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Facebook's Broad Patent On Digital Media Tagging

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the keep-cashing-the-checks dept.

Facebook 61

bizwriter writes "Facebook has done well with the Friendster patents and patent applications that it acquired. Just last week, a patent application for passing personal info between users based on degrees of separation became public. Now, thanks to the Friendster IP purchase, Facebook pretty much owns the technology for publicly identity-tagging digital media of any sort in a database."

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bullshit (4, Informative)

jsepeta (412566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36158820)

I've been tagging people in photos in iphoto for years.

but we've been zucked.

Re:bullshit (1, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36158894)

the hilary is the comment of "owning" anything due to a patent. Tells you how out of wack intellectual property is as a concept.

Re:bullshit (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159044)

If you legally collect the rent on something, you own it. That's pretty much what own means. You have the right to chase other people away from your property, and to give it, sell it, lend it, or lease it to someone else. A patent is temporary ownership of a technology.

Re:bullshit (2)

MokuMokuRyoushi (1701196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159110)

Just to enlarge upon your "temporarily" in your final sentence, isn't everything we own temporarily owned? After all, its not ours after death.

Re:bullshit (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159308)

No. You, at your death, have the right to give it to someone else. You own it until you give it away, even after you're dead. Nobody else owns it until you give it to them. It's possible for things to remain in your estate and owned by you for decades until the legal issues are wrung out in probate court.

Re:bullshit (3, Funny)

demonbug (309515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159318)

Just to enlarge upon your "temporarily" in your final sentence, isn't everything we own temporarily owned? After all, its not ours after death.

I'm a corporation, you insensitive clod!

Re:bullshit (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159328)

Temporarily owned by us, yeah; not necessarily temporarily owned. Most property can be passed along to others even after the technical owner is dead. Patents, on the other hand, have an expiration date. The number of owners in that time is not relevant.

Re:bullshit (1)

MokuMokuRyoushi (1701196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36160484)

Good point, and thank you for making it.

Re:bullshit (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159200)

You may collect the rent for your little house, but that does not means that you actually OWN the house, and the land under your house........., except, if you have land patent of course, which you apparently don't have.

Re:bullshit (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159320)

What was the third word in my post, and why do you think I took the trouble to include it there?

Re:bullshit (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163428)

Yeah but patents are supposed to be clever things which are "non obvious" to professionals who work in the associated trade.

If my boss asked me to come up with a way to tag media files I wouldn't need six months of hard R&D to figure out how to do it, I'd have some ideas right away, a basic plan in a couple of minutes and the specs written the same day.

THIS is why the patent system is broken, not because the basic concept of owning ideas is wrong.

Re:bullshit (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159068)

We can be sure that at least one of the following is true:
-No one at the USPTO has ever used iphoto
-No one at the USPTO has any understanding of his or her job

Re:bullshit (1)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159220)

You missed an option
-interkin3tic is a Slashdot troll who has no idea that a patent application is not a patent.

The article specifically points out this is a patent application and with that status comes no legal protection of any sort. The case either has yet to be reviewed or is in the process of being reviewed by anyone at the USPTO. It is only the applicant at this point who shows broad ignorance of iphoto or other similar tagging applications. This application will most likely be shot down or highly modified and limited if it does ever issue as a patent.

Re:bullshit (1)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159182)

Of course you have - and guess what, this is not a patent, but merely an application.

There are still many rounds of prosecution to go and the claim language will doubtfully look anything like it currently does.

Patent Applications != Patents.

Re:bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163496)

Patent Applications != Patents.

Ah, but it's the USPTO we're talking about, so the only real difference between patent applications and accepted patents is time.

Re:bullshit (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 3 years ago | (#36160266)

Yes, but did your system automatically contact the person being tagged and then refuse to work if the other person declined?

TFA says the patent is broad, but it sounds pretty narrow to me. IMHO, it's not only narrow, but narrow to the point of completely uselessness. I would never want to violate this patent (not that a programmer doing his job ever has that choice or even the knowledge of how many dozenss of patents they routinely and unwittingly violate every day).

Patent this... (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 3 years ago | (#36158838)

File patent
Short sell technology stock 'o the day
Scare blog o' sphere
Profit

Re:Patent this... (2)

MischaNix (2163648) | more than 3 years ago | (#36158860)

Metapatents lead to metametapatents and so on. Don't do that, or the loop police will come to your house and kill you.

Just sayin'.

Good. (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36158858)

Good. When shit hits the fan now I can point my finger at one entity. Make my life easier!

Re:Good. (4, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159054)

No, it just makes you the one covered in shit and pointing a finger.

Re:Good. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159336)

I believe the term for this state is "winkelvossed".

