Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Spotify Sued For Patent Infringement

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the just-a-hazing-ritual-nowadays dept.

Music 151

An anonymous reader writes "Celebrated online music player Spotify just entered the US market a few weeks ago, and already it's being sued for patent infringement. Welcome to America! The patent in question is a very very broad patent on distribution of music in a digital form, which basically describes how anyone would ever distribute digital music. The company suing, PacketVideo, has no competing product. It just wants money from the company that actually innovated."

cancel ×

151 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Look at the bright side: (2)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about 3 years ago | (#36917954)

In 3 years it will be public domain to broadly distribute music in a digital form.

Re:Look at the bright side: (2)

StripedCow (776465) | about 3 years ago | (#36918834)

Yes, but probably there will be various other patents to practically prevent that.

Spotify (4, Insightful)

m2vq (2417438) | about 3 years ago | (#36917978)

Spotify is actually an awesome service. For a few years it has almost completely stopped music piracy in scandinavia and in other european countries. Now instead of sending each other mp3 files as file transfer people are just pasting spotify links in IM conversations here. It's something music companies should be proud of, and help it grow even more.

Re:Spotify (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918016)

DRM-free or I'm not interested. I haven't pirated a thing since I started being able to buy music from Amazon, Walmart, 7Digital, etc. But no one has put all the pieces together yet, and Spotify looks like it could if it wanted to - why not let me buy the music at the same time I use the rest of the service? If their app is strong and their syncing/streaming excellent, their recommendation algorithms solid, etc., they'll keep me as a customer even after I've paid for my whole collection.

Re:Spotify (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918098)

If you buy a track on Spotify it will be downloaded as a DRM free MP3.

Re:Spotify (1)

d4fseeker (1896770) | about 3 years ago | (#36919170)

The recommendation algorithm sometimes gives 'interesting' choices. (eg: it recommended Tokyo Hotel when listening to Rammstein) however it seems to either being improved by the engineers or auto-learn what you like to listen to. So far the Pandora "Music Genome" algorithm is the best in the field and goes unmatched.

As another one already pointed out, you can buy the songs for 1$/song DRM-free.
The mobile app indeed is strong and stable, I have yet to see issues with it in the weeks I've been heavily using it. You can change the syncing and streaming quality (default is 'high' for sync and 'low' for stream to save bandwith over 3G) however the PC app has an "artist radio" feature not yet implemented in the portable version.

Interestingly enough some (popular or recent) songs, especially by indie artists, are not licensed for streaming or offline caching and it recommends adding them to the library on you _computer_ if you already own them so it can sync it via Wifi to your mobile phone - cool feature to help get over any limitations in their contracts.

By the way if you want Spotify UK when not living in an eligible country:
- ukpostbox.com (free and legit invoice address)
- entropay.com (UK prepaid VISA card)
- Paypal.co.uk (since Spotify on it's own doesn't accept prepaid Visa cards and requires a UK itish credit card on your PayPal account) - spotify.co.uk (obviously...)
- hidemynet.com (or any other VPN will do for registration, you can extend your account from anywhere in the world afterwards)

Re:Spotify (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | about 3 years ago | (#36919452)

The recommendation algorithm sometimes gives 'interesting' choices. (eg: it recommended Tokyo Hotel when listening to Rammstein) however it seems to either being improved by the engineers or auto-learn what you like to listen to. So far the Pandora "Music Genome" algorithm is the best in the field and goes unmatched.

As another one already pointed out, you can buy the songs for 1$/song DRM-free.

Herein lies the only problem I see with Spotify. The UI is a mess and there's lots of stuff that takes a long time to figure out (like clicking on the name of a song, album, or artist takes you to another page entirely with a new set of tabs, and the back forward buttons are not so obvious). Even worse is I still haven't found the option to buy songs, or any sort of "recommendation algorithm". All I see is a search box, a list of the top 100, and "other artists like this" (or something similar).

Maybe the free version skimps on that stuff?

Re:Spotify (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918048)

Rhapsody has better catalog of American music though, and they actually organize the catalog. For instance on spotify there's Alison Krauss, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Alison Krauss & Union Station (and probably a couple others) whereas on Rhapsody it's just Alison Krauss (sorry Union Station). There's also tons of songs where "artist feat somebody" counts as a different artist than just "artist" by themselves.

Rhapsody also has like 10 albums for Alison Krauss compared to 3 or 4 on Spotify, and a lot more folk and bluegrass.

Spotify's user interface is much nicer, but it doesn't run well natively on linux (have to use wine, which works pretty well).

Re:Spotify (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918442)

Google about, if your using the paid service (which is great!) you can use a Linux version.

Pretty sure it's a deb with winelib, but not going to explode with the inevitable wine regressions on updates. They even give you a penguin on the icon and it does get semi regular updates.

