobs is different; he is abusive. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051788)

Read the books about Steve Jobs. Even people who like him say he is extremely abusive. My guess is that there is a connection between his abusiveness and his getting cancer at 53.

Re:Steve Jobs is different; he is abusive. (1, Funny)

Korey Kaczor (1345661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051822)

I believe he also cheated Steve Wozniak out of money, while Wozniak was recovering in the hospital, back in the 70s or so.

I'd be hilarious if an Apple Fanboy donated his liver to Steve Jobs. Maybe that's how he got one so quickly.

Re:Steve Jobs is different; he is abusive. (2, Insightful)

FF8Jake (929704) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051852)

Don't worry Korey, you'd be hilarious even if an Apple Fanboy didn't donate his liver to Steve Jobs.

Re:Steve Jobs is different; he is abusive. (4, Funny)

Korey Kaczor (1345661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051990)

Steve Jobs walks into a coffee shop and finds a college-aged student drinking chai, busily typing away on a laptop in front of him on the table.

"Hey, kid, what's up?" Steve Jobs flashes a big smile, and extends his warm, friendly paw.

The college kid looks up while sipping on his drink, and for a moment does not register his messiah, until he does a double take and spills chai down his shirt.

"Wow! It's really Steve Jobs! I hope you heard my prayer last night!"

"Um, yeah..." Jobs says, affirming the question with a hint of confusion. "Look, I'll give you an iPod, signed with my name on it, if you give me your liver."

College student's eyes widen. He can barely contain his excitement, and he manages to mutter a weak "yes" before passing out from his sheer spiritual bliss.

The next day, Steve Jobs woke up for the first time in a long time, ages in fact, free from jaundice and a new hankering for a few shots of Malibu, and was last seen leaving a box that said "i-p-p-p-p-p-pod" on a grave in a cemetery.

Re:Steve Jobs is different; he is abusive. (0, Offtopic)

Korey Kaczor (1345661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052002)

I forgot the mention that the laptop was a MacBook, or whatever the most expensive line of Apple's laptops.

Hell, it can be an iPad if you want it to be.

Re:Steve Jobs is different; he is abusive. (0, Offtopic)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052156)

I'd mod you up if /. ever saw fit to give me points.

Re:Steve Jobs is different; he is abusive. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052152)

You'd be hilarious if you weren't a troll in assholes clothing. Get Ballmer's dick out of your mouth and say that again...

Re:He doesn't know something we don't. (5, Funny)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051860)

However, he, on the other hand, thinks different. (TM).

He also walks on water and shits ice cream.

Hey! Jobs! GIVE ME MY LIVER BACK!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051912)

You ain't using it like I thought!!

Not yours,
Dead guy

Re:He doesn't know something we don't. (0, Offtopic)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052016)

shits ice cream.

two girls one cup?

Re:He doesn't know something we don't. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051896)

Many people (including theora developers) close their eyes and cover their ears, pretending it's patent free. Whether it is or isn't is something a jury will ultimately decide. But keep in mind that video encoding/decoding is a patent landmine and East Texas jurors have a penchant for awarding large payouts. Last year, a buddy of mine (engineering degree, L2 in law school, now a member of the bar making serious bank) did some research into theora and his opinion was that it most certainly did violate multiple patents. He notified the theora developers... their response? Don't tell us because then it will be willful infringement.

Re:He doesn't know something we don't. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052040)

your post is a prime example of why software patents need to be abolished. All they've done is create a monopoly on encoding/decoding video and hold back open video on the web.

Re:He doesn't know something we don't. (2, Informative)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052070)

I can say without a doubt in my mind that any H.264 implementation infringes on patent clauses for patents not in the patent pool ... all software of non trivial complexity infringes on patents.

Well (2, Insightful)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051598)

Luckily, there are no software patents :-)

Re:Well (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051692)

That depends on what your definitions for "are" are.

Re:Well (2, Interesting)

rqg (1413223) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051722)

Maybe he meant: there are no software patents [in Europe].
I'm guessing that by the Free Software Foundation Europe mentioned in the summary.

Re:Well (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051764)

That depends on what your definitions for "are" are.

or "in re:".

Another article on SJ (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051600)

Time for the Two Minute Hate!

Can we do this maybe just once a day?

Re:Another article on SJ (1, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051660)

It's not just SJ. Each day with the news, I hate the rich a little more.
I think I'm close to the point if I saw him in the street, I'd take a swing at him.

Am I being manipulated into this anger, or have they just put their heel on the back of my neck long enough that their propaganda has stopped working?

