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JPEG Committee On The Ball, Seeks Prior Art

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the real-buccaneers-ride-patent-submarines dept.

Patents 219

Sangui5 writes: "It seems as if the JPEG Committee has noticed the recent patent fuss, and is working on the prior art angle. Good to know that even though there's a new standard, the committee is standing by their previous work."

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219 comments

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Good! (5, Funny)

MaxVlast (103795) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928058)

The idea is just silly. Makes me want to go patent the Redbook standard and sue the RIAA.

Re:Good! (5, Informative)

ukryule (186826) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928423)

The idea is just silly. Makes me want to go patent the Redbook standard and sue the RIAA.
Funny you should mention that ... the CD Specification [bizland.com] is stuffed full of patents (mainly from Philips & Sony) which are due to expire in a year or so. I doubt you'll notice the couple of cent drop in price of a CD due to not having to pay the patent holders when they do expire though :-)

The only recent time Philips has got upset with the RIAA was when they weren't sticking to the Redbook standard [slashdot.org] !

Re:Good! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928484)

http://goatse.cx

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928059)

First Post. prior first post art?

Synopsis from the website (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928060)

The approximation of mobile media to physical human body started with portable then wearable terminals, and finally settled to implantable terminals which ushered civilization into a new era where man and machine were no longer separate.

Such integration was realized by direct transplanting of communication terminals to the physical body, allowing the body and mind to interact immediately with standard computer and network technology. These implantables gradually took over the outdated portable/wearable technology, to be recognized as the prototype of "Cyberbrain."

After the ever-growing technology introduced the practical utility of micro-machines, cyberbrains became both safe and inexpensive. This caused rapid popularization of cyberbrains within countries that had little or no religion restrictions, such as Japan.

But the wide prevalence of cyberbrains caused social anxiety: people were exposed to risks of brain-hack because of their neural connection to the entire population using cyberbrains.

The most serious brain-hacking crime was "Ghost Hack", a case where total individuality including past memories and body discretion of a certain person became the subject of the hacker. Various countermeasures were taken, such as the development of numerous protective walls and barriers along with reinforcement of regulations, not to mention security intensification within the neural network system.

But they failed to abolish cyber-crimes, thus resulting in a rat race: further development of protective walls and barriers, and the emergence of more intelligent and original hackers.

Question. (0, Redundant)

outz (448278) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928068)

How will this affect the new Jpeg 2000?

Not reading the article, eh? (5, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928080)

According to the article, JPEG 2000 has had extensive work done to obtain royalty-free licensing. In general, it is thus implied that the JPEG committee believes JPEG 2000 to be unaffected by the patent claims which allegedly restrict the existing JPEG standard.

The Troll Polka: UPDATED by poopbot (-1)

pwpbot (588025) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928081)

THE TROLL POLKA (ARSCHFICKEN MIT ZIEGEN)
By Serial Troller, 2002-06-25

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Is dis nicht his manchode meal? Ja! Das ist his manchode meal!
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Is das nicht ein Goatse hole? Ja! Das ist der Goatse hole!
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Und are they not Taco's sex toys? Ja! They are Taco's sex toys!
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CowBoiKneel, manchode meal, Big crapflood, Linux FUD,
Minus one, trolling fun, Early post, Goatse ghost,
Oh, du schoene, Oh, du schoene, Oh, du schoene, Slashdot sucks!

Is das nicht ein trolltalk thread? Ja! Das ist ein trolltalk thread!
Is it nicht now FUCKING DEAD? Ja! Is really FUCKING DEAD!
Trolltalk thread, FUCKING DEAD! Katz' slave boys, Rob's sex toys,
WIPO Troll, Goatse hole, CowBoiKneel, manchode meal,
Big crapflood, Linux FUD, Minus one, trolling fun,
Early post, Goatse ghost,
Oh, du schoene, Oh, du schoene, Oh, du schoene,
Slashdot sucks!

____________________

Change Log:

* Subtle changes to most verses. It sounded really gay before.
* Removed all references to Taco's pud. May have been high at time. Will investigate further.
* Finally think I have goat sex written correctly in German. I think. Arschficken?

(C) 2002 Serial Troller. Permission to reproduce this document is granted provided that you send all the bukkake porn you can find to serialtroller@hotmail.com.

- posted by poopbot: the bot formerly known as pwpbot

v94LmS9r15 Post #343

IP? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928083)

I think it's time I go and patent intellectual property.

Jpeg (1)

TheStudent-stickit.n (547195) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928091)

So how will this impact the whole GIF vs. PNG thing?

Re:Jpeg (2, Informative)

mfos.org (471768) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928196)

Not at all, the algorithims are from seperate families. GIF and PNG are lossless compression, while JPEG uses discreet cosine transform (lossy) I believe. I could be wrong however. As for having an open alternative to JPEG, I think JPEG2000 is supposed to fit the bill.

Re:Jpeg (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928331)

GIF lossless? Hardly. The only reason it ever succeded as a image format at all was for it's use in the internet. It's just plain smaller (still is) than most image formats, and takes very little CPU power to decode it in a timely fashion. I mean, we're not talking photographic quality here: 255 colors and an alpha channel, with the ability to have some animation quality. JPEG and PNG, on the other hand, are horses of a different color all together (no pun intended.)