I am still waiting for a really nice clone t to use libspotify though

(No links sorry, on phone)

Re:Spotify (1)

Tolleman (606762) | about 3 years ago | (#36918696)

Its native native. Uses QT for the UI. In app volume control doesn't work. And they no longer maintain the Fedora/RHEL packages. But if you use a deb based distro it should work just fine.

Re:Spotify (2)

PARENA (413947) | about 3 years ago | (#36918742)

I use the native Linux version and volume control works just fine for me. I'm on openSUSE. Unpack the deb file (ar vx spotify-...deb). Then cd to / and tar xzvf /location/of/unpackageddeb/data.tar.gz and voila! Works like a charm.

Re:Spotify (1)

Orphis (1356561) | about 3 years ago | (#36919178)

And you can also use alien to convert the deb into rpm. It works great on Fedora if you don't mind the volume control.

Re:Spotify (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#36919272)

It worked fine for me on Ubuntu, but on Mint I started getting annoying time synch issues where sometimes the songs would play as if they were on fast forward. I've had to start using a Window machine for playing music. The same thing happens when I use the WINE version strangely enough.

Re:Spotify (1)

WORMSS (1431561) | about 3 years ago | (#36918720)

Catalogue is only small because that is what the Music Companies will allow them to have. If you have been around their help forums for the last few years, you notice that a large portion of the problems people face is all related to what the Music Companies will/wont allow them to do. In the past Spotify was a hell of a lot better but then had to strip away some of its awesomeness because that was the price to pay to get into America.. To be honest, I am still debating if it was worth it from an "Existing Customers" point of view. I'm sure it will be worth it for Spotify though.

Re:Spotify (4, Informative)

dakameleon (1126377) | about 3 years ago | (#36918138)

I suppose artists should be celebrating getting 0.00029c per play [informatio...utiful.net] than nothing at all, right?

Re:Spotify (2)

m2vq (2417438) | about 3 years ago | (#36918380)

If you are an artist that no one listens to, what did you expect to get, seriously? If you produce good music that people like to listen to you also get good revenue. (and please don't drag "but music is shit now and it was better before" or "mainstream music is for idiots, indies rock" in to this, they are doing worse everywhere)

Re:Spotify (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918394)

Well, that depends, is Spotify is using Verizon math [blogspot.com] ?

Re:Spotify (1)

thunderclap (972782) | about 3 years ago | (#36918498)

The good news that Rebecca Black is getting a whole lot more for 'friday'. Why because she vanity published it with Arc who assumed she wouldnt make money on the song. :D

Re:Spotify (2)

Spad (470073) | about 3 years ago | (#36918560)

Well given that they would normally get 0c per play of a CD or iTunes track then I'd imagine so.

Assuming a ~$1 track price on something like iTunes (and this 9p to the artist as per your linked article), the break-even point is about 300 plays, but the assumption (pretty fairly IMO) is that far more people will hear your stuff on Spotify than would buy it on iTunes, so in reality it's probably a pretty decent deal.

Re:Spotify (1)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | about 3 years ago | (#36919538)

Actually its a very good deal. The number quoted above is from 2009 so its old. Spotify is from same country that gave you Pirate bay - Sweden.

Here in Sweden the musicians income from Spotify was about 1/3 of the musicians income from selling their music. So from beeing a small sum 2009 they 2010 got a huge sum of money from Spotify and if this trends continues Spotify may become the major source of income from selling their music. This trend will be the same in other countries too when spotify gets established.

Fileshareing music is down - they listen on spotify instead.

I wonder what would have happend had the music bosses accepter napsters offer to do the same 10 year earlier.

Re:Spotify (3, Insightful)

CowboyBob500 (580695) | about 3 years ago | (#36918774)

If an artist is trying to create something to make money then they are doing it for the wrong reason - and it most likely shows (see Rebecca Black). If as an artist you end up making money, then that's great but it should never be a driving factor in the creation process. Which is why every single artist I know (including myself) would still put their music up on Spotify even if they paid nothing at all. It's all about spreading the word, finding an audience, and most importantly people appreciating what you are doing. One person saying they enjoy your art is worth more than any money these companies pay - whether that's 0.00029c or 99c (or whatever) per play.

(This is all IMO obviously)

Re:Spotify (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | about 3 years ago | (#36919482)

If as an artist you end up making money, then that's great but it should never be a driving factor in the creation process.

I just felt a great disturbance in the free-market-libertarian-slashdot Force.

As a musician, I totally agree. As a slashdot member, I'm bracing for the ensuing Liber-tard backlash you are about to receive.

Re:Spotify (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 3 years ago | (#36919582)

Good for you, but until we have produced something like Iain M Bank's Culture (i.e. with practically unlimited energy and opportunity for everyone) I don't see why artists should be the only ones forced to work for no money.

