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Ask Personal Audio's James Logan About Patents, Playlists, and Podcasts

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the ask-what-you-will dept.

Patents 99

James Logan founded MicroTouch Systems in the 80s and served on the on the Board of Directors of Andover.net, the company that acquired Slashdot back in 1999, but it is the company he founded in 1996, Personal Audio, that has garnered him much attention recently. Personal Audio sued Apple in 2009 for $84 million, claiming infringement on patents for downloadable playlists. Apple eventually lost the case and a jury ordered them to pay $8 million in damages. More recently, Personal Audio has filed suit against several prominent podcasters claiming that “Personal Audio is the owner of a fundamental patent involving the distribution of podcasts.” The EFF challenged the patents calling the company a patent troll saying, "Patent trolls have been wreaking havoc on innovative companies for some time now." The vice president of licensing for the Texas company counters that the EFF is working for "large companies against a small business and a couple of inventors," adding "Every defendant calls every plaintiff a patent troll. I've heard IBM called a patent troll. It's one of those terms everyone defines differently." Mr. Logan has agreed to answer your questions about his company and his patents. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.

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congrats (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43962245)

You're one of the fucktards screwing up our country. Take pride.

Why is he flamebait? He simply stated a fact. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43962581)

Different AC here.

Re:Why is he flamebait? He simply stated a fact. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43963401)

It's not a question. How about "How does it feel to be one of the fucktards who are screwing up our country? Do you feel proud?"

Re:Why is he flamebait? He simply stated a fact. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43967175)

Please, one question per post.

Re:congrats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43966267)

Um seriously AC. That's not even a question.

You mean:

"How can you possibly sleep at night knowing that you're one of the fucktards screwing up our country?"

[smafti]

Re:congrats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43967553)

Did you read the part where he was awarded $8MM? How many lifetimes would it take an average person to make that much money?

I'd guess like many sociopaths he sleeps very well at night knowing he's done what he had to in order to "get ahead".

Thoughts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43962293)

Ate you for or against first posts?

Yeah (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43962307)

This is like someone trying to copyright uploading and downloading to and from the internet.

Re:Yeah (1)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year ago | (#43962449)

^This.

I wonder if James Logan is any relation to Barry Logan of Canipre notoriety?

Most software patents are garbage - doing math/iterations/etc in a computer is no different than doing them on paper. It's just faster. Copyright protection, sure. Not patent protection.

Copyrights != patents (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#43964033)

Not really since you can't copyright such a thing. It would be similar to patenting it though.

Links to patents (4, Informative)

thereitis (2355426) | about a year ago | (#43962375)

6,199,076 [uspto.gov] and 8,112,504 [uspto.gov]

What will you do about White House intervention? (3, Interesting)

Medievalist (16032) | about a year ago | (#43962811)

6,199,076 and 8,112,504

Thanks for that, very informative.

These patents are pretty clear. The villains here are not really Logan, Goessling and Call - they are playing entirely by the rules as our (supposedly representative) government has set them.

The villains are the incompetent schmucks in the Patent Office who should never have allowed these patents (on grounds of obviousness and lack of "genius" as required by law) and - even more so - the greedy schmucks in the US Congress in 1870 who opened the floodgates by removing the requirement for working models, which restricted the patentability of ideas in an extremely useful and equitable way. Back in the day, if you couldn't build a model of it inside a 12inch by 12inch cube, it just wasn't patentable.

But all that aside, here's a question for Logan: When wealthy corporate patent owners shake down small businessmen [techdirt.com] and individuals, the White House is all in favor of "protecting American innovation". But recently the Obama adminstration has had strong words for "patent trolls" - at odds with Joe Biden's long history of support for absurdly strong intellectual property laws and ever-growing length of monopoly. Do you think your successful efforts to get wealthy zaibatsus like Apple to pay off your small company is the reason for the Obama/Biden White House's sudden and uncharacteristic distaste for so-called "patent trolls?"

Re:What will you do about White House intervention (5, Insightful)

saihung (19097) | about a year ago | (#43963049)

Yes. This particular troll isn't the problem. The system that allows people to patent ideas, rather than inventions, is the problem. The notion, however, that taking advantage of a broken system to one's own advantage, even if it hurts everyone else, is blameless? That's crazy. Of course this troll is morally accountable for their actions. But to put it in question form:

Why do you believe you deserve any money in licensing fees at all, when you haven't apparently done any of the work required to produce a product?