PNG is lossless, yes. But, for small monotone colors (the kind used here on /. for example), it actually beats JPEG on size most of the time. (We all know that compression speaking, zlib is pretty darn good at shrinking lot of repeating patterns). To get good quality out of JPEG (I mean photographic quality here), you need to substantially increase the file size (depending on encoding methods). I have found that most JPEG compressor engines run defualt at around 70% quality, and can usually squeeze some pretty good results out of that 70%. Iv'e personally found that I can almost always distinguish .jpgs from the origional tiffs (24bpp tiffs here) up untill 95% (which still nets pretty darn goood compression). The plain truth is, that if you need good quality, 24-32bpp PNGs are pretty hard to beat (for internet use). If you need better quality and compression at the same time, you better just zip that sucker up and do with it what you will.

Re:Jpeg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928341)

Fine line art, signatures, cartoons, icons, and most vector logos suit GIF/PNG. JPEG suits real-world or high-colour+detail images.

Re:Jpeg (2, Informative)

wheany (460585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928406)

GIF lossless? Hardly.[...]255 colors and an alpha channel

Gifs are lossless. Just because you can't use more than 256 colors, doesn't mean the format is lossy. And Gifs don't have an alpha channel, per se, you can just define one of the 256 colors as being completely transparent or not.

Re:Jpeg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928530)

are you on crack? Take a photo, compress it via gif... what are those nasty artifcats, diffusion paterns, etc, etc...

It is a lossy format.... If you original image happens to contain less than 256 colours, you won't lose any infomation...

Re:Jpeg (2, Informative)

BJH (11355) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928686)

Time for you to go back to school and learn the difference between lossless and lossy compression, methinks.

GIF only appears lossy because what you're compressing with it requires more colours than it can provide. The GIF format itself uses only lossless compression.

Re:Jpeg (1)

wheany (460585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928798)

Are you on crack? Take a photo, compress it via png... what are those nasty artifcats, diffusion paterns, etc, etc...

It is a lossy format.... If you original image happens to contain less than 16777216 colours (or 281474976710656 colours if using 16 bits per component), you won't lose any infomation...

And what the hell are you doing compressing a photo with gif in the first place? Jpeg is meant for photos, and gif is meant for low-color pictures. When you draw line-art that has at most 256 colours, gif is lossless.

Re:Jpeg (2)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928948)

Wow, them'z angry words over a file-format comparison. Never thought .GIF vs. .JPG would stir 'a feudin'.

"Are you on crack? Take a photo, compress it via png... what are those nasty artifcats, diffusion paterns, etc, etc..."

PNG is lossless. You can run some optimizations to lessen the amount of data in it before compressing, that's where some of the compression comes in. If you run the same compression twice, you don't get a worse image.

"And what the hell are you doing compressing a photo with gif in the first place? Jpeg is meant for photos, and gif is meant for low-color pictures. When you draw line-art that has at most 256 colours, gif is lossless."

There are valid reasons to go with .GIF. It has a 1-bit transparency channel and can be animated. It decompresses quicker, on an image heavy site that's really important. With a good ditherer, .GIF photos can look just fine. .GIF is lossless. The color information is a pre-processing effect applied before the image is compressed. This drops the total colors down to 256 (or lower for better compression.) If you take that image, compress it again (same as I said above), you don't lose any data in the image. If you take JPEG, and recompress an image, you lose more data.

That clarify things a bit?

Re:Jpeg (2, Informative)

stuuf (587464) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928342)

JPEG cuts the image into 8x8 pixel blocks, then compresses them. JPEG2000 uses streaming wavelet compression that can decompress and increase resolution as the file is transferred. The current patent doesn't affect gif/png, but it might make someone think they can announce a patent on png just like Forgent did with jpg.

Re:Jpeg (2, Interesting)

mikecarrmikecarr (43676) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928432)

So how will this impact the whole GIF vs. PNG thing?

GIF's continue to be bad; PNG's continue to be good

Ignoring the philosophical reasons, PNG's are better:

  1. (In my experience) PNG's are smaller
  2. They support a variety of compression standards (see pngcrush [sourceforge.net] )
  3. They support a larger number of colors. GIF's used a 8 bit palette; PNG's can do truecolor, greyscale or 8 bit palette
  4. They support animation (through the related MNG standard)
  5. They support transparency through alpha channels. Alpha channels are a very good thing that I could rant and rave about (but I won't ;)
  6. They support gamma correction
  7. They support more intelligent interlacing than GIF's
See http://www.libpng.org/pub/png/pngintro.html [libpng.org] for more information, if you're so inclined.

Re:Jpeg (1)

wheany (460585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928846)

They support animation (through the related MNG standard)

That is just simply wrong. Png does specifically not support animation, because the png group thought that gif having animation is misleading, because its MIME type is image/gif, when animated gifs should be video/gif. That is why png only supports static images, and that is why a separate format (=mng), supporting animation, was made.

PrOn to the rescue (5, Funny)

epicstruggle (311178) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928093)

Ahh, time to bust out with my prOn collection. As every /. reader knows the prOn industry has been at the bleeding edge of technology. :)
Im sure some one has an image that can show prior art.