Re:Spotify (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36919632)

yeah, someone had to say it.

Money is important, and it should always be a consideration in the creative process because instruments cost money. The world never sleeps, and all that good stuff.

Anyway, consider having money be part of the planning process from the beginning -- just consider it. It's part of the puzzle, as opposed to not being part of the puzzle at all. Money is intermeshed and intertwined in our lives, and instead of simply eschewing it as the root of all evil, etc...., we ought to properly integrate the amount of money necessary into the overall plan. Unless you're independently wealthy, it's better to have a plan where the money is going to come from. Then you can make music.

Work hard, but have that work count for something -- have it mean something. So you're not left with nothing to show for all of your hard work.

Money can make beautiful music. It's GOT to be part of the consideration if you're going to have any significant social impact. I mean PART of the consideration, just part of it.

Re:Spotify (2)

psiden (1071350) | about 3 years ago | (#36919092)

The big record companies share very little with the artist, but as for buying a CD or paying to download a song from iTunes (just as you can, do from Spotify if you like to!) the artists share isn't any better. So comparably it's still a reasonable price for EACH TIME a song is played by A SINGLE LISTENER, especially if you compare with what you get as an artist when your songs are played on the radio. And streaming is radio, only the listeners decide the playlist themselves. The more people play a song, the more the record companies gets, simple as that. How much (or little) that actually propagate to the artists is nothing but a disgrace, but its not Spotify's fault. The interesting amount is how much Spotify PAYS, not how much the artists actually gets. And in Scandinavia that amount has grown exponentially since the start.

Re:Spotify (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918386)

Whats the quality? Can't you just record the file as the bits enter your hard drive?

Re:Spotify (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918528)

Mainly Ogg Vorbis @ 160kbps. Some tracks are also available in 320kbps [spotify.com] if you're a premium subscriber.

And no, you can't record the incoming music as it's streamed over an encrypted session or from the local cache, which is also encrypted. The key to decrypt the data is only availble online from their servers and not stored by the client software.

Some Swedish hackers reverse engineered Spotify's secret protocol in 2008 and created two open-source projects called despotify [despotify.se] and openspotify [github.com] (both BSD-licensed). Check it out if you're interested in the internals. Spotify has also published a number of papers regarding their use of P2P in distributing the music.

There's also an official, C based API called libspotify [spotify.com] which was born as a direct result of the despotify project. You need to be a premium subscriber to develop with it however.

Re:Spotify (1)

Vecanti (2384840) | about 3 years ago | (#36918596)

And no, you can't record the incoming music as it's streamed over an encrypted session or from the local cache, which is also encrypted. The key to decrypt the data is only availble online from their servers and not stored by the client software.

I guess you mean you can't "save" the stream?

You can certainly record it as is streams in. Just grab Audacity, select Stereo mix, and Record to your hearts content.

How legal is this? I don't know, I mean, it's streaming to my computer so I guess I can save it. It's like recording a TV show on a VCR tape right?

Re:Spotify (1)

dingen (958134) | about 3 years ago | (#36918664)

Why would you go through the hassle of recording and re-encoding streams from Spotify? If you want free music on your hard drive, just head over to the Piratebay or whatever file sharing service you prefer and grab what you want.

The point of services like Spotify is to provide users with free or cheap music to users in such a way that artists are compensated and the music industry can be profitable, allowing it to create new music in the future. If you're interested in that, than a service like Spotify is great. If you just want free music on your PC, then there are many other ways which are both easier and ensure better quality.

Re:Spotify (1)

Vecanti (2384840) | about 3 years ago | (#36918704)

There's some obscure stuff on Spotify that is really easy to find. Remastered stuff that you can't easily find anywhere else, etc. Takes a few seconds on Spotify and may take a long while searching for the torrent if it even exists. Not saying I recommend it for everything, but was responding to the poster that said you can't record.

Plus it may be legal this way.

Re:Spotify (1)

wasimkadak (1960958) | about 3 years ago | (#36918620)

I have to say that the quality of the music is not as good as music bought from Amazon or iTunes. I am on the 4.99/month version and expect slightly more than what they are offering right now (with respect to the sound quality). Spotify claims that the 'Premium' version gets enhanced sound quality. Considering I do not want to listen to music on my cellphone or use any other feature provided with the Premium service, I think it is pretty sad. But overall, satisfied with the service in general.

Re:Spotify (2)

Orphis (1356561) | about 3 years ago | (#36919202)

You have to enable the "High quality streaming" option in the preferences panel to have a better quality.

Re:Spotify (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | about 3 years ago | (#36918658)

i can record anything that plays through my speakers. ever heard of stereo mix?

Re:Spotify (1)

dingen (958134) | about 3 years ago | (#36918700)

Of course you can. You can also record radio, which is basically the same as what Spotify is offering. Either way you'll end up putting a lot of time and end up with inferior results, which is why nobody actually does this on a larger scale than a handful of songs.