Re:What will you do about White House intervention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43964129)

I second. That's a very good question.

I know that research is not the slashdot way, but: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43964807)

Well, it might've been a good question, except that they claim they did produce a product, and then proved that they did to the satisfaction of the court.

So it looks kind of lame in that context.

Re:What will you do about White House intervention (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about a year ago | (#43964871)

Why does saihung believe that no work has been done, when Logan spent 1.6 million of his own money to bring a product to market before anyone else?

The guy built the invention. He played by both the spirit and the letter of the rules. The rules suck but you are just scapegoating this guy for that - maybe you should do some research before you start publicly calling people out?

Re:What will you do about White House intervention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43978199)

Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.

There are three common law exceptions to this broad list of patent-eligible inventions:

  1. Abstract ideas
  2. Laws of nature
  3. Natural phenomena

Patent law does not protect ideas. Patent law protects inventions or discoveries if they are a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter. 6,199,076 claims two machines ("A player for reproducing selected audio programs...", and "A programmed digital computer..."). 8,112,504 claims 4 machines ("A media player...", "Apparatus for acquiring and reproducing media files", "An audio program player", and an "Apparatus for disseminating a series of episodes"). Neither patent claims an idea. You are allowed to hold the idea of these things in your head. You are not allowed to use, sell, or reproduce the machines that are described. Patent law gives a limited time monopoly the inventor, whether or not they have the resources to develop physical embodiments of that invention. This is a way for inventors without resources to be compensated for disclosure of their invention.

Re:What will you do about White House intervention (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#43981343)

I live in Argentina. Our economy sucks, we can barely get foreign currencies if we want to live the country, we can't import almost anything, and we've like a millon of other really sucky problems.

But here, we only patent inventions, not ideas, and that's the one (and only) thing that makes me proud about this so very problematic country.

We don't you guys learn from us!!

Re:What will you do about White House intervention (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#44095125)

Inventions are ideas. The problem is that we allow obvious inventions/ideas to be patented. This results on wasteful litigation and stifles innovation. Patents if done properly can encourage innovation, but we are doing it completely wrong. In this climate there is more incentive to be a patent lawyer than an inventor.

Re:What will you do about White House intervention (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43963059)

"The villains here are not really Logan, Goessling and Call - they are playing entirely by the rules as our (supposedly representative) government has set them."

Way to shift the blame... The people running the Gas chambers at Auschwitz were not villains, it was all Hitlers fault.

Nice Godwin, Lumpy! (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about a year ago | (#43964935)

The villains here are not really Logan, Goessling and Call - they are playing entirely by the rules as our (supposedly representative) government has set them.

Way to shift the blame... The people running the Gas chambers at Auschwitz were not villains, it was all Hitlers fault.

You win the prize, in the form of "insightful" mods by people who apparently can't discriminate between mass murder and unsavory business practices. Congratulations!

That's not sarcasm. I sincerely admire the way you've gamed the system (just like Logan, Goessling, Call... and Hitler.)

Re:Nice Godwin, Lumpy! (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#44096029)

You can make an analogy by relating the holocaust with patent trolling. It doesn't mean that you can't discriminate between mass murder and patent trolling. But it does indicate that you don't know what an analogy is.

If someone makes an analogy between running a multinational corporation and a lemonade stand, the proper response is not "Corporations are much bigger than lemonade stands, why can't you see that?", the proper response is "I think this is a good/bad analogy because..."

In this case, I definitely see a valid analogy with the "just following orders" Nuremberg defense rationale. Both examples use complying with rules as an acceptable justification for immoral actions. Both implicitly deny deny responsibility for participating and profiting from a system with immoral rules.

Yes mass murder is worse than patent trolling. The point of using an analogy is present similarities between 2 systems that are dissimilar in other respects (which in this case is the severity of the immoral act).

Re:What will you do about White House intervention (1)

pr0nbot (313417) | about a year ago | (#43963367)

Just because a system (the patent office in this case) permits an immoral act (patenting something obvious with no intention of using it in any form except as leverage for extortion) doesn't absolve you of your responsibility to act morally.