Re:PrOn to the rescue (1)

IO ERROR (128968) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928108)

Im sure some one has an image that can show prior art.

Yeah. it's at www.goatse.cx. That image certainly seems to apply...

Re:PrOn to the rescue (1)

H3XA (590662) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928114)

hmmm..... all my pr0n from 10 years ago consisted of .GIF files.....

- HeXa

Re:PrOn to the rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928215)

That's because 10 years ago, .jpeg's seems to take forever to decompress and view on most computers.

I do remember Giflite, though, for compressing those gifs even smaller so you could transfer them more quickly.

Re:PrOn to the rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928293)

Yeah! I remember on a stock Amiga 3000, there was this program called The Art Department, it had this needle progress gage when loading a JPEG, it took about 1-2 seconds for a 800x600 image.

eww... (2, Funny)

telstar (236404) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928421)

As every /. reader knows the prOn industry has been at the bleeding edge of technology.
  • I don't know about you, but my fetishes never combined bleeding and pr0n.

Re:PrOn to the rescue (4, Funny)

kubrick (27291) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928545)

Um, shouldn't that be "at the breeding edge of technology"?

...

Thank you, thank you, I'll take those groans as my applause :)

Re:PrOn to the rescue (2)

thedbp (443047) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928746)

The sad part is, this is entirely true. The DVD format was widely underutilized until the porn industry stepped in ...

umm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928095)

...how about the people that actually developed the JPEG format?? Shouldn't the patent then be credited (ie, transferred) to [that person|those people]?

<tool>This is necessary</tool> (5, Insightful)

MrHat (102062) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928099)

From the original "Forgent" Press Release:

"We wanted to ensure the investment community and the general public are clear about the terms of our valuable JPEG data compression technology, one of the many technologies we have in our patent portfolio," stated Richard Snyder, chairman and chief executive officer at Forgent. "We are in ongoing discussions with other manufacturers of digital still cameras, printers, scanners and other products that use JPEG technology for licensing opportunities."

I'm not sure I'd even praise the JPEG group for taking swift action - I'd say they're doing what's necessary to combat Forgent's crime. Doing their job as a standards body like an officer does his job as a member of the police. Read that press release again, and try not to grit your teeth.

If you want my opinion (and I'm sure you don't), a company whose business plan involves sitting on a patent for eleven years, then springing back to life to collect, doesn't just need to be stopped. They need to be prosecuted - for a calculated conspiracy to defraud the general public and standards bodies.

Sorta like Rambus (2, Interesting)

PingXao (153057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928284)

Didn't Rambus get slapped for this sort of trick? If I remember correctly, they held certain IP which they did not disclose during the standards meetings. Then they waited until lots of other companies were using those standards, which incorporated their IP. When the momentum was already strong, they attempted to collect absurd royalties, and let loose their legal dogs to pounce on anyone who didn't ante up. Sounds verrrrrryyyyyy familiar.

Nope (5, Informative)

spacefrog (313816) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928635)

Although it does smell a bit like Rambus, the situations aren't really similar at all.

The big difference here is that Rambus was a member of the standards body in question (JEDEC). The agreement they signed to become a member of this standards body obligated them to disclose patents. They didn't and thus violated a contract.

As far as I can tell, Forgent is not a member of the JPEG organization, nor did they ever propose to the JPEG body that they adopt their IP as a standard.

The two situations may look similar on the surface, but that is where the similarities end.

Re:Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928784)

If there's any truth behind this posting [slashdot.org] from the previous slashdot thread about the JPEG patent issue, then there are some similarities. True, it wasn't Forgent involved in the JPEG committee, but it looks like Forgent bought Compression Labs purely to (ab)use this patent, and would presumably have done some research into how the patent came about.

The patent also seems to apply [slashdot.org] only to the JFIF part anyhow.

If both these takes on the situation are true, then this patent claim should get blown out of the water without much trouble. It's a shame some companies have already rolled over and paid money to the leeches at Forgent, but hopefully they'll be the last.

Re:This is necessary (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928301)

I'm not sure I'd even praise the JPEG group for taking swift action - I'd say they're doing what's necessary to combat Forgent's crime. Doing their job as a standards body like an officer does his job as a member of the police.

The thing to understand here is that the way things are lately, we consider it an unusual and joyous occation when a computer industry body does its job properly or acts in the public interest..

Re:This is necessary (3)

jelle (14827) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928768)

"a company whose business plan involves sitting on a patent for eleven years, then springing back to life to collect, doesn't just need to be stopped. They need to be prosecuted"

I agree. If it's not illegal yet, it should be. It doesn't even matter whether or not this particular patent is applicable to JPEG, this is yet another case of abuse of the patent law to do things that the law was not intended for. A big part of the problem is that fighting this nonsense required ridiculous amounts of time and money, making it really effective for the "plaintiff" even if they are not holding a valid and applicable patent. And that is just sad.

In other news... (3, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928105)

... the Porn Industry is expected to hit a recession... heh :)

Re:In other news... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928429)

(* the Porn Industry is expected to hit a recession [due to JPEG fees] *)

Great! The only chance a geek will get to hit on real babes will be the unemployment office.