Re:Spotify (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | about 3 years ago | (#36918866)

how would it be inferior? however i agree it would be too tedious to do for more than a couple of songs.

Re:Spotify (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 3 years ago | (#36918908)

You'd be taking a song that was put through lossy compression, and putting it through lossy compression again (unless you store it as WAV or FLAC) ; some quality loss is inevitable, and the original quality might not be up to your standards either.

Re:Spotify (1)

dingen (958134) | about 3 years ago | (#36919164)

It's inferior in two ways. The first is described already by Dr_Barnowl below: you're lossy encoding an already lossy encoded file, which results in inferior audio quality.

The second thing is that you have to manually edit the recording to the desired length, so you'll end up with a file that hasn't got the same start / stop moments (ie length) as the original file, so you'll have more problems automatically getting metadata from services such as freedb.

Re:Spotify (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36919304)

In a few months spotify will be no different than rhapsody or the other streaming on demand services in the US. The record labels control the rights and anyone that wants to take a shot at the online music business has to go through them or eventually face legal harassment. It is that simple.

There is a reason why all such providers(excluding rhapsody which just barely broke even) have yet to turn a profit in the US. Unless spotify for America wants to be a loss leader for their business, letting other non-american customers subsidize the cost to US customers, the price and service won't be anything different than existing services. Either they have to go the route of pandora and offer a worse service(semi controlled radio) or higher prices like rhapsody and keep the full on demand feature.

I wish them well, the more people in this business the better for music fanatics like myself. However, the hype ignores the business conditions in this country.

Re:Spotify (1)

Gnulix (534608) | about 3 years ago | (#36919404)

For a few years it has almost completely stopped music piracy in scandinavia and in other european countries
No it hasn't. It might have decreased, but it certainly hasn't stopped. I would say that me and my friends still download as much music as before.

Now instead of sending each other mp3 files as file transfer people are just pasting spotify links in IM conversations here.
No one has *ever* sent me a Spotify link, but I stil get sent torrent-links to albums my friends believe I might enjoy.

Re:Spotify (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | about 3 years ago | (#36919438)

I just got it yesterday. Sure it probably stopped music piracy, but I can tell you that after one day of using it, it will also stop music purchasing. I'm never buying another track again, as long as this service is available, legitimate, and free.

On the bright side (5, Insightful)

scottbomb (1290580) | about 3 years ago | (#36917986)

The more these patent trolls do their thing, the closer we get to legislation that puts an end (or at least seriously hampers) such behavior. Unfortunately, such legislation tends to have unintended consequences but seriously, this is getting out of control and something needs to be done. I can see this as another case where the "loser pays" idea may have an impact.

Re:On the bright side (2)

scottbomb (1290580) | about 3 years ago | (#36917998)

Sorry, MyFirstNameIsPaul. It seems I may have inadvertently infringed on your subject title. Please, don't sue me.

Re:On the bright side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918006)

What would be the unintended consequences of abolishing software patents which is the only legislation that makes sense?

Re:On the bright side (1)

IrquiM (471313) | about 3 years ago | (#36918606)

More American jobs? Cheaper software? More innovation?

Re:On the bright side (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918076)

I heard that the Congress will take care of that legislation you're talking about right after they agree on raising the debt limit...

Very funny, but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918256)

I assume you actually meant Killing Social Security [truthdig.com] under the guise of a debt crisis.

Re:On the bright side (2)

gilesjuk (604902) | about 3 years ago | (#36918196)

It seems to be easier to develop a cool idea, patent it, never develop it then sit and wait for someone else to do a similar idea so you can sue them.

This goes against the original idea of patents which was to give small companies a fighting chance at developing a new product.

Re:On the bright side (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 3 years ago | (#36918712)

That is exactly what companies like Intellectual Ventures (started by some former Microsoft bigwigs) do. They sit around all day in think tanks coming up with "cool ideas", not with the intention of actually putting in the effort to turn these ideas into products, but simply patenting them by the tens of thousands. They wait until someone comes along with the same idea who does develop a product, then they cash in. Intellectual vultures indeed.

By the way, I have no indication whatsoever that legislators in the US or Europe are of the opinion that the current patent system is hurting innovation. Is anything happening on that front?

Re:On the bright side (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36919100)

By the way, I have no indication whatsoever that legislators in the US or Europe are of the opinion that the current patent system is hurting innovation. Is anything happening on that front?

It is not hurting the business or lawyers and the market control of big corp, therefore, nope.