Re:Another article on SJ (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32051706)

If it makes you feel better, I feel pretty much exactly the same way with regards to the antirich.

Re:Another article on SJ (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32051742)

well, you are not the only one. I have stopped using Apple product for last 2-3 years. Apple has overtaken MS when it comes to being just assholes.

Re:Another article on SJ (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051808)

I disagree, we've just come to accept that MS will be evil, I think the main reason Apple acting evil upsets a lot of geeks is because we hoped they wouldn't act evil...

Re:Another article on SJ (2, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051862)

I agree. I think Apple hasn't had the opportunity to be nearly as evil as Microsoft yet. But the ways things are going, I have no doubt they'll take the opportunity as soon as it presents itself.

And, while I half expected this, I'm still angry about it.

Re:Another article on SJ (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051882)

Ya know... Ubuntu Lucid Lynx is looking better all the time. I wonder if it'll run on my MacBookPro before I put it onto Craigslist....

Jobs has become the new Gates and Ballmer. What a wonderful guy.

There's a point where his 'it just works' changes to 'he's just a jerk'. I think that point is getting really, really close.

Too bad. What nice toys he makes. Darwin to MacOS X was so smooth. Now the Snow Leopard release has about the same bugs as a Windows release. Once the viruses start, I'll be long gone. Pity. You wanted to like the guy for his bravery and his David/Goliath thing. Now he's desperately trying to hang on to his novel franchises.... at the cost of what seems to be his honor. Shrug. History repeats itself.

Re:Another article on SJ (2, Insightful)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052054)

Am I being manipulated into this anger, or have they just put their heel on the back of my neck long enough that their propaganda has stopped working?

Are those your only choices? You're not being manipulated into anger. The fact that you are angry at "the rich" when an article about Steve Jobs' opinion on one piece of open source software comes along strikes me as a bit over-furious. LOL

The Steve Jobs douchebaggery is in full swing! (5, Funny)

ZosX (517789) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051634)

Apple's new slogan: "There's a patent for that."

Re:The Steve Jobs douchebaggery is in full swing! (4, Insightful)

Raffaello (230287) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051724)

And now Apple drops all pretense of being the underdog and joins the ranks of the FUD purveyors.

Re:The Steve Jobs douchebaggery is in full swing! (2, Insightful)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051812)

I thought they did that long ago with their "I'm a Mac" ads.

I look forward to contributing to the fund (1, Insightful)

Uzik2 (679490) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051646)

for their legal expenses. Bugger Steve Jobs and the other patent trolls.

Re:I look forward to contributing to the fund (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051730)

Now now, they haven't sued anybody about this yet... this could just be inside info about the MPEG LA. It's possible that SJ breaks disclosure agreements as would a normal person.
Wikipedia link scroll down to patent licensing [wikipedia.org] .

Re:I look forward to contributing to the fund (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051818)

Now now, they haven't sued anybody about this yet...

Just like Microsoft hasn't sued anybody over the supposed patent violations in Linux.

Possibly for similar reasons. FUD is cheaper and easier to generate than a lawsuit that won't get thrown out of court, and maybe even get you sanctioned.

Re:I look forward to contributing to the fund (2, Insightful)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051870)

You raise a valid point, except for as alluded to in my post, Steve Jobs/Apple does not own the patents in question. Your analogy would be correct if Apple owned the patents.

Re:I look forward to contributing to the fund (4, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052060)

I'm about 99% sure that Apple does, indeed, own H.264 patents.

The various *LAs are licensing consortiums. They don't own the patents they license, they're authorized to license them (and then only in limited ways) by the patent holders.

Steve Jobs would indeed know if there was a group assembling a patent pool to "go after" Theora. And from what I've read of Xiph's attitudes to patents, I suspect they have a case. It'll be interesting to see.

(Maybe this'll help Dirac, which in many ways is a more promising codec, and has the advantage that the BBC did quite a bit of work on making it "Free")

Re:I look forward to contributing to the fund (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052078)

What patents?

Sensationalism (-1, Troll)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051670)

Sure, Steve Jobs has been acting like a massive douche bag as of late, but he's just mentioning that the open source patents may be attacked if they pose a threat to profitable closed/very patented codecs.

I don't think Apple is somehow directly planning to sue Xiph or other open source codecs personally.

Re:Sensationalism (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051700)

/edit Open Source *codecs may be attacked

Re:Sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32051728)

The same way Microsoft didn't sue Linux. They got SCO to do it for them.