At least it will make queuing tolerable.

waste of hardrive space and bandwidth (0)

jwolgamott (568248) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928113)

<unndeedsarcasmdisclaimer>
could save tens of thousands of bytes by using .gifs for their graphics instead
</unndeedsarcasmdisclaimer>

secondhand sigs do not bring secondhand coolness (apologies to the onion)

Re:waste of hardrive space and bandwidth (-1)

propstoalldeadhomiez (444303) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928258)

Considering that gifs are also limited to 256 colors, it's not a good choice to store your photographs and porn as gifs.

Re:waste of hardrive space and bandwidth (1, Offtopic)

Graymalkin (13732) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928405)

Back in the day porn used to be a whopping 16 colours! We don't need 256 colours, 16.7 million is just overkill.

They had no choice but to do this... (5, Insightful)

ndnet (3243) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928121)

The JPEG Committee had to do this. So what if there is a new standard? Without securing the old one, who would adopt the new one.

They could say two things:
1) We've got a new standard. Just move every image on the web to it.
2) This is absurd. We're going to fight this, but if all else fails, slowly adapt the new standard.

At least now, with option number two, they maintain credibility, as they don't have unreasonable expectations.
Also, a bit off-topic, but is there any real competition for a web photo-quality image format? PNG is an obvious GIF killer and is slightly entrenched (IE, has browser support), but JPEG2000 isn't as far as I know.

The role of standards bodies (2)

Bouncings (55215) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928282)

Every self-respecting standards body would be forced to do what JPEG is doing. Unfortunately, I think this signals a shift in the role of standards bodies. Perhaps the day is here when they no longer work on technical and industry cooperation, so much as they form an umbrella group to defend many manufacturers from patent lawsuits.

The irony in this is that standards bodies are part of the Great Word Capitalism, which is the same general philosophy/entity that created frivolous lawsuits and absurd patents. At least the first group Forget (intentionally misspelled) contacted wasn't the developers of The Gimp or something.

Re:The role of standards bodies (4, Informative)

dvdeug (5033) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928337)

At least the first group Forget (intentionally misspelled) contacted wasn't the developers of The Gimp or something.

Why would they? When you're doing something like this, open source people don't have cash to pony up, and help keep people dependent on the technology in question.

Re:They had no choice but to do this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928735)

Ok, I just have to point out a few things:

#1: JPEG2k is extremely patent laden. That means it's expensive to use. That means that in the end, you get to pay to use software that supports it. And Pay You Shall.

#2: JPEG2k is very processor and memory intensive to encode and decode. Sure, might not be a problem for every geek that has a Hexium(r) processor running at 5.92 Terrahertz, but it's gonna be a huge problem for people with older hardware. That brings me to #2 subsection B. Embedded devices that manipulate images will need bigger batteries/stronger porcessors if they hope to use JPEG2k. More porcessor, faster encoding eh. (On a personal note, I'd really hate to have to wait for 30 sec in between shots with my digicam, or to have vastly increaced buffer and memory sizes--thus increacing battery usage even further--to support JPEG2k, with marginal increace in image quality. I'd rather just buy gobs of CF memory and use tiff)

#3: People with older hardware/software will most likely not get the opportunity to use JPEG2k. Software vendors aren't going to go out of their way to support outmoded products. Expect to be licensing your new copy of XP++ (with all new JPEG2k support built in and paid for) from your microsoft pimp (err authorized licensor).

In short, JPEG2k and its' wavelet/fractal technology might be just the thing a hardcore graphics freak craves, but it's hardly the end-all solution to our current predicament, and IMO dosen't even deserve a second take for web related materials. It's just too expensive in so many ways that it's never going to be worth it (read bandwith and memory will likely be less of a concern, and facilitate the use of lossless images/image compression.)

As an aside, PNG may have been developed to replace GIF once unisys tried to pull this same move, but It's hardly comparable. Not only does PNG offer full photoquality, but it does so losslessly. It makes increadibly small file sizes on images that have relatively few colors, has REAL alpha support, and can do all of the above at 32bpp. GIF with it's 255 color + alpha dosen't even come close.

Of course, I'm not saying GIF dosen't have it's place (most bowsers only support a subset of PNG, for example.. thereby making alpha and the other goodies completely useless), its' small, light weight, and works great for animated clips.

Every graphics file format has it's advantages and disadvantages, that's what is going to keep JPEG (ubiquity), GIF(size) and hopely eventually PNG(all around player) the dominant file formats on the WWW in the future. /RANT

Re:They had no choice but to do this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928875)

Isn't part 1 of jpeg2k meant to be IP-free?

As for png, i hope that gets replaced by something, anything. jpeg2k's lossless mode canes png something chronic, although that's to be expected when one uses a text compression algo on image data - fancy that.

Sad day ... Stephen King dead at 54 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928125)


I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Besides the obligitory "Forgent-ery" joke... (5, Insightful)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928127)

Their patent describes a technique for digital video compression that uses some of the same mathematical techniques as JPEG, only their method requires more than one frame to be present to offer any significant compression (so I have been told).