There will be no patent reform... (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 3 years ago | (#36918676)

because their goal isn't to help innovation. Their goal, and I'd argue it has been this way from the start, is to help large corporations control the market. Even companies that lost out in megacorp-megacorp patent wars are still benefiting from the power they exercise over small businesses and startups, which lack the money and legal departments to fight patent lawsuit threats. This is why no one is calling for patent reform, even though it may at times seem logical. The lobbyists know exactly what they are doing. There will never be patent reform (or indeed what needs to happen, abolition of all IP) in the US, because the only thing keeping our economy afloat is the artificial control of the global market that they create.

The only thing that is going to happen is that our slow slide to irrelevance will continue, until we are a third world nation. The world isn't going to put up with the copyright and patent laws we force on them for much longer, and when European countries start to abolish IP, the US economy will collapse.

Re:There will be no patent reform... (1)

Raffix (1875856) | about 3 years ago | (#36919022)

I couldn't agree more. We already saw a few weeks ago that application developers are removing their apps from US app stores because of the patent trolling going on in the US now. And I'm afraid that you are right when you say nothing will change until it's too late. Too bad for you Americans, but it' inevitable, you will decline into a second class country because of this and how the country generally alienate any outside innovation!

Re:There will be no patent reform... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36919160)

... , and when European countries start to abolish IP, ...

I wish I could share your optimism. To me it seems more like now even China starts to move towards more patents and "respect" for IP.

Re:There will be no patent reform... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36919290)

If I was an American (which thankfully I'm not !) I'd patent the idea of "thinking things up to patent then suing companies that attempt to actually make something similar to my idea".

I'd then sue any company that patent trolled another company in this fashion as they would be clearly breaking my patent on such behaviour. It's a win win... I'd get rich and companies would eventually stop patent trolling.

America. Your country is broken. Your government is out of control. You were a great idea but you are now an EPIC failure.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36917994)

Have they sued Apple for it's iTunes already??

Nice Intro to Software Patent Issue (3, Informative)

uncadonna (85026) | about 3 years ago | (#36918004)

If you're having trouble explaining the software patent issue to someone you think might be interested, refer them to Julian Sanchez' recent article [juliansanchez.com] which sums it up very nicely.

Re:Nice Intro to Software Patent Issue (2)

bmo (77928) | about 3 years ago | (#36918320)

A better introduction is This American Life episode 441.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack [thisamericanlife.org]

The best show on radio, ever.

--
BMO

Re:Nice Intro to Software Patent Issue (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 3 years ago | (#36918634)

I'm glad someone else heard that show. I'm thinking that if the problem of patent trolling has reached the rather staid waves of public radio, there's a chance that it might gain some serious traction in the broader population.

Re:Nice Intro to Software Patent Issue (1)

devnul73 (749914) | about 3 years ago | (#36919206)

Thank you for linking that, I missed that one.
I'm still listening but I'm already disgusted and not surprised.

Software = algorithms = math = non-patentable

Copyright a user interface, sure, to a point
Trademark an icon, go ahead
Patent mathematical operations? No.

Re:Nice Intro to Software Patent Issue (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | about 3 years ago | (#36919584)

The point of this story is patenting stuff that you never make. Software being not patentable is completely untrue and unfair to people who write software for a living.

Re:Nice Intro to Software Patent Issue (1)

devnul73 (749914) | about 3 years ago | (#36919704)

If you move forward with your "ideas", awesome, i applaud that. What I do not like is people sitting on it, stifling inovation, and making sure we can't.

Re:Nice Intro to Software Patent Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36919570)

Hey that is a cool show, thank you for the link.

Actually, this is for DRM protected music... (5, Informative)

cliffjumper222 (229876) | about 3 years ago | (#36918024)

Reading Claim 1, of which all the others are dependent, this is for the distribution of music using a user-specific DRM system. Also, the claim is incredibly long which != broad BTW. Remember, do one thing differently and you're golden. Reading the claim and with such specific nuggets like the music having to include a "core" that includes "at least one object identification code, object structure information, a consumer code and an encryption table", and at least one "layer" around the core containing "the actual music information" etc and I wonder if anyone would actually do it that way anyway. That was probably the way PacketVideo did it, who have actually be around for years doing video meida streaming going back to the 56K modem days (and probably before). And they are innovators, not a troll.

Re:Actually, this is for DRM protected music... (1)

PatentMagus (1083289) | about 3 years ago | (#36918148)

Yeah, that first claim is pretty narrow. I think PacketVideo is just going for the quick settlement, but is playing a fairly dangerous game. They have to find each and every element of the claim in Spotify's product, that's expensive what with hiring the right experts and all. Especially with those narrow claims. PacketVideo's costs to prove its case could way exceed Spotify's defense costs. In other words, PacketVideo's negotiating leverage doesn't appear too strong right now.

Except for that IPO thing. Maybe that's why PacketVideo thinks Spotify will settle out quickly.