Re:Good. (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163450)

Sir, I do not have a Facebook account.

Although pointing a finger at the angry mob covered in shit surrounding me also may not be wise haha

Nothing new to say (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36158914)

Software patents retarded. Idea obvious. Prior art exists. And so on and so forth...

Re:Nothing new to say (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159420)

Facebook's lawyers disagree, and they are well-paid and prepared to fight for the bitter end. Are you prepared to take them on, knowing that being right in these cases very rarely matters unless you have your own army of lawyers to back you up?

Re:Nothing new to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36161372)

Sadly you are correct in that regard. However, one just needs a better plan. Wastebook can't pay lawyers without money, so I would work on figuring out how to do that. I wouldn't say it would be an easier plan, but simply pointing out an alternative.

Re:Nothing new to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159534)

While 'prior' art may exist most of the time patent clerks review previous patents.

Now however these sorts of things have been going on for about 10 years or so. Lets get the stupid ones out of the way and into the system. Then we can start to see real innovation that is given back to the public. Yes it will suck for awhile. But in 10-20 years software patents will essentially be irrelevant...

Re:Nothing new to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36160356)

I don't give a fuck if prior art exists. Nobody does. There is no such thing as "owning" information or ideas. They can state all they want. Nobody cares. Doesn't mean it's going to happen.

I'm gonna write a EXACT clone of implementations of ALL their patents, and seed them via decentralized P2P networks. They can't do SHIT to stop it.
That is hard proof that they don't own it. Since ownership implies control.

All they do, is terrorism and extortion. I'll DESTROY them! I'll rip their dicks out, and force-feed them a egg-dick-santorum-salad!

NOW WHAT, ZUCKERFUCKERS??

Re:Nothing new to say (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36161930)

Software patents retarded. Idea obvious. Prior art exists. And so on and so forth...

Dr. Solus??!!

73% 'net bandwidth used for propagandic sporn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36158918)

no surprise there? how many 1000 babys going up in smoke again today? how many 1000's of just folks to be killed or displaced again today? hard to put $$ on that. the cost of constant deception, to our spirit? paying to have ourselves constantly spied on & lied to by freaky self chosen neogod depopulationers? the biblically styled fatal distraction holycost is all encompassing, & never ends while we're still alive, unless we cut them/ourselves off at the wmd. good luck with that, as it's not even a topic anywhere we get to see, although in real life it's happening everywhere as our walking dead weapons peddlers are being uncontracted. you can call this weather if it makes you feel any better. no? read the teepeeleaks etchings.

so, once one lie is 'infactated', the rest becomes just more errant fatal history.

disarm. tell the truth. the sky is not ours to toy with after all?

  you call this 'weather'? what with real history racing up to correct
itself, while the chosen one's holycostal life0cider mediots continually
attempt to rewrite it, fortunately, there's still only one version of the
truth, & it's usually not a long story, or a confusing multiple choice
fear raising event.

wouldn't this be a great time to investigate the genuine native elders social & political leadership initiative, which includes genuine history as put forth in the teepeeleaks etchings. the natives still have no words in their language to describe the events following their 'discovery' by us, way back when. they do advise that it's happening again.

who has all the weapons? who is doing MOST of the damage? what are the motives? are our intentions & will as the ones who are supposed to be being represented honestly & accurately, being met? we have no reference to there being ANY public approval for the current mayhem & madness pr firm regime style self chosen neogod rulership we've allowed to develop around us, so we wouldn't have to stop having fun, & doing things that have nothing to do with having to defend from the smoke&mirrors domestic frenetics, of the unproven genocides. rockets exploding in syria fired from Libya? yikes?

  the zeus weather weapon is still being used indiscriminately against the population, our rulers' minions are fleeing under fire.

the whore of babylon has been rescued by the native elders. she has the papers of challenge authored by the hymenical council, & is cooperating wholeheartedly with the disarmament mandate.
disarm. thank you.

censorship, or convenience?
Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment
posting has temporarily been disabled. You can still login to post.
However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege
could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in
the timeout corner or login and improve your posting. If it's someone
else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is bogus, you are right moderation@slashdot.org with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID, which are always changing, you butthead

Re:73% 'net bandwidth used for propagandic sporn (1)

MischaNix (2163648) | more than 3 years ago | (#36158952)

Almost as coherent as mainstream news sources.

Guess it sucks to be Twitter or LinkedIn (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36158968)

Time to pay up to the Zuck!

This kind of shakedown economy seems to be the norm. I ought to get a patent on chewing gum "while on the internet", incorporate and then sell out for big $$$.

Access Control Group? (2)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 3 years ago | (#36158982)

Isn't this the same concept as being a member of a group and gaining a variety of access permissions?