If that is true, that alone should be enough to tell Forgent to piss off.
IANAL

Re:Besides the obligitory "Forgent-ery" joke... (1)

abdulla (523920) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928365)

What about Motion JPEG then? Does it apply to that? Or is it more to do purely with compression due to recurring data across adjacent frames? In that case, aren't a lot of other video/picture formats under the umbrella (gif?).

Re:Besides the obligitory "Forgent-ery" joke... (2)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928909)

I asked [slashdot.org] about Motion JEPG before, in a thread in the story about the pantent infringement claim, but got no response.

The parent post [slashdot.org] to that comment is where I got most of my information from, although it seems slightly less than gramatically sound and is definately not formatted to be easy on the eyes. I had a hard time fully understanding, as I also am no expert on Wavelet/Fourier/Cosine/Etc. style JPEG-type math.

If there is some compression using the JPEG-type algorithms for compressing video which stores not only the compressed image but information about changes across frames then the patent will hold against only that. Is this the way Motion JPEG works, or does it merely use JPEG compression to reduce each frame and simply string them all together for playback? The latter case would be legal.

Something I don't get. (5, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928129)

I know that in trademark law, if a company fails to vigorously enforce a trademark they lose claim to it. The effect of this is McDonald's sometimes sues a little family restarant called McDonald's and other strange insane lawsuits.

Does this same thing not apply to patent law at all? A company has a patent, allows it to be deluted, and then goes after everybody. In trademark law, this would be thrown out of court.

Now you could say "Trademarks and Patents are two different things" but they are really aren't. And so I'd like a laywer to explain to me WTF gives companies the right to broadside tech firms every few months with bullshit patent claims.

Re:Something I don't get. (4, Insightful)

seebs (15766) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928228)

Yes, they really *are* different. Maybe they shouldn't be, but they *are*.

Be glad the IP laws are different - otherwise, the owners of books and movies *WOULD* be legally obliged to sue fanfic writers.

Re:Something I don't get. (4, Insightful)

g4dget (579145) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928323)

Be glad the IP laws are different - otherwise, the owners of books and movies *WOULD* be legally obliged to sue fanfic writers.

First of all, many claims against fan fiction are based on trademarks. However, if the trademarks are used in a non-commercial way, things get murky with regard to having to enforce the trademark.

Second, I think it would be good if companies were required to enforce all of their IP claims quickly and fully. Then, writers of fan fiction would have clarity, and companies would be force to make a choice. Does company X want a thriving communities of fans, or do they want tight control of their "property"? Right now, they have people enhance the value of their property, but then they go after them when a buck is to be made.

Strict enforcement of laws is good even if you disagree with the laws: it is only through strict enforcement that the general public sees why some laws don't make sense.

Re:Something I don't get. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928316)

McDonald's sometimes sues a little family restarant called McDonald's

No, it's "McDowell's" and they have "golden arcs" not "golden arches" and a "Big Mc" rather than a "Big Mac".

Re:Something I don't get. (1)

tg_schlacht (570380) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928334)

The effect of this is McDonald's sometimes sues a little family restarant called McDonald's...

Another side effect of this is that McDonald's occasionally get their ass smacked down in Scotland.

Re:Something I don't get. (3, Interesting)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928561)

"Now you could say "Trademarks and Patents are two different things" but they are really aren't."

I think the reason why patent holders don't have to immediately prosecute is that patents are considered less readily visible than trademarks. For example, if another company opens a burger chain named "McDonalds", a lot of people are going to notice. If, on the other hand, a company infringes on McDonalds' (made up) patent for cooking a hamburger for 98.742 seconds, it might take awhile for it to become known.

In short, it takes 30 seconds to find out what someone is publically calling themself, but it can take considerably longer to reverse engineer one of their products. IP protection/enforcement laws seem to reflect this disparity.

That being said, I do think that something has to be done about people pulling the submarine patent non-sense. But I still think you'd be doing a disservice to treat this IP identically, as there are differences. Heck, even the length that the IP exists is different in both cases (as patents need to have a fixed life while trademarks should continue as long as the manufacturer makes the product; there's no compelling reason to suddenly declare that anyone can make a car called a Ford simply because it's been XX years since Ford began using the trademark).

So let me see if I got this straight? (1)

TriCCer (591321) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928151)

They're calling apon all the old skool pr0n collectors?

Re:So let me see if I got this straight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928153)

How'd you work that one out?

Re:So let me see if I got this straight? (1)

TriCCer (591321) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928261)

They are trying to find prior art. (And oh yes, It's 6 in the morning, and I'm still reading slashdot, that's HOW)

Prior Art? (5, Funny)

MattC413 (248620) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928156)

So.. If they want prior art that pre-dates the patent in question, all we need to do is find, lurking in some deep and dark corner of the internet, some REALLY old JPEG compressed image, most likely pornography.

Course, to prove that this file really was old, we'd have to find the subject and maybe pose them the same way to show it's the same person, and then.. uhh.. no, wait.. old person porn.. Eww!

Please disregard!
*opens wallet, prepares to just pay the stupid royalties*

-Matt

Re:Prior Art? (1)

marko123 (131635) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928177)

Gopher should come to the rescue. I vaguely remember a place called The Seventeenth Floor, that had an automatically updating weekly list of the biggest perverts based on KB downloaded.