Re:Actually, this is for DRM protected music... (1)

greenbird (859670) | about 3 years ago | (#36918258)

I suppose artists should be celebrating getting 0.00029c per play

Yeah you're golden...except for the hundreds of thousands you'll spend on lawyers trying to convince a jury that you don't infringe. Especially when both the Judge and the jury members probably still believe you have to have annual internet cleanings [about.com] .

Re:Actually, this is for DRM protected music... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918578)

Encryption over the internet? no one had send audio via SSL prior to that date?

Innovation will kill you in the U.S. (1)

qrwe (625937) | about 3 years ago | (#36918030)

If you set up a commersial solution for something like this - everbody wants it - you'll get sued. If you do it the pirate way, you'll get sued. What way will gain most progression nowadays (letting alone you don't establish them in America at all)?

Re:Innovation will kill you in the U.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918780)

You just roll over and die. Let the chinese innovate and use the cool - banned in the USA - gadgets and services.

Re:Innovation will kill you in the U.S. (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | about 3 years ago | (#36919600)

China? The ones who make knock-off Jeeps and iPhones? Innovative? Once I start seeing Chinese engineered vehicles and electronics with widespread adoption in Europe and America, then I'll think China is innovating. Until then, leave the innovation up to South Korea and Japan in that region.

It's a self-perpetuating problem (4, Insightful)

mykos (1627575) | about 3 years ago | (#36918116)

Patents, in theory, are designed with the ultimate goal of rewarding creativity. But now creative people can't walk two steps without tripping over a patent. So now they have to work for a giant company who has a mountain of patents in its vault just so they have protection from being sued out of existence by companies like the ones they work for.

Oh yeah, and anything creative the individual come up with is now property of the corporation, adding to the cycle.

Re:It's a self-perpetuating problem (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about 3 years ago | (#36918318)

So now they have to work for a giant company who has a mountain of patents in its vault just so they have protection from being sued out of existence by companies like the ones they work for.

It only recently occurred to me that this might be intentional. Large companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google clearly lose more than they gain from the current system, so why don't they throw their weight around Washington to have software declared unpatentable? Perhaps it's because the patent minefield might kill the one disruptive startup that's destined to eat the company's lunch in the future. At that point, the occasional eight-figure judgements won by patent trolls will have been worth it.

Large companies will always try to find ways to erect barriers to competition, and patents are the ultimate barrier since they grant ownership of ideas rather than concrete expressions. It's a shame the individual engineers and developers at these companies don't recognize what they're really doing when they write up patent disclosures.

Re:It's a self-perpetuating problem (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 3 years ago | (#36918778)

An IBM exec who spoke out against the patent system some time ago said that the motivation of large companies to get into the patent game is not (just) to shut out small startups with disruptive produts. They get into the game because they have to; according to that exec, IBM would be better off without the patent system, even though they are a company that actually does some inventing. It's an arms race: your competitors are stacking up patent claims against you, so you better have a pile of good defensive patents to ward off a lawsuit.

Re:It's a self-perpetuating problem (1)

Allicorn (175921) | about 3 years ago | (#36919696)

Arms race is exactly it. Recall that interview with Peter Chou from HTC a week ago or so where - over the bust-up with Apple he notes HTC's purchase of S3 and acquisition of some 200-odd patents. He's clearly disappointed to have to play this retarded game just to participate in the US market but nonetheless the way he characterises that acquisition sounded, to me, exactly as if he was counting up rounds of ammunition.

"We have over 200 pate^H^H^H^H warheads. Do you feel lucky?"

Re:It's a self-perpetuating problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918996)

So now they have to work for a giant company who has a mountain of patents in its vault just so they have protection from being sued out of existence by companies like the ones they work for.

That's just one option. Another is to work as an academic, and a third is to emigrate out of the U.S. I'm seriously considering the latter option, although I wonder: If you live in the U.S. but only sell your products abroad, are you still liable for patent infringement in the U.S.? If not, I'll probably go with that option.

"Celebrated" my ass (2)

oldhack (1037484) | about 3 years ago | (#36918144)

US Patent laws are crap.

But who "celebrated" this thing? PR bullshit.

Re:"Celebrated" my ass (2)

cronius (813431) | about 3 years ago | (#36918340)

I've used (the paid version of) Spotify for a couple of years now and I absolutely love it. I can listen to an uninterrupted ocean of music all day long (both at work and at home), keep offline copies of playlists on my cellphone for running etc. and recently I've started to discover a lot of new music by simply browsing recommendations, different labels and so on inside Spotify. I'd say it's pretty rare to see a Party in Norway these days where the music doesn't come from Spotify. (They also have a native Linux client, which is a plus.)

The only complaints I have is:
1) Some music is not available. Sometimes single tracks, albums or even entire artists (e.g. metallica).
2) Some music switches between being available and not. It's annoying to see a part of a playlist I've made suddenly grayed out because "the artist or label has chosen not to make these songs available in your region". And suddenly they're available again for whatever reason.