Or hes just creating FUD to prevent people using Theora.

Lately Steve Jobs seems to be more and more like Steve "Sweaty" Ballmer.

Re:Sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051784)

Very much, except infinitely classier.

You gotta love how his open letter the other day simultaneously claimed that almost all flash videos are also available in H.264, and that almost all video sites were using non-H.264 codecs for their flvs. Not contradicting, exactly -- very impressive PR lying.

Re:Sensationalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052020)

Wow... so now lairs are lauded with adjectives like "classy" and "impressive"!

Re:Sensationalism (5, Funny)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051754)

And here comes Apple apologists. You know what, fuck you, fuck steve jobs and fuck my karma.

Re:Sensationalism (2, Interesting)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051942)

This isn't about Xiph ... this is about Google.

Apple is in a very similar position as Microsoft was a while ago, and they are using the EXACT same playbook ... FUD.

Re:Sensationalism (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052088)

Ah, that is very plausible.

Re:Sensationalism (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051966)

as of late?

Re:Sensationalism (5, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052098)

Open source codecs hurt the Apple MPEG LA connection.
Everybody loves the manual prices, codec prices, lock in cash flow feel and Theora "like" lock out.
Apple, Real, MS ect all seem to want a codec to lock in developers and milk them at some workflow level eg. color correction, production software ect.
The idea that some free blog could set you up with a "good enough" Linux/Mac/Win guide to shoot 720/1080 HD media, edit, encode it and give/broadcast/sell to the world is just wrong to Apple, MS ect.
You should be buying Apple or MS low end software, learning via student discounts and then walking in and buying $1000 to 10000+ worth of software to start and then think about itunes ect to sell your art.
Theora is the main threat to this. People have the creativity, low end HD cams, friends, a codec and the web.
Nothing is stopping them from bypassing Apple, Hollywood, MS ect. and going to the consumer except a good free codec for real world web "sharing".
You still need a CC system for payments ;)

Re:Sensationalism (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052100)

I don't think Apple is somehow directly planning to sue Xiph or other open source codecs personally.

Especially not since Apple doesn't really hold many patents on video encoding in the first place.

He did not say that "we" or "Apple" are doing anything, you know. He's talking about someone else.

Connect the dots (4, Interesting)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051684)

Microsoft conspicuously said today that IE9 will only support H.264 for HTML5 video. Add in Apple and you have the two largest consumer OS vendors backing the same codec. I suspect they do know something the public doesn't, even if they themselves will not be a party to this patent challenge.

Theora will just end up becoming collateral damage in the coming war all of the large vendors are about to wage with Google. Follow the breadcrumbs and that's where you eventually end up.

Re:Connect the dots (3, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051904)

and MKV is better than MOV, AVI, and WMV...

Open formats and technology scare the crap out of them.

Granted MKV is just a container... it is still a far better container.

Re:Connect the dots (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052018)

and somehow we've gotten this far into the discussion without anyone mentioning that theora is also just a container a pretty unlikely to infringe on any codec patents. ogg on the other hand....

Re:Connect the dots (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052134)

Ogg is the container, Theora is the codec. Confusion arises sometimes because Ogg Vorbis music files are typically called "oggs", even though Vorbis is the codec in that case.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogg [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theora [wikipedia.org]

Re:Connect the dots (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051944)

They probably know that they're a lawsuit magnet. They probably know that h.264 has a patent pool which makes it easier to counter sue and negotiate. They probably know that theora doesn't have that patent pool behind it. They probably know that most people don't give a shit about theora.

Re:Connect the dots (3, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052174)

Microsoft conspicuously said today that IE9 will only support H.264 for HTML5 video. Add in Apple and you have the two largest consumer OS vendors backing the same codec. I suspect they do know something the public doesn't

There are 811 AVC/H.264 licensees [mpegla.com] and 26 licensors [mpegla.com]

Apple and Microsoft are licensors along with industrial mega-corps like Mitsubishi Electric, Sony and Toshiba.

Google and Canonical are licensees.

H.264 has tremendous strength simply in OEM support and brand-name consumer tech. There are no significant players missing here.

Okay, prove it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32051686)

All video codecs are covered by patents. A patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other “open source” codecs now.

Assembled by who, exactly? On what grounds? In regard to which patents in particular? It's easy to make claims, Steve. Proving them is harder.

Re:Okay, prove it (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#32051726)

Assembled by who, exactly? On what grounds? In regard to which patents in particular? It's easy to make claims, Steve. Proving them is harder.