Re:Prior Art? (3, Funny)

tcc (140386) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928221)

Pamella pre-silicone age...

Oh wait... bad idea. that would kill the art in prior art :)

Re:Prior Art? (2, Informative)

TitaniumFox (467977) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928547)

Actually, she was quite a cutie in her first Playboy photo shoot. No silicone. Miss Feb, 1990.

Check her out here [homestead.com] . (Nope, not nude.)

Re:Prior Art? (2, Insightful)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928339)

Idea!

Google has usenet posts from wayback when-the-fsck. There may be prior art there even though any binary encodes will probably be blown out.

Isn't JPEG just a FFT? (1, Interesting)

FelixCat (594769) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928225)

I thought that JPEG was just a Fast Fourier Transform of the encoded data. How can patent this with so much history in the Mathematics literature?

Crazy

Re:Isn't JPEG just a FFT? (3, Informative)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928345)

It's actually a 2-dimensional DCT (discrete cosine transform), some quantization applied inequally (the low-frequency components are better represented; this is the lossy part), and then entropy-coded (Huffman or arithmetic, aka zip-like lossless compression) in a cool zig-zag fashion. Here's a quick, decent summary. [rasip.fer.hr]

Re:Isn't JPEG just a FFT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928367)

You are a liar! JPEG is an act of God. People denying it are terrorists.

-- MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

I have teh AIDS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928233)

I am a muppet! For the love of god, kill me!

Re:I have teh AIDS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928309)

Don't kill him yet! Let CmdrTaco finish ass ramming him first!

Thank God! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928269)

Thank God for the JPEG group. Couldnt have made http://goatse.cx without em! God bless!

Some thoughts and questions (5, Insightful)

cout (4249) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928307)

1) Patent 4,698,672 can be searched for at http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/srchnum.htm. The URL is too long to paste here.

2) The jpeg.org page seems to indicate that the patent only affects the baseline implementation of JPEG. If this is true, then it should be possible to write a new baseline implementation that doesn't infringe on the patent.

3) I'm curious what prior art will show up. In 1986, many people were still using BSAVE/BLOAD to store images.

Re:Some thoughts and questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928347)

The URL [uspto.gov] doesn't have to be pasted.

Re:Some thoughts and questions (2)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928358)

3) I'm curious what prior art will show up. In 1986, many people were still using BSAVE/BLOAD to store images.
If it's just the run-length-encoding, there should be plenty of prior art. I know that Amiga's IFF ILBM picture format used RLE compression and that was certainly developed prior to 1986.

It'll Expire Next Year (2)

Cardhore (216574) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928349)

If the patent was filed in 1986, then it will expire in 2003, 17 years later. Please remember that the underlying problem with patents is bad legislation.

Re:It'll Expire Next Year (2)

Cardhore (216574) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928364)

Actually it will expire in 2006, 20 years later, as per US title 35 sec 154 [cornell.edu] , which took effect June 8, 1995.

Re:It'll Expire Next Year (5, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928448)

Actually, it'll expire 17 years from date of issue, since it is grandfathered as a submerged patent filing. In other words, it's governed by the old rules because it was filed under the old rules.

Patents files on or after June 8 1995 are 20 years from date of filing; before that, patents were from date of issue, not of filing, and their term was 7 or 14 years, and grew to 17. One of the reasons for the change to a 20 year term was the move to date of filing as the baseline date.

Either way, it's too damn long a period for this industry.

-- Terry

Prior art? (1)

dacarr (562277) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928366)

I'm sure there's some on my page... Just try, Forge-it, just try.

My penis is: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928368)

  • 100% in your ear

  • 25% in your nose, 75% in your mouth

  • Tastes great!

Re:My penis is: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928385)

  • Profit!
-- MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

after looking at their site... (1)

v8interceptor (586130) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928370)

... at least we know that bevels are safe.
Drop shadows too!

OpenGL/Microsloth patent dispute is the same deal (2, Interesting)

Whammy666 (589169) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928380)

This is the second major IP bombshell to hit the computing community in the last few weeks. First, the implied threat of M$ playing the patent card with their acquisition of an openGL patent, and now this. This seems to be new tactic among greedy corporations which involves seeking out widely used patents whose owners have allowed free use by non-commercial entities, purchasing the patent, and then announcing new restrictions in a effort to cash in on it's popularity.

It seems to me that a patent that has been released into the public domain (at least for non-commercial use) should remain so if and when the patent is sold. I don't believe that there is any law requiring this, but anyone selling an 'open patent' should include a requirement that it remain open as terms of the sale to avoid this very situation.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if someone should decide to challenge a patent that was open only to be closed at a later date. Think about the series of events: Group A invents an image compression algorithm and grants me license to use the patent free of charge. I develop a group of products based on this agreement. Everything is cool until Group B buys the patent and says I can't use the patent anymore (or worse, demands back royalties). But wait, my products were based on a agreement I had with Group A, not Group B. Group B came in after the original agreement and is trying to change the terms of my agreement with Group A after I've executed the agreement. I would argue that Group B would be compelled to honor any agreements that Group A had in force at the time of the purchase as part of the package of buying the patent.