But overall I'm very happy. Oh and it's also easy to share music. Example: For those who have Spotify, check out these playlists I've published (if the browser doesn't automatically open Spotify, just copy the spotify-url into the search bar of Spotify):
http://open.spotify.com/user/cronius/playlist/7yitDSr8e6uLORAkdA3mxm [spotify.com] (Chilli)
http://open.spotify.com/user/cronius/playlist/3flYNN5Oe7dhW3Vths0D7J [spotify.com] (Electronica)

Sums it up nicely (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#36918158)

They manage to tiptoe through a minefield of copyright law only to have a troll sneak up and beat them over the head with a patent suit.

The solution is simple.. (1)

frinkacheese (790787) | about 3 years ago | (#36918188)

Just don't bother doing any business in the US if you can happily avoid it..

Re:The solution is simple.. (1)

517714 (762276) | about 3 years ago | (#36918356)

US companies discovered this years ago.

Re:The solution is simple.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918426)

When the US declares bankruptcy next week it will all be mute. There will no money to pay anyone to listen to cases like this.

Re:The solution is simple.. (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | about 3 years ago | (#36919608)

Yes, because turning your back on 150-200 million of the most willing and able paying customers is a good business plan.

Re:The solution is simple.. (1)

Allicorn (175921) | about 3 years ago | (#36919710)

Of course, not necessarily but if you want to trade high technology in the US, you obviously have to do a thorough cost:benefit analysis.

Benefit of US custom - Drain of constant legal battles over the fact you used a linked list, put files in a tree structure, let a portable device communicate with something, had a rectangle with a round corner... and so on.

Well, the patent's not THAT broad. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918192)

The patent in question is a very very broad patent on distribution of music in a digital form [google.com] , which basically describes how anyone would ever distribute digital music.

Leaving aside why in hell the link is "distribution of music in a digital form" instead of "patent in question", it doesn't describe that at all.

A brief skim of the claims makes clear the first thing you'd guess from the abstract: that encryption is a necessary part. I think a subset of anyone most definitely would distribute music without encrypting it. In fact, I'd be surprised if any of the many outfits now offering DRM-free music purchases are encrypting their downloads -- encryption does seem rather pointless in that case, no?

Further, it specifies "a defined format for transmission in a digital music information object, the format including a core and a number of additional layers, the core including at least one object identification code, object structure information, a consumer code, and an encryption table, and the one or more additional layers including the actual music information" -- so if your protocol doesn't send the "consumer code" with the object (instead relying on session-level security) you're clear. If you avoid sending an "encryption table" with the object, you're also clear. This could be done, for example, by usnig a key generated and stored on the client, and having them send it to the server when initiating a session. Or if you must use a format meeting these specific requirements (not sure why you would, but let's say so), just don't send the music as part of the object -- send them a unique or short-lived link to stream the music from the same or a different server.

I'm not saying whether this patent was or wasn't sufficiently narrow to be nonobvious in 1995 when it was filed, but the characterization in the summary makes it sound a lot more like "any method of sending any music over any network", when it's really only a fairly broad, but not all-inclusive, class of end-to-end DRM schemes.

Gimme, gimme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918206)

I understand why people who never invent want the inventions of others without paying for them.
But those people used to grow up.

central memory device? (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | about 3 years ago | (#36918244)

not sure but...what happens if spotify uses a cloud...aka...a "decentralized" memory device?
or if it was more than one device that it comes from....aka...part of a song comes from device A....another part from device B and so on.

gawd...I hate these trolls

Fuck all patents and patent holders (3, Insightful)

fadir (522518) | about 3 years ago | (#36918264)

Seriously, I'm sick and tired of this.

I'm absolutely convinced that we suffer way greater from all the damage those patent trolls cause and the general barrier that the pure existence of patents pose than the potential issues of a total removal of patents would cause. I have yet to see any conclusive argumentation why we actually need (in the meaning of: the society as a whole) patents. There might be slight issues with innovation in certain areas during the transition but I'm sure that this wouldn't outweigh the benefits of not having to employ hordes of lawyers or being afraid to get sued to hell and back all the time.

Re:Fuck all patents and patent holders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918450)

I have yet to see any conclusive argumentation why we actually need (in the meaning of: the society as a whole) patents

WE don't need patents. They are harmful. However what's good for society is irrelevant in the face of corruption and lobbyism. Patents are a way for big corporations to prevent the rise of competitors. That's why they won't change.

Patent trolls are an important part of it, because they sue small, innovative companies while said corporations can claim towards politicians they had nothing to do with this whole mess. Sure, the big ones get hit occasionally but it's still cheaper than having to compete and provide excellent plausible deniability.