There's h.264 hardware in Apple products.

q.e.d.

Re:Okay, prove it (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052112)

And Apple pays to use the patents that cover it, just the same as everyone else. So?

Re:Okay, prove it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051984)

You'd have to be such an amazing arse to even come up with this idea. The patents themselves have obviously contributed nothing, as the creators of the open codecs certainly haven't been looking at them.
If all these open codecs independently indeed have indeed independently and accidentally infringed on a patent, just maybe the idea is obvious and the patent isn't worth the paper it is printed on, have contributed nothing to the advancement of the arts and instead is being used abusively to retard the progress of society for personal monetary gain? Not to say that Steve is a cock-sucking psychopathic troll, of course.

That Steve was a nice fellow once... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051768)

A long long time ago. I really hate people who try to put an end to anything open. I still can't believe this guy who has put himself in front of people waiting for over 5 years for a new liver now does something like this... Come on guy, you got a new chance, someone else probably died because you could BUY that liver in front of her away and now this... No, not much sympathy from me. You're a bitch Steve.

Re:That Steve was a nice fellow once... (4, Informative)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051930)

Steve jobs has NEVER been a nice fellow. :)

jump to conclusion!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051772)

Looks to me, Steve Jobs just knows there are people looking into suing Theora. Not Steve Jobs (or Apple) is going to sue Theora.

Again, just because something's open sourced doesn't make it alright.

No jump to see he's trying to suppress competition (2, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051856)

Looks to me, Steve Jobs just knows there are people looking into suing Theora. Not Steve Jobs (or Apple) is going to sue Theora.

Even if that's the case he made the announcement in the form of a FUD attack on Theora and the other open source CODECs.

Now lots of potential adopters will instead be waiting for the other shoe to drop before considering an open source solution - and paying for proprietary stuff meanwhile. And if the shoe never drops they'll wait, and pay, a very long time. This is the magic of FUD.

Re:No jump to see he's trying to suppress competit (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052122)

Apple doesn't have anything in particular to gain from pushing h.264 on others. They don't own it, and they own a single patent out of hundreds and hundreds in the patent pool. They are only interested in using it for themselves.

it's all about the content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051778)

In the end, proprietary codecs win because content producers will only support those.

They learned their lesson with letting mp3 get out of control until it got big enough they couldn't stop it. They aren't about to make this mistake again for video.

Re:it's all about the content (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052074)

I guess once again, its up to the people to look out for the people's interests.

Expect piracy and open formats that violate patents to continue :)

Google is the key here (5, Insightful)

javilon (99157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051790)

They need to move fast, clean VP8 up and push it into Chrome, Android and youtube. Firefox and Opera will follow quickly and the attempt to lock web multimedia into propietary formats from Apple and Microsoft will fail.

This move from Apple and the Microsoft's statement about only supporting H.264 are a reaction to Google's purchase of VP8. Both Apple and Microsoft are terrified of Google. They are willing to give up quicktime and wmv as long as Google doesn't succeed in pushing an open source, patent free solution to web video.

Re:Google is the key here (1, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051920)

This move from Apple and the Microsoft's statement about only supporting H.264 are a reaction to Google's purchase of VP8. Both Apple and Microsoft are terrified of Google. They are willing to give up quicktime and wmv as long as Google doesn't succeed in pushing an open source, patent free solution to web video.

I think you're absolutely correct in this. I wonder if that's the biggest reason Steve Jobs does not want Flash on the iOwnYou products, to try to decrease YouTube's market share.

Re:Google is the key here (1)

ihxo (16767) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052042)

Where have you been in the past several years.

There is a freaking dedicated Youtube app in the iPhone OS that's not even removable...

Yes Apple must be plotting to kill youtube.

Keep living in your Apple is evil, google is God fantasy world.

Re:Google is the key here (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052072)

Youtube is fully support on iphone, ipod and ipad.

Re:Google is the key here (3, Informative)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052136)

That plan just happened to slip his mind when he shipped iPhones and iPads with built-in Youtube support, then?

Rubbish (4, Insightful)

Macka (9388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051924)

This makes no sense to me. Lets run with your thought experiment for a moment. Google release a blinding implementation of VP8 support in Chrome next week, then FF and Opera pick it up and release browser updates the week after. Somehow, content providers decide this is a great idea and they all jump on the VP8 band wagon. How does this hurt Apple? What's to stop Apple from adding it to OS X and the iPhone OS along side H.264 and supporting both. How does this give google some kind of competitive edge over Apple that would make Apple "terrified"? They both have full access to H.264 and related tools today, so nothing would change with adoption of VP8: the status quo is maintained. You're just trying to blind people with FUD.