===
All your patents are belong to us.

Re:OpenGL/Microsloth patent dispute is the same de (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928441)

"This is the second major IP bombshell to hit the computing community in the last few weeks..."

Ladies and gents, I give to you the author of the infamous "BSD is dying" posts!

Proof: "One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community..."

Re:OpenGL/Microsloth patent dispute is the same de (1)

wheany (460585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928576)

What patent dispute?

Re:OpenGL/Microsloth patent dispute is the same de (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928764)

There is nothing unclear about the situation you describe; if rights to a patent are sold, this includes all obligations to previous license agreements.

The patent process needs good prior art databases (3, Informative)

ukryule (186826) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928397)

What the JPEG Committee is proposing is a general 'prior art database' which should be generally useful for any image related dispute. This is a 'good thing'(tm) whether anyone is currently trying to claim JPEG prior-art or not. The current patent process desperately needs quick and easy ways to search for prior art.

To see why, consider the standard process for creating a patent in a large company:
  1. You write up an overview of the patent, and submit it. Presumably you know your field, so the first 'prior art filter' is you - have you heard of anything similar?
  2. You hand it over to your companies patent agent. (S)he will probably be assigned to a particular field (e.g. 'audio/video/image processing'), so understands the area, but is not going to be an expert.
  3. The patent agent reads through your explanation and does a prior art search - and returns to you a selection of things that may be relevant.
  4. You explain how your invention is novel compared to these. If you convince him, then the wheels are set in motion, and your company (eventually) submits a patent application.
  5. The Patent Office reads it and searches for prior art. If they find none, your patent is granted, while if they find something, then it is up to you/your company to dispute their findings.
So, in steps 3 & 5 you have legal experts who understand the area, but are probably not technically expert in the exact field of the patent who have a responsibility to search for prior art. They are also under time pressure, as they have loads of proposals to deal with. So what they do is pull out a few relevant keywords from the proposal and search on them in some prior-art database.

The most obvious (and easy) database is the existing patents DB. Now, I'm sure they have other databases they use, but whenever I've been through the process, nearly all the potential prior art which has been returned to me via the patent agent has been previously published patents. So if an idea hasn't been patented before, then it's got a good chance of getting accepted as a new patent.

So if the JPEG group build an extensive, easily searchable catalogue of prior art (with times, keywords, etc.), then it will make the patent agents life a lot easier, thus increasing the quality of patents.

Computers are not magical beings (2)

tlambert (566799) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928481)

Computers are not magical beings, capable of exercising judgement.

The problem is that the default for patent applications, since the PTO reform of several years ago, is "granted".

It should be *harder*, not easier, to prove lack of prior art. The failure of a database query hardly constitutes "lack of prior art". It also does noting with regard to the uniqueness or obviousness provisions.

Your suggested database would result in *more*, not *fewer* bogus patents being granted, because it would accelerate the application process without adding any protection above and beyond what's already there.

-- Terry

Re:Computers are not magical beings (3, Interesting)

ukryule (186826) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928572)

It should be *harder*, not easier, to prove lack of prior art.
You've got it the wrong way round. The Patent Office does not prove lack of prior art, it proves prior art. What I would say is "It should be *easier*, not harder, to prove prior art."
The failure of a database query hardly constitutes "lack of prior art"
That is exactly what happens in practise. A patent agent has a few hours to understand the patent in front of him, search for prior art, compare all the prior art he finds to the proposal, and then justify rejecting/accepting it.
There is no way they are going to go trawling through archived usenet postings/search the web for detailled date-stamped documentation for every case. They *need* an easy way to search for something to compare the proposal against.
Your suggested database would result in *more*, not *fewer* bogus patents being granted, because it would accelerate the application process without adding any protection above and beyond what's already there.
I'm not suggesting that the time/patent is decreased - simply that the patent agent has more powerful tools to prove the (in)validity of a patent in that time. That has got to be a good thing.

How will a database fix things? (2)

tlambert (566799) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928707)

How will a database fix things?

Even if it's "the bestest database ever", it still has to be searched by humans with a sufficient understanding of the practice of the art to select appropriate search terms, by way of a common lexicography with the filing mechanism which was used to load the "magic database".

In other words, why is the problem ammenable to a fractional technical answer, in your opinion?

I really don't understand what a database will do, other than identify what has or has not been patented previously -- and therefore, it will not contain anything which would otherwise fail the obviousness test, since such things are not patentable.

Also, FWIW: In the U.S., they are called "patent examiners", not "agents", and the filer bears the brunt of the search for prior art, in a seperate process called a "patent search". It's not up to individual examiners to prove that something was not patented previously.

The only thing your database does is make it easier to file patents by making it easier for the non-patent-office-personnel to do their searches.

In other words, the suggested database does not address any of the process issues that are the root of the problem in the first place.

If you want to dicuss fixes... fine. But creation of a database is not a fix, it's just a means of exacerbating the problem.

-- Terry

What about AOL/Quantum Computer Services? (1)

speedfreak_5 (546044) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928425)

Been around since 1985. Hopefully they would still have something lying around...