Capitalism, on the other hand, does require you to act immorally in this case. (Because if you don't, your competitor will, to your disadvantage. Hence patent war chests.)

They have a patent, prior art and sold product too (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about a year ago | (#43965079)

You've made several good points, but I still feel compelled to repeat that Logan et al clearly did intend to use their patents, since they did build devices and did attempt to market them. These were never submarine patents (despite all the giant corporations crying bitter crocodile tears) and perfectly valid moral objections to that practice are not applicable here.

People are choosing to ignore certain realities because they don't want to pay the patent owner. It makes them feel morally righteous to pretend that Logan's patents weren't intended to be used, when he proved in court that he had every intention of using them, and tried his best to use them, but the market wasn't ready yet.

Personally, I say if you can't build a working physical model in a 12"x12"x12" cube you shouldn't be able to patent it, and patents longer than 14 years are destructive to society and culture. But I'm not a wealthy corporation so the Obama administration doesn't care what I think.

Re:They have a patent, prior art and sold product (1)

brit74 (831798) | about a year ago | (#43966413)

> "since they did build devices and did attempt to market them."

The "devices" they created existed decades before Jim Logan came along to patent it: "The National Talking Express is a monthly stereo tape magazine for the blind and visually impaired. It was launched in 1979 and was the first tape magazine in the UK to go stereo. It has a national and international membership."

Re:They have a patent, prior art and sold product (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about a year ago | (#43966685)

Unless the National Talking Express had a method for selecting per-user content before delivery, that ain't prior art.

However, in any case, thank you for adding something to the conversation! I would not be surprised if the patent was invalid, and personally I think it never should have been granted - but these claims that Logan never did any work and never created anything seem to be false, so wasting time on lame accusatory "questions" in this thread is stupid.

Patent on distributing podcasts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43962391)

I don't know if that leaves anything left to ask, except perhaps "How do you sleep at night?".

Re:Patent on distributing podcasts. (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43962499)

... under a blanket made of large bills and stock certificates.

Re:Patent on distributing podcasts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43963387)

On top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies.

-Rainier Wolfcase.

Re:Patent on distributing podcasts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43963441)

Wolfcastle of course. D'oh!

Using your patents? (4, Insightful)

barista (587936) | about a year ago | (#43962417)

Aside from litigation, how is your company using the patents in question?

One definition of a patent troll is someone who uses patents solely for licensing and litigation.

Re:Using your patents? (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43962565)

Well, at one point they had a business delivering tapes of computer-selected magazine articles to people, under the original version of the patents that they're now using to sue Apple. It was a flop. I say original version because the patents were revised between that business venture and this one.

Re:Using your patents? (1)

JBMcB (73720) | about a year ago | (#43965155)

They also tried building a digital magazines-on-tape player, but failed (probably 'cause this was in the late 90's and the tech sucked)

Re:Using your patents? (1)

brit74 (831798) | about a year ago | (#43966007)

Magazined on tape existed before Jim Logan came along. Here's some prior art back in the 1970s - two decades before Jim Logan applied for a patent. If magazines on audio is an example of using his patent, then prior art invalidates his patent.

"The National Talking Express is a monthly stereo tape magazine for the blind and visually impaired. It was launched in 1979 and was the first tape magazine in the UK to go stereo. It has a national and international membership." http://blindreaders.info/audiobks.html [blindreaders.info]

Trolls (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43962439)

How do you justify $84 million for something as asininely obvious as sharing a playlist? Considering it is essentially a text file containing both order and identity of files to process?

In short, why haven;t you eaten a bullet you fucking patent troll?

Re:Trolls (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | about a year ago | (#43962611)

"on a computer"?

Yes, it is asinine.

Re:Trolls (1)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#43963127)

A playlist is essentially a directory listing of certain files. How is it inventive?

Re:Trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44093319)

The first thing I did after getting my first mp3 player {the most logical thing to do} was to organize my music. I wouldn't consider a playlist no mater how you cull the data or store it to be inventive. After getting everything organized and on my mp3 player the next logical step was to figure out how to connect it to my car and home stereo. At that time it was with a 1/8 jack to the home stereo and a tape converter for the car. Taking the next most logical leap can't possibly be novel, inventive, or even patentable.