Re:Fuck all patents and patent holders (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 3 years ago | (#36918852)

I'm absolutely convinced that we suffer way greater from all the damage those patent trolls cause

Especially here on slashdot, where we spend a great deal of the workday talking about these issues.

Anyway, patents have turned America from "land of the free" into "land of the constrained", and I'm glad that at least someday I can move my business to Europe where the rules are not so ridiculous.

Re:Fuck all patents and patent holders (2)

fadir (522518) | about 3 years ago | (#36919026)

We are working hard to change that! Barely a month passes without some idiot endorsing the idea to introduce software patents or the like.

I always wondered wtf packet videos angle was (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918344)

I always wondered wtf packet videos angle was, like, when they started, they burnt money on .. well, making stuff that was already available and selling it. I guess the business plan was to apply patents and wait for long enough that those patents might seem relevant. also they made some, eh, claims, about their tech they couldn't back up with actual tech.

No competing product? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918788)

WTF? PacketVideo is the company behind the TwonkyMedia series of DLNA components

I used to work for DWS/PacketVideo (3, Interesting)

pyalot (1197273) | about 3 years ago | (#36918790)

As anybody can see from my CV ( http://codeflow.org/ [codeflow.org] ) I used to work for DWS. This was a little serverside company sister to Secure Digitial Container, the company the patent comes from that was later bought (together with DWS) by PacketVideo.

I liked working for DWS, they where a small and quirky company with good people. DWS/SDC never sued anybody for this patent, it was mainly a bargaining chip to impress clients. Mind the patent is about DRM, specifically, it's about polymorphic DRM (that is the variant that delivers its own encryption/decryption/obfuscation code together with the content).

Sidenote: DWS/SDC where far flung leftovers of Napster.

But then the inevitable happened, the companies got bought by PacketVideo. The founder/investor and the then CEO (a superb business drummer, though no techie) left the company and American management took over.

During my work there, I was increasingly troubled by the DRM side of business. Eventually I left (and I'd have probably been fired if I didn't), mostly for reasons where management differed with my idea of efficiency and quality. I traveled around the world and I started freelancing, and I can't say it was a bad decision, has been a good life since.

I'm not surprised that PacketVideo eventually started suing people for the patents they hold. It's a small and troubled company that's been struggling for years to "get it right", and as they probably increasingly run out of funds to keep the fiction alive, it gets ever more tempting to cash in some quick buck simply by virtue of sitting on patents you've acquired.

Fitting ad at the top (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918816)

"Get Out in Front of Your Infringers - Patent Insurance to Enforce Your Rights"

Packet Video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918824)

Packet video was a real company at some point, but they "lost" once video distributions became standardized. Looking at their website now... they appear to be selling CSS and maybe some web framework.

US is not worth the hassle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918876)

Developing software for sale in the United States is now just to dangerous. The Patent system there is totally insane, and the legal system is so broken and expensive, that the risks, for a small company, are just not worth taking.

I believe more and more companies are learning.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918918)

... not to open business in the US. Spotify took it's sweet time before it went to US and now they did they get sued. More and more companies are afraid or plainly refusing to "open doors" in the US.

One of these days the United States of A will wake up and find out that nobody wants to play with them anymore and it's all their own damn fault.

Re:I believe more and more companies are learning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36919102)

Given to what is happening to the dollar that day has since long arrived..

america = sue everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36918964)

Welcome to America indeed: the land of least innovation and the greediest of all people.

Re:america = sue everyone (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | about 3 years ago | (#36919640)

So non-innovative, it doesn't bring us the top tech companies in the world...oh, wait...

Dear Anonymous, (0)

tyrione (134248) | about 3 years ago | (#36919120)

Stop talking out your rear. PacketVideo has been around for quite some time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PacketVideo [wikipedia.org]

http://www.packetvideo.com/ [packetvideo.com]

If you think they don't produce products, or even products specifically for that Patent then you're truly too stupid for words.

Active Discouragement (3, Insightful)

DaAdder (124139) | about 3 years ago | (#36919154)

Basically what this amounts to is actively discouraging anyone in the technology sector, anywhere in the world, to do business in the USA. You're clearly showing that what works and is successful in the rest of the world is an unwanted development in your country. As someone is pointing out, this has reduced, almost eliminated the need for music piracy in a lot of European countries, which apparently isn't something you're interested in either.

On top of that, you're considering not paying the interest on the money you borrowed from the rest of the world. This would of course end people betting on your country as a safe investment. Money flowing into your economy from the rest of the world appears to be something to avoid as well. Reducing the number of people in your country that can actually pay their mortgage or stay employed at all seems to be no cause for concern either.

The only thing I can really see you doing that would cause your status as an ally and first rate investment opportunity to go into decline any faster, would perhaps be to start senseless wars that ran on for decades mainly to keep the price of oil up.

Oh wait...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>