How is this not the same just changing the naming semantics of the general idea?
I mean can i just patent any idea and substitute a previously defined terms with my own made up one?

Re:Access Control Group? (1)

Plombo (1914028) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159052)

How is this not the same just changing the naming semantics of the general idea? I mean can i just patent any idea and substitute a previously defined terms with my own made up one?

Sure you can. Whether the patent will stand in court is another matter.

Re:Access Control Group? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159094)

You can patent the radio.

You can patent the potentiometer.

You can patent the variable capacitor.

You can patent the variable inductor.

You can patent using the potentiometer to control the volume on the radio.

You can patent using the variable capacitor or variable inductor or both to control the tuning of the radio.

Start throwing transistors in and you can patent any number of combinations of radio, control, tuning, and amplification.

Get this concept early and you can claim all of it in one big patent.

They didn't just make up terms. They applied old concepts to new situations.

Re:Access Control Group? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36160252)

They applied old concepts to new situations.

Nonsense. They applied the same idea. Full stop. Patent people really are out with the fairies. Treating smaller and smaller differences as "significant" so that they can steal from the wider community. Every application of an idea is different. The question of whether the difference is significant in the multidimensional space of ideas is a highly arbitrary one and the patent people just love to handwave around that. Hidden with a lot of verbal nonsense and logical fallacies of course.

Re:Access Control Group? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169348)

The question is not whether it's different. It's different, hence patentable.

The question is whether the difference is worth anything. Nominally it isn't. You don't proffer it with a price tag. You wait until someone uses it without mentioning that you patented it before they used it. Then you walk in and sue them, and they pay you more than if you'd just negotiated.

The part that's broken isn't the patenting. It's the arbitration of value.

Technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36158998)

The fact that you can even call tagging someone in a picture "technology" is ridiculous.

FF (-1, Troll)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159088)

Fuck Facebook(tm)

Re:FF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159132)

What about Final Fantasy? Firefox? Fast Food? At least make it FFB.

Re:FF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36160804)

Funky Fresh Boys? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnNxMQS7isQ [youtube.com]

Re:FF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163354)

You forgot Fist Fuck

Re:FF (1)

torgosan (141603) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159606)

Agree 100%. <rant> Off topic and all that good stuff but, on a purely gut level with NO rational explanation, when I look at someone's eyes and the reading is "dead inside" my level of mistrust takes an immediate spike. As far as I'm concerned, anything associated with Zuckerburg is bad news. </rant>

Not as broad as described (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159166)

Disclaimer: Software patents are stupid.

That said, after reading the patent excerpt, it appears as though it requires 2nd-party notification of the tagging to be covered. That limits the scope incredibly, and seems as though it would make it fairly easy to avoid.

Re:Not as broad as described (1)

lostmongoose (1094523) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159204)

Disclaimer: Software patents are stupid.

That said, after reading the patent excerpt, it appears as though it requires 2nd-party notification of the tagging to be covered. That limits the scope incredibly, and seems as though it would make it fairly easy to avoid.

Until it's made illegal for privacy reasons to tag photos w/o notifying the people being identified in the tag.

Re:Not as broad as described (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159332)

I know there are a lot of stupid laws out there, but that's pretty far-fetched. Privacy has a vanishingly small number of supporters (at least those with any influence at all in politics). The likelihood of a law that strongly protecting a specific privacy interest being passed is pretty close to zero.

total pwnage (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159258)

you guys are amazing. Very snarky. Always makes me lol. Thinking of patenting my own brand of snark and selling it to facebook. I want to call it Zuckerberg's (a) famous pig.

Software patents - why so long (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159356)

There is a lot of discussion about whether software should be patentable or not...
I wonder, why nobody discusses, well, for how long such patents should be granted.

In the end, if software patent would be good for 5 years, it would not be as big issue. Time in IT flies faster than in other disciplines.

Patent APPLICATION (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36159446)

This piece is so sensationalist. The "patent" that is the subject of this silly rant is just an application for patent, filed 5 months ago. A patent application gives no rights at all. Every patent that is filed starts off broad like this and then gets narrowed down. I don't know why I even click patent related links on slashdot...

Re:Patent APPLICATION (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159868)

Nail on the head there, mr. coward. This shouldn't go anywhere, and would be easily defeated in court should it get granted. The likes of JEIDA for example released EXIF in 1995 that does what? Allows a user to add "tags" aka metadata to digital media.... I'm sure there's even older examples of prior art on this, that was just an easy one to find.