 

International (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43962447)

You don't seem to have any presence outside the US, despite apparently having invented podcasting. Why?

Re:International (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43963081)

Invented podcasting..... I still laugh my ass off at that. He did not invent shit.

2600 magazine INVENTED podcasting way before this no talent hack did anything.

Re:International (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43964227)

Because he didn't invent shit. He apprently eats lots of shit based on the amount he spews back out of his mouth.

Why individuals? (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43962473)

Pursuing the end users of a product which infringes upon one's patent is practically unheard-of. Why have you done so?

Shithead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43962497)

I own the patent for talking about downloadable playlists patents on Internet discussion forums.

Send me 10 million now or I'll see you in court for patent infringement.

Dynamic compression (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about a year ago | (#43962501)

When the hell will this industry get rid of dynamic compression, given that newer media (BluRay, SACD, etc.) have far more bandwidth than the CDs of yesterday??

It's gotten to the point where I (and many people I know) skipped buying certain albums (which I otherwise would've loved to own) because of this damn mastering practice!!

Re:Dynamic compression (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year ago | (#43962589)

Also I find it amusing that he former owner of Slashdot had his website Slashdotted. I was going to go to Personal Audio's site to see if they actually produce any products aside from lawsuits.

Re:Dynamic compression (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#43963417)

He didn't own Slashdot. He was a member of the BoD that did. They are not the same thing.

Re:Dynamic compression (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43964443)

When the hell will this industry get rid of dynamic compression, given that newer media (BluRay, SACD, etc.) have far more bandwidth than the CDs of yesterday??

The dynamics compression has nothing to do with the CD's bandwidth but all to do with today's audio engineers (who were probably ordered to compress dynamics). Compress the dynamics and it will sound louder. A CD has a better dynamic range than an old LP, but listen to an old LP and then its CD replacement and you'll find that the LP has more dynamics, despite the fact that a properly mastered CD should have far more dynamics. The guy from the band Boston was so pissed at how bad the CD version of their first album sounded that he made a new remaster himself, cursing the incompetents who had done the original remastering.

Now, for frequency response, yes. There are only three samples per crest in a 15kHz tone, and that's not nearly enough to have any harmonics at all. With three samples it's impossible to discern a sine wave from a square wave. There's no reason why music shouldn't be sampled at ten times the current 44k rate.

Why CD mastering sucks for non-classical music (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year ago | (#43965601)

It's because digital technology is technically superior. Yes, indeed.

With physical LP cutting, if the engineers amped up the dynamic range compression too much to make it all LOUD, then the effective width of the groove would be too high, requiring larger inter-groove spacing, and cutting into the playing time excessively. A 10 minute playtime per side on a LP would be unacceptable to buyers especially if it required two physical discs for one album's worth of music.

On the flip side, a little bit of dynamic range compression is actually pleasing to people as the quietest bits become more listenable (and because of Fletcher-Munson effects, more perceptually correct spectrally), and that was needed on LP because of noise floor issues.

So, it was the LP's technological limitations which resulted in engineering choices which inadvertently improved the typical sound quality.

Classical music producers aren't interested in LOUD, and as a consequence well-engineered and mastered contemporary recordings can have very high sound quality with modern digital.

What do you do? (5, Interesting)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#43962523)

There don't seem to be many people asking questions, so I'll bite.

What exactly is Personal Audio? Your website is slashdotted, so I can't find what you make or what your business model is. But you claim not to be a patent troll. You're even willing to come to a hive of kneejerking anti-patent-trolls and answer our questions to try and convince us of this. So, if you're not one, why not? What do you make? What do you sell? What do you do?

Re:What do you do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43964925)

Looking at their corporate communication and press releases, the most oustanding accomplishment they care to boast is winning the Apple litigation. Despite they are pioneers here and leaders there, it seems that they did not reached any business result apart from it. Podcast inventors my balls.

Re:What do you do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43968727)

Once the so-called "patent trolls" are "eliminated", then good look for anyone in a company with less than 5,000 employees and world-wide centers of operation getting anything protected.

Patent troll = individual inventor. That is as simple as it gets. Lots of 'patriots' hate the little guy after all, it seems.