Re:Rubbish (4, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052034)

Somehow, content providers decide this is a great idea and they all jump on the VP8 band wagon. How does this hurt Apple?

It doesn't. But it does hurt the theory that Steve Jobs is out to control eveyone's minds and only Google can stop him, and as such, he is perpetually afraid of Google and is out to destroy them at all costs.

Facts and reality need not apply.

Re:Rubbish (2, Interesting)

quantumplacet (1195335) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052038)

nowhere did he say it would hurt apple as a company, or give google a competitive edge. what he did say, and that it you made no attempt to refute, is that it would hurt apple's and microsoft's attempts to push proprietary codecs as standard.

Re:Rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052178)

It hurts MPEG LA who are the patent holders of h.264. Which Apple and Microsoft are a part of. So don't think for a second that Apple does not have a stake in who wins this battle.

Re:Google is the key here (4, Insightful)

starseeker (141897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052096)

How does that help? Is VP8 acknowledged by other major players to not infringe on any other patents? Would Google agree to shield all users of VP8 from any legal attacks by patent holders?

I rather expect that the holders of these patents feel that any possible implementation of video on a computer infringes on SOME patent they hold, and if there exists some hypothetical codec that does not infringe I'd guess some team of lawyers didn't do their job right. Sort of like how SCO was claiming that no possible modern operating system could exist without violating SCO intellectual property rights, except using the patent system for the fence-building process. Even if there are codes that are completely free and clear, can you imaging how long it would take a the legal system to sort out such a lawsuit? SCO has dragged their action on for YEARS, and that's without thousands of patents to use as clubs.

If they pick on the developers of Ogg Theora, what happens? Do they stand any chance of carrying on such a lawsuit, as an open source effort? Would various interested companies back them and support them in a fight to the finish? The most frightening interpretation of that email suggests we may actually find out.

Going after Open Source is not a winning strategy (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051804)

Unlike other community things, it actually works and people will defend it, because they are using what they write themselves. Go after Open Source and you are basically dead, even when it may take you a long time dying. The time to play games of greed and power with software are over. This stuff is critical infrastructure, everybody needs it and it has to be both good quality and readily available. Open Source can do that. No other approach can. And this becomes harder and harder to ignore.

The world needs more Richard Stallmans (2, Funny)

g3k0 (1697032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051810)

If there was only a Richard Stallman for every Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer.... On second thought, a global epidemic of athletes foot may not be the best scenario either.

Good things could come of this (5, Insightful)

karl.auerbach (157250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051868)

Jobs is partly correct and part incorrect.

When he says "All video codecs are covered by patents" he is incorrect. Patents are limited by their claims and it is completely possible that there is a codec that does not fall under any patents. One such codec, the null codec that simply turns every input bit into itself, is probably free of any patents. Of course that would be a silly codec.

Just because something is open source does not mean that it does not infringe on one or more patents. A lot of folks confuse "copyright", which protects expression, with patent, which protects ideas. Under patent even an independent expression (an implementation), even an open source one, might impinge on a patented idea.

I suspect that pretty much everybody here, including myself, is of the belief that patents have been granted that are overbroad, that live too long, and that are simply reflective of prior or obvious practice that existed at or prior to the time of the patent filing. There is much that is broken in the patent system.

I can readily believe that ogg/theora might impinge on some patent in some country. Then again it might not. And whether that patent is itself valid is a question that would have to be answered once we knew what those putative patents were.

Since proving that something like ogg/theora doesn't infringe is like proving a negative, it is pretty hard to ever say that something is provably and undeniably free of patents.

But it would, in my opinion, be a good thing to have the matter fully debated in the context of a lawsuit. It would create a forum where the H.264 people (and other patent-codec people) could duke it out with the open source codec community in a place where we could get some definitive answers that ratchet and lock into place and thus give guidance to us in the future.

If Ogg/theora (or Google's VP8) violates a patent it is better to know it now so that we can work around the patent or obtain blanket community licenses.

My own guess is that if the Apple or the MPEG people engage in something more than sabre rattling that they will find the open source community a resourceful and dedicated opponent. Most particularly, the open source community is probably a very formidable opponent on the question of whether that patent on which the claim of infringement is based is itself valid.

Apple and the MPEG people could find that at the end of the battle that their own patents have fallen.

wait for bilski (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051972)

Wait for the dust to clear from the forthcoming Bilski ruling. Then you'll see sparks flying.