Burn All JPEGS! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928457)

burn all .jpegs [burnalljpegs.org]

about jpeg web site (1)

dawnsnow (8077) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928579)

So I visited www.jpeg.org
As an official site of one of very popular graphic format, I found it's very crappy looking
Well, I shouldn't judge the web site by its look, but someone has to clean up that cheesy look.

I work for JPEG2K, posted this story Friday.. (2, Interesting)

warpedrive (532727) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928605)

.. And was rejected. The exact story, and I posted it because we were in committee discussing it. Someone else posts it, and it's news? I really thought that whomever arbitrates this, was interested in content, not in particular authors. changes my idea of how this forum works. Bit more elitist than I thought.

Re:I work for JPEG2K, posted this story Friday.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928760)

What do you expect? This is a website where articles are rejected for a week, and then accepted after that time.

Re:I work for JPEG2K, posted this story Friday.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928924)

Fucking grow up, man.

This is the first time that's happened to you? Different authors (CmdrTaco, michael, chrisd, etc.) find different stories interesting.

Maybe michael saw your story on Friday and decided it wasn't quite newsworthy so removed it from the queue. Then today timothy sees the new one and he decides it is newsworthy, so he posts it.

It's nothing that worth getting pissy about. Hundreds of links a day get sent in. They aren't going to post them next time.

Better luck next time and stop whining. Thanks.

Yeah, right. (2)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928932)

They did this to personally slight you. Ignore that there are several different people working on a backend where (litterally) thousands of stories are entered by hopeful posters every day. The major first step in this is the quick scan of titles, where they just tick off any titles which seem like confused or bad posts. Then they have to sivv through all the remaining ones, edit (which they don't really do well here at /.), and post. They do this all day, most days. But ignore that and assume they did it just because they don't like you.

Now come back to reality. They do not have a personal "out to get warpedrive" cabal meeting every week, nor did they reject your story because of any reason other than they just rejected it. Things which are bad in the world happen because they do, not because someone or something is out to get you. HTH. HAND.

Does JPEG 2000 have an open license? (1)

neibwe (101336) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928675)

I tried a few searches, "jpeg 2000 (license/patent/open source)", but
I didn't find anything. Any tips?

Re:Does JPEG 2000 have an open license? (1)

1000Monkeys (593520) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928779)

Did you try reading the last paragraph of the story, where they answer your questions specifically?

Re:Does JPEG 2000 have an open license? (3, Informative)

neibwe (101336) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928826)

A discission I found from Google states that:
...JBIG and JPEG 2000 both mandate use of one or more patented techniques
which are owned by companies that take part in JPEG.
[1]

And mentions some nice licensing guidelines:
I would welcome a standard wavelets codec, and an associated standard

format, but I'm not very interested unless they are either free of
patents or include a free-of-charge unlimited license.

--Nick Lamb njl98rSWAPWITHATSIGNecs.soton.ac.uk: When will Gimp support JPEG2000 [berkeley.edu]

But earlier on Slashdot in Slashback: Alternatives, Ads, Apple [slashdot.org] A discussion regarding the licensing scheme to Jpeg2000 pointed to it (the license) being open.
...because those companies who currently claim patents on part 1 of JPEG2000 have also agreed to license their patents to

the general public without royalty

--yerricde, User #125198: JPEG2000 is royalty free [slashdot.org]

Can anyone verify that Jpeg2000 has an unencumbering license?

Software patents should be abolished (4, Insightful)

elliot_leonard (594890) | more than 12 years ago | (#3928890)

If software patents become widespread, I can easily imagine a situation where one violates 100 patents just to write an extremely trivial program. Computer software is a very evolutionary art form. Every program written owes a large debt to previous developments. We are fortunate that up until recently, almost all software innovation was done in a climate largely free of patents. I sometimes wonder what things would be like if Apple had won its patent fight with Microsoft over Windows.

I used to write software for a very large corporation. We were frequently encouraged to file patents for anything that we invented. We were rewarded even if our patent application was rejected. A successful patent application was a big deal. The corporation was quite sensibly trying to build up its portfolio of patents.

Eventually, you may have to work for some big corporation to write software. Only someone with a big software patent portfolio will be in a position to cross license with the other big players and thereby receive legal permission to use a basic set of key patents. I expressed this concern to a lawyer at Unisys, and his response was basically 'So what?'. He said that he thought that this had already happened in the chemical industry.

I guess that I was something of a crackpot to voice these views inside the big corporation where I worked. It was very encouraging to find out that the folks at the League for Programming Freedom(http://lpf.ai.mit.edu) share my reservations about software patents.

I doubt that Forgent have read through the patent (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3928938)

If you read through the patent claim forgent has you can see it is RLE encoding based on LZW and not approximation like JPEG has. Forgents patent is non lossy where JPEG is, actually it has more claim to PNG than JPEG in that case. Which is not very good either if you ask me. I also had a look through the database at the patent office and there are hundreds of similar claims to all kinds of compression algorithms. Some are so fuzzy you could applicate them to anything. Somehow I feel this is only the beginning. The patents really needs a change in the laws in order to clarify the patents and get rid of these ambushes. Fortunately in EU you don't have to care about patents as long as it is for free use.

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