Re:What do you do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43969259)

Slashdot is all for the individual inventor.

if you merely have an idea and never implement it in any way shape or form, you are not an inventor though. That's barely even a philosopher. At most it's an unpublished sci-fi writer with no story, a work of fiction, until you come up with the implementation.

Speaking of which, should all the sci-fi writers of the past that had either had excellent vision or their visions capturing the minds of actual inventors be owed licensing for the concepts they imagine?

Re:What do you do? (1)

tragedy (27079) | about a year ago | (#43970281)

For us to not savagely criticize them, their "invention" has to be original and non-obvious to one skilled in the art. The simple fact is, when presented with the idea behind most of these patents (and even the idea isn't generally very original) many of us here on Slashdot could implement it easily and quickly without reading the patent. Ideas are not meant to be patentable so, if the idea is easily implementable, then clearly we're all super-geniuses. Oh, no, wait we're merely skilled in the art and the "invention" is obvious.

I've read the patents and everything they describe is trivial to implement. Note, however, that when I say "everything they describe" I'm talking about the things they actually describe the implementation details of. A patent is, after all, meant to be a blueprint for an invention. Voice control of the media device is something described in the patent with no details given whatsoever of how to implement it. So, actually implementing a voice-controlled media player might be a bit of a challenge and not trivial to implement, but their patent doesn't actually contain a solution to that challenge.

My question to James Logan would be how he can live with himself knowing that he has not invented anything and yet has created yet another artificial legal barrier to people who want to produce interesting works?

Is It Wrong? (0, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#43962525)

Is it wrong for me to hope you die of the most unimaginably awful cancer, that will cause you to ooze horrible puss-like fluids that reek so awfully you're family won't be able to bear to be around you, and they will pray to God each and every night that you finally die... but you don't, and just linger in that state for years.

Is that wrong?

Re:Is It Wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43962673)

Is that wrong?

Yes. Because, given this troll's abuse of the patent system, it's not beyond the pale to presume he's also got some legal harness set up such that he remains in control of the company so long as he's alive, meaning nobody can issue the order to stop the auto-lawsuit machine until he actually does die.

Re:Is It Wrong? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#43962697)

Is it wrong for me to hope you die of the most unimaginably awful cancer, that will cause you to ooze horrible puss-like fluids that reek so awfully you're family won't be able to bear to be around you, and they will pray to God each and every night that you finally die... but you don't, and just linger in that state for years.

Is that wrong?

Will there be a podcast of all that?

Re:Is It Wrong? (1)

Wokan (14062) | about a year ago | (#43962725)

Is it wrong for me to hope you die of the most unimaginably awful cancer, that will cause you to ooze horrible puss-like fluids that reek so awfully you're family won't be able to bear to be around you, and they will pray to God each and every night that you finally die... but you don't, and just linger in that state for years.

Is that wrong?

The wrongness would depend on how strongly you believe in the power of hope.

Here's hoping.

Hmmm. (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | about a year ago | (#43962543)

Now that personalaudio.net has been slashdotted, how do you feel about the apparent inadvertent side effects of owning patents ?

Can you explain? (5, Interesting)

trcooper (18794) | about a year ago | (#43962551)

Can you explain, in terms I could tell the average person, how your patent is novel enough that anyone who wants to distribute audio over the internet should license it from you? I'd appreciate it if you could address how the distributions of podcasts today widely differs from downloading audio files in 1995 and how your patent help change this.

The next SCO (4, Interesting)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year ago | (#43962553)

Suing end users of technology directly? How can you say this is not a patent troll behavior?

Re:The next SCO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43963559)

Yes, tell us why you can't make anything but sue sue sue to make money?

Re:The next SCO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43964089)

Because he's worthless scum.

Patent troll? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43962645)

There seems to be many definitions of patent trolls.

One of the definition is someone who patents something so fuckingly obvious that the patent should not be awarded in the first place. Like the ability to download fucking playlists.

BTW Mr. Logan I own a patent about reading comments about patent trolls on the Internet. You didn't pay the license to read my comment, so now you owe me ten thousand dollars. See you in court, asshole.