While I might not agree with his wordage... (5, Interesting)

LordRPI (583454) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051872)

I'm ready to go "all-in" with a bet that says the second Google releases the source to VP8, every company with patents on video compression will begin examining VP8 source code for patents. They have their legal teams and engineers ramped up to start digging ASAP and I do believe that's what Steve Jobs means.

Steve Jobs is an asshole. (1, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051874)

... Apple makes Microsoft look like saints.

I know how the next codec standard will be chosen. (0)

lag10 (667114) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051876)

It won't be chosen by the likes of Apple or Microsoft. I won't be chosen by potential lawsuits (at least not to a significant extent.)

Nope. There's one industry that will dictate the next standard. That industry is porn.

The porn industry had effectively chosen Blu-Ray as the de facto new standard for high def video: http://www.pcworld.com/article/125618/porn_industry_may_be_decider_in_bluray_hddvd_battle.html [pcworld.com]

The porn industry chooses its standards. Everyone else follows.

Re:I know how the next codec standard will be chos (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052010)

The porn industry chooses its standards. Everyone else follows.

It's interesting how often this myth gets repeated. If anything, the porn industry went with HD DVD in the high definition disc format wars. And we all know how well that worked out:

http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2007/01/8602.ars [arstechnica.com]

Re:I know how the next codec standard will be chos (2, Insightful)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052066)

Well that might have been the case with betamax over video2000, but Sony chose blue-ray... When they brought out the PS3. And that's why blue-ray is the format these days. And no, there was no porn on it... Then again, I only know people with a ps3 that actually use blue-ray. Dvd is fine. Back in the old days, there was no internet where you could get your porn. Big difference there.

Re:I know how the next codec standard will be chos (1)

TyFoN (12980) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052120)

Hmm, I was under the impression that the porn industry was more pro HD-DVD since that format allowed for DRM free content (i.e. they didn't have to pay for royalties and AACS key for every porn title).

Seems more like a conjecture on his part (2, Insightful)

melted (227442) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051884)

I don't think it's Apple who's assembling this set of patents. The lawsuit WILL happen sooner or later, inevitably. If Apple started distributing Theora, this lawsuit would happen within a month, even though they're in MPEG LA. Who knows what their contract with MPEG LA says, too. They might lose the right to distribute h264 as a consequence.

I understand SJ on this one, even if I think his "thoughts on flash" are utter and complete bullshit for the most part.

Does he know something we don't? (2, Funny)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051894)

Bubbe, I probably know a lot you don't.

Does he know something we don't? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051906)

I don't know... but do I know that he's turning into a power hungry dirtbag who's getting more evil every time I turn around and that Apple is getting more predatory and monopolistic.

Did anyone expect a different answer? (1)

JustinRLynn (831164) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051946)

Planned lawsuit or no planned lawsuit did anyone expect "Steve" (probably someone he pays to respond to his e-mail) to respond differently? Even if they aren't planning on a lawsuit there's nothing like the threat of one to make us geeks go "OMG". This is nothing more than the typical Apple/Microsoft/SCO/InsertBiasedCompanyHere FUD.

Alright now i cant take it. (1, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051950)

i want to kick the first person that says apple is still not evil in the face. and not in a glamorous, bruce lee fashion. i mean good old fashioned dumb and dumber flat kick.

Re:Alright now i cant take it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051976)

Apple is evil because their CEO takes the time to respond to emails?

Re:Alright now i cant take it. (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052030)

To be fair, nowhere did Steve say that Apple was a member of a suit against Theora. They don't own any of the relevant patents. But they would be in a position to know if someone who did hold a patent in MPEG-LA was working on a suit.

Apple is the new Microsoft (-1, Flamebait)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052004)

You know it, I know it, and the American people know it.

When does MPEG1 become free and clear? (2, Insightful)

starseeker (141897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052012)

I know it sucks by modern standards, but the claim that "all video codecs are covered by patents" is a bold one to make - surely MPEG 1 is either at or close to the end of its patent life (at least in the US)?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPEG-1 [wikipedia.org]

Nostalgia (0, Troll)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052050)

Does anybody still remember the days before Apple turned into a patent troll?

Steve's shine seems to be dulling (2, Funny)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052052)

Did someone destroy Basil Hallward's painting of him?

Corporations hypocrisy make me sick (1)

EgNagRah (1650283) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052076)

Don't you JUST LOVE IT when some rich jerk tells the world something is wrong with the guys next to them while they have such problems?
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