What are the intention? (2)

jascat (602034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36159532)

Some companies get patents for defensive purposes to ensure no one else patents it and uses it against them. I had a serious knee-jerk reaction when my employer sent out an email advertising our patent program. The explanation I got was that we weren't going to be patenting stuff to keep others from doing those things, but to patent them before others do so that we can't be sued. Facebook could be doing just that. In that same email, I was told that the company despises the state of IP and have active lobbying efforts to change things. I felt much better about my employer after hearing all of that.

Re:What are the intention? (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36161004)

That's good and all, until someone ups and acquires your company. Suddenly, that "defensive" patent portfolio your company's been keeping becomes somebody else's offensive one. Look at the Sun acquisition if you want more details.

It's not a bad thing for your company to keep a nice portfolio handy for when it gets sued. However, the Sun acquisition is something for your upper management to be aware of in case there's some kind of hostile or otherwise takeover.

At least it's only for PUBLIC tagging... (1)

tpledger (316149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36160706)

...as befits Facebook's privacy flaws.

Prior Art (1)

RdeCourtney (2034578) | more than 3 years ago | (#36161606)

I've been incorporating the ability for users to tag themselves and others, as well as send out notifications for confirmation or rejection, in digital content since 2000 - one of my sites http://friendsite.com/ [friendsite.com] has used it extensively as well as others - hmmmm I'm sure there's a ton of prior art out there...

Lucrative? (1)

mmcuh (1088773) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162886)

So Facebook wants a monopoly on feeding user-tagged photos to various intelligence services? Makes one wonder how much they are getting paid for that.

Only in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36162888)

Can someone successfully patent saving the names of who is in a picture along with the picture...

I mean, since photography started, and even before in paintings, the people in these have been written down, sometimes on the backside of the image, sometimes on a piece of paper that accompany the picture and sometimes in a small book or the book in which the picture was published... This is century old technology... But suddenly someone is granted a patent on it in the US...

If it was not so tragic because of the forseeable HUGE costs in lawsuits and years of legal battles, it would be hillarious...

Facebook (1)

netflusher (2139930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36162984)

well good for them taking over tht market to,but they still havent perfected it. Sure on ur profile you can tag pics,but cannot tag pics on Our Fanpages,before any trolls come screaming "yes you can yes you can" by switching to use Facebook as your Fanpage,well no it still spits an error message, the "oops something happend,we are working on it" or whtever the message is. Why would you want to tag pics on your fanpage do you ask? ah well u know those cool banners you see people adding to their profile split into 5 images? well it would be awesome if you could do tht on fanpages as well,but cannot as you cant tag pics for Fanpages.. c'mon Facebook stop buying up the world and fix shit you have already!

easy to circumvent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163244)

Just don't use a database

Re:easy to circumvent (1)

LabRatty (96497) | more than 3 years ago | (#36163316)

Even a plain text file with data in some structure or extractable order is a database.

Facebook is a patent troll!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36163872)

I was reading up on some of the ridiculous patent applications made by facebook.. here's another one..

http://www.bnet.com/blog/technology-business/patent-gives-facebook-broad-power-over-mobile-location-networking-update/5933?tag=content;drawer-container

Okay.. I dunno how smart the patent division of Facebook is.. but they seem to think Zuckerberg is the only guy in the world who can think more than one level. Quite literally in the case of the original article. It is plain dumb to try and patent common sense... You think of Friends, and any dumbass would reach at Friends of Friends.. I personally have come up some with the ideas which facebook is trying to patent... and when I was high and within a few hours.. So, this whole patent thing is really childish... you can't patent what someone can and cannot think... Antitrust is what it is...

Patent troll!!! (1)

jim_kaiser (1696460) | more than 3 years ago | (#36164122)

I was reading up on some of the ridiculous patent applications made by facebook.. here's another one.. Broad patent on Location networking [bnet.com] Okay.. I dunno how smart the patent division of Facebook is.. but they seem to think Zuckerberg is the only guy in the world who can think more than one level. Quite literally in the case of the original article. It is plain dumb to try and patent common sense... You think of Friends, and any dumbass would reach at Friends of Friends.. I personally have come up some with the ideas which facebook is trying to patent... and when I was high and within a few hours.. So, this whole patent thing is really childish... you can't patent what someone can and cannot think... Antitrust is what it is...

Strange ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36165354)

What an insane patent.

I've tagged things in delicio.us for years, in my gmail for years, Slashdot tags, my photo organizing software that came with my digital camera I bought 6 or so years ago ... I'm sure in probably more examples if I think about it ...

Depending on how far reaching this patent is, that pretty much sums up half of the "Web 2.0" stuff -- tag clouds are pretty much used everywhere nowadays.

It really is hard to believe that patents are providing any of the benefits they're supposed to. I can only imagine the wholesale extortion this patent can provide.

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