Nice (5, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43962649)

According to NPR last week, you basically invented books-on-tape, including distribution of same. Given people have been snail mailing messages on tape to each other since at least the '70s (and I know Charles Emerson Winchester III sent and received reel-to-reel tapes with his rich family in M*A*S*H in the 50s, probably reflective of reality) how could people doiing this on the Internet be any differemt? The mass distribution aspect? Seems like a stretch, when it's the equivalent of an audio printing press.

Re:Nice (1)

brit74 (831798) | about a year ago | (#43966041)

> "According to NPR last week, you basically invented books-on-tape, including distribution of same."

They didn't say that. And those things existed long before Jim Logan applied for a patent.

"The National Talking Express is a monthly stereo tape magazine for the blind and visually impaired. It was launched in 1979 and was the first tape magazine in the UK to go stereo. It has a national and international membership." http://blindreaders.info/audiobks.html [blindreaders.info]

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43966931)

I just wonder if any episodic (possibly, even stuff previously airing on radio) content was ever delivered on physical media before 1979.

Do you feel like a worthless piece of shit? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year ago | (#43962659)

Well, do you?

Re:Do you feel like a worthless piece of shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43963205)

Well, do you, punk?

FTFY.

Cassette Tapes (5, Insightful)

CaseCrash (1120869) | about a year ago | (#43962765)

The only business you made with these patents was sending cassette tapes with some recorded articles that were chosen by the customer through the mail. How does this transfer to creating playlists and podcasting? Picking the listening order of sound files I got from the internet doesn't really seem like it should be protected intellectual property. How do you justify what you've done (a failed business in 1995) to justify payment (much much later) from people who had never heard of you or your patents when they made their services/products, and who apparently never tried to patent that process as it seemed too obvious to them?

Usual daily routine? (2)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#43962829)

Please tell me about yourself. What do you do every day? Do you have any favourite restaurants? Strip clubs? Golf courses? Road you take between work and home, do you even bother going to work every day? Any dangerous hobbies prone to accidents?

It would be very helpful to my Cuban business associates - Iv been told they are the quickest and cheapest option when dealing with patent litigation, cutting all the red tape and all.

Comment Please, Mr. Logan (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43962839)

Mr. Logan,

Here's a "comment" from the Computer World story linked above:

'The company was able to hang on to several patents, however, and put them "in a drawer for 10 years," Baker added. "Is that a troll?"'
Yes it is. That is exactly the definition of a troll. They weren't able to make it work, had no impact on the industry, failed and no one has ever heard of them. But when someone more enterprising independently comes up with a similar idea, solves all the problems that Personal Audio couldn't solve, popularises the concept, and makes it work, they somehow feel they are entitled to a piece of the action.

Your thoughts?

Obama working to protect patent trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43962883)

It is commonplace when an extreme and out-of-control government proposes new laws/initiatives that are sold to the sheeple as 'solving' a current societal problem, actually the real intent is the diametric opposite. Obama and his people intend to massively increase the power of patent trolls by formalising a patent framework that overtly accepts all aspects of software patents.

Of course, the driving force behind Obama's new "protect the patent trolls at all costs" project is the fact that giants like Google, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle all lobby for this power.

Logan is a minor (but despicable) criminal in comparison. When one looks at patents owned by crooks like Logan, one finds the usual "first to use" principle. "First to use" is the simple concept of people/organisations that are the first to have reason to implement a certain form of software system.

Say, for instance, you are the first to distribute a certain type of audio file across a network. Your solutions will be OBVIOUS to anyone aware of the current limitations of software/hardware systems currently available, and in no sense can these solutions be called 'inventions'. However, because you are 'first' to be implementing these solutions, you are actually allowed to call them 'inventions' and claim a patent.

In the minds are really really stupid sheep, "I did it first" becomes analogous to "I invented it". Let me make this REALLY clear for the hard of thinking. Say you are a 'cabinet maker' (person skilled in making things from wood. Say you are invited, in the early days of personal computers, to enter a person's home and build them a 'cabinet' for their computer from wood. Now, can you claim you have 'invented' the idea of building wooden containers for computers? According to crooks like Logan, you can do exactly that, and claim royalties from all future cabinet-makers employed in similar tasks, regardless of the design of their work.

Again, another argument used to justify software system having patent protection is the claim that there ARE software equivalents to the zip-fastener, for example. Say, something like MP3 compression- an idea a journeyman programmer clearly couldn't have pulled from his/her standard understanding of computer science. However, in reality, no-one would be objecting if patents were limited strictly to those algorithms that could be have been spontaneously recreated by programmers skilled in their craft. Unfortunately, crud like Logan use 'the slippery slope' tactic to leech off claims most of us would agree were valid to justify his 'first to use' claims.

And talking of 'first to use', of course crud like Logan are fully aware that in the massive world of computing, there is ALWAYS tons of prior art against his patents, but this matters not when high powered lawyers specialise in bending the system Logan's way. In courts in states where such patent battles are fought, the judges actually state that prior art is irrelevant. The argument used is simple- if people behind prior art didn't seek to gain 'legal protection' for their work, it isn't part of a current legal framework.

But, as I said at the top, patent trolling exists because the big boys have always played this way (go examine the history of patents in the motor car and film industries, for instance). An example. In Japan, one massive group owns an patent on ALL expressions of 3D data on a computer screen used to play computer games. Think about that. Every single company producing games using OpenGL, DirectX, or their equivalents on any console must pay this company patent royalties.

Now can I look forward to the owners of Slashdot giving a serial rapist a platform, so you can ask him questions justifying HIS crimes?

The court of public opinion (2)

NuAngel (732572) | about a year ago | (#43962887)

Dear James Logan, Do you believe litigation is the best way to win over the court of public opinion? Sincerely, -The Internet

Why this tactic? (2)

msmonroe (2511262) | about a year ago | (#43962965)

Why do you choose to go after the the pod-caster and not the company that is creating the technology? Thanks!

Re:Why this tactic? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#43964245)

Easier targets.

Re:Why this tactic? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#43981359)

James Login, si that you in an undercover account?
Thanks for the sincere answer!

Why are you doing this interview? (2)

MtHuurne (602934) | about a year ago | (#43963137)

I am curious why you would volunteer to step into the lion's den.

Re:Why are you doing this interview? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43963329)

Seconded.

Re:Why are you doing this interview? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43963951)

Paid publicity for his company. Dice.com is rotten scum for putting shit like this on here. What next? Ask Larry "One Raging Asshole" Elison questions?

Re:Why are you doing this interview? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43965345)

Larry "One Raging Asshole" Elison

There's a cream for that.

Funny patents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43963245)

Only they miss the mark, because for instance 504 patent, applies only to "media players" that have within themselves the playlist.

So in essence, media players like itunes will be covered most probably.

A website is not a media player (even if it can incorporate a media player in a widget). So showing a playlist within a website and allow the user to click on said playlist to show the clicked media is most probably not covered.

But then, it's a functional only patent, so it is a bit worthless.

Podcasting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43963281)

"An audio program and message distribution system in which a host system organizes and transmits program segments to client subscriber locations."
I think the BBC did that back in 1922.
 
BBC stands for "British Broadcasting Corporation" some of you watch far too much porn :)

The EFF (5, Interesting)

greg1104 (461138) | about a year ago | (#43963285)

Claiming that the EFF is some sort of enforcer working for large companies to beat up small ones is an idea that can only have come from heavy use of hallucinogenic drugs. Which ones does your team take?

Re:The EFF (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#43963967)

Jenkem.

invention??? (5, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#43963541)

What exactly did you invent? I am not asking what general idea you described. I am asking what did you invent?

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts (1)

nickmalthus (972450) | about a year ago | (#43963577)

The intent of patent and copyright laws is "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". Certainly back in the 18th century when the Constitution was written access to information, resources, and research specialists was limited and costly. Now in the 21st century, with global economics focused on knowledge and service sectors, these assets are extremely abundant. Would the progress of Science and the Arts be better served by eliminating legal barries to innovation, such as patents, and letting the market decide which unencumbered producers survive? If not, why not?

Does not this 'Ask ...' violate your precioussss? (1)

knarf (34928) | about a year ago | (#43963979)

Slashdot is soliciting readers to ask questions, the answers to which will be delivered by you through a web server, to be consumed by readers on their media browsing devices.

Does not this very process violate one of your 'patents'? I'm sure a creative patent lawyer can interpret your 'patents' in a way that covers this process.

Do I owe you money now? Not that I intend to pay, just out of interest.

When did you first hear of podcasting? (2)

capedgirardeau (531367) | about a year ago | (#43964167)

When did you first hear of podcasting and why didn't you file your infringement suit immediately instead of waiting until many people were already using the technology?

Re:When did you first hear of podcasting? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#43964423)

Less potential people they could sue.

Regarding Claim 14 of US6199076 (1)

sanchom (1681398) | about a year ago | (#43964185)

A programmed digital computer for reproducing audio programs, said computer comprising, in combination: ....

Does this claim include a general purpose computer that is not "for reproducing audio programs", but happens to have the ability to reproduce audio programs?

errant patent filing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43965217)

are you sure that you haven't made any mistakes in your original patent filing, which could be brought up in litigation specifically to invalidate your claims?

Question (1)

brit74 (831798) | about a year ago | (#43966233)

You claim that patent law helps inventors and companies protect their intellectual work. Using that general observation, you then claim(simply because it is a "patent" and patents are, in general, helpful) that your particular patent is therefore helpful to the world. One can imagine scenarios where a particularly unique or non-obvious idea could be helpful to the world if companies could come along, view the patent, decide to license the technology, giving them a leg-up in their field. In other words, the money they spent to secure licensing outweighed the money they spent for the license, and they wouldn't have thought of the idea themselves.

However, your idea is obvious. Your idea was not known to the general public, yet it was reinvented over and over.

This suggests that your idea should never have been protected in the first place.

My question is: do you actually believe that your patent has helped the world and the money you receive from actual hardworking people is deserved, or do you know that your patent is extractive and you don't care about fairness because you stand to earn so much free money (in other words, is this a cynical money grab that you think is okay because the government failed in it's responsibility to protect the public from bad patents)?

What value have you created? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43968719)

What value have you created? In other words, do you feel podcasting would have developed in the same way and timeframe without your patent? If no, why?
If yes, then why are you demanding money for an idea that has had no impact on the world?

How can I license your podcasting patent? (1)

David Quaid (2948083) | about a year ago | (#43971185)

Hi Jim, I am about to start a podcast of my own, and I want to make sure I do this in the right way.

I looked on your website, but there is no information for how to license your podcasting patent. No online shopping option. No form to mail in. No price. In fact, in the This American Life episode, Richard Baker says "We have a price. We just don't want to make it public."

It seems that the only way to license with you, is to first launch my podcast and then settle with you once you threaten to sue me.

You argue that you are really just a legitimate business man and not a patent troll. But despite the ongoing growth of new podcasts, you have not made it possible for an aspiring podcaster to realize what their financial liability to you might be. This makes it very risky to decide to invest in a new podcast and growing the number of subscribers, since I could be sued out of existence if I succeed.

My question: If you are not a troll, why have you chosen only to sue and threaten, and never directly license to interested customers who are joining the growing podcasting industry?

Re:How can I license your podcasting patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43978021)

I'm sure you can contact personal audio directly to negotiate a licence: info@personalaudio.net

Re:How can I license your podcasting patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43980197)

Perhaps, but that does not seem like a solution that would scale, and they certainly don't advertise it as an option.

EFF (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#43981379)

Could you name these "small companies" that the EFF is targeting? I've only come across DRM-enforcers, record companies, and similar very large corporations.

Against Jim Logan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055253)

Jim Logan, you are completely ANTI-INNOVATION by coming down on people who ACTUALLY create things. 99% of the population feels this way. You are an idiot. Pro Electronic Frontier Foundation!

My New Patent Warchest (1)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | about a year ago | (#44093141)

While you schmucks were all jerking off about how evil it is I managed to score all these important genius new inventions. Applaud me world, I am an innovator! I now have a patent for:

* downloading a shopping list
* downloading a list of music I don't want to hear played
* uploading a playlist
* sideloading a playlist
* pressing the letter 'e' on a keyboard
* gravity - stop downloading my gravity for free or I will sue you!
* hexagonal pixels - they are the FUTURE!
* holograms with interlaced lines, analog noise, bad reception and occasional analog flickering

Time to buy that personal island I've always wanted.

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