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Acacia Steps Up Content-Transfer Patent Claims

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the you-can't-make-up-or-distribute-this-stuff dept.

The Internet 184

MarkRH writes "Over at ExtremeTech we've got an in-depth story on the 20-odd suits being filed against the online porn industry by Acacia Research Corp., which has been previously covered on Slashdot. Now, several online porn companies are forming an association called IMPA (the 'Internet Media Protective Association'). We sat in on conference calls held by the industry, and interviewed Acacia executives. Bottom line: the porn industry is just the beginning."

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184 comments

mm.. (4, Funny)

seann (307009) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902104)

Is there anything porn Can't do?
Fight the government, clean the tubes, sounds like a full day for me.

Re:mm.. (5, Funny)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902316)

clean the tubes

I know this will get mod'ed off topic, but what the hell, I have karma to burn

That statement reminds me of a joke (apologies to our foreign friends if you don't get it)

A guy was at the hospital getting ready to get a vasectomy. He was in a sour mood knowing the fate that was about to befall him. After removing his clothes and donning his hospital gown, he was lead by a nurse down the halls of the hospital to go to see the doctor how was to perform the procedure. On the way down the hall, he happened to glance into a room. In that room he saw several attractive nurses giving BJ's to the male patients. "Holy Cow, what's going on in there" he asked. The nurse calmly replied that those men were also getting vasectomies, and that as a pre-surgery procedure, they want to make sure that the mans plumbing was clear of any semen. Now his demeanour picked right up and his pace quickened down the hallway. He then happened to glance another room, and in this room there were several men in gowns holding Playboys while jacking off. "What is going on in there?" he asked puzzled. The nurse replied, "Oh, the same thing, but they belong to an HMO."

Re:mm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902562)

I think the HMO guys would get construction workers named Biff beating the crap out of them until they came.

I belong to an HMO.

Re:mm.. (4, Insightful)

dirvish (574948) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902628)

Why do you think the internet is as succesful as it is? PORN! Why do you think pay-per-view exists? PORN! Porn gets most forms of media going.

Pr0n? (-1, Offtopic)

AndreAtlan (529906) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902110)

What? someone on the internet who Doesnt want porn? Laugh. It's funny!

Re:Pr0n? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902599)

http://xbo.cx [xbo.cx]

Laugh! it's funny.

something srtange (1, Funny)

rainman31415 (576575) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902111)

there seems to be something simply wrong with an alliance in the porn industry.....the Christian right is gonna have a fit. might make for some entertaining news...


rainman

Re:something srtange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902152)

Yeah man,

How long until Bush declares War On Porn to take the heat off Trent Lott?

Re:something srtange (4, Interesting)

jvj24601 (178471) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902192)

there seems to be something simply wrong with an alliance in the porn industry.....the Christian right is gonna have a fit. might make for some entertaining news...

Of course, the Christian right has some sites that also use streaming video (see the link titled "Watch the Program" from CBN [cbn.com] ).

Now, an alliance between the porn industry and CBN - that would be impressive...

Re:something srtange (4, Funny)

nagora (177841) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902345)

Now, an alliance between the porn industry and CBN - that would be impressive...

This is getting more and more like a game of Illuminati [sjgames.com] every day!

TWW

At least the porn people have the money tof ight (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902138)

God bless us all for contributing to their bank accounts.

First rule of fat club (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902142)

is you don't talk about fat club.

Cock Cockwood! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902309)

Vlad,
By posting this, you broke your club's rule. No Twinkies for you, fatty.

It's ironic... (5, Interesting)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902148)

... Ironic to me at least. The MPAA claims that video over the net has to be locked up in a chastity belt in order to survive. Yet, the porn industry has been able to thrive even in a highly saturated market.

It'd suck if this caused a damaging blow to the porn industry. It's probably the best proof out there that the internet *is* a place where people can make money with content without having to use DRM.

Re:It's ironic... (3, Funny)

ejdmoo (193585) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902237)

"It'd suck if this caused a damaging blow to the porn industry."

Couldn't help it...

Re:It's ironic... (2, Interesting)

b0r1s (170449) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902346)

It'd suck if this caused a damaging blow to the porn industry. It's probably the best proof out there that the internet *is* a place where people can make money with content without having to use DRM.

Nice claim, but the porn industry does, to some extent, employ DRM in many of the video content they allow to be downloaded.

There are video (porn) files floating around that can only be played a certain number of times (Windows media, not MPEG or AVI), and can not be played after being burned.

Re:It's ironic... (4, Interesting)

sys$manager (25156) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902350)

From what I've heard, the porn industry isn't thriving. Three companies control almost all of the Internet porn and everyone else barely breaks even, if that.

Re:It's ironic... (5, Interesting)

ryochiji (453715) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902943)

>Yet, the porn industry has been able to thrive even in a highly saturated market.

You don't ever mess with the porn industry. And the MPAA knows that.

I'm serious. The porn industry has proven itself to be vital in propogation of new technologies. Whether it's the internet, "rich content" or cable TV, the porn industry has always lead the industry at large. Killing the porn industry is equivalent to technological suicide.

hmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902155)

"When you say 'low hanging fruit', yes, it makes business sense for us to pursue an industry that's making money,'" said Robert Berman, senior vice president and general counsel at Acacia. "They've been doing it for years."

Whoa... throw that one on the bloopers real...

Re:hmm.... (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 11 years ago | (#4903086)

I wonder if it ever occured to those people that companies that are "making money" also may very well have the resources to fight off an attack? I suspect that the porn industry is the LAST group they want to mess with.

Any company that can enrich your war chest can create one of it's own.

Contact the big guys yourself (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902165)

--contact the big guys yourself. If these guys get an court settlement test cases in their favor, it's going to cost a lot of the big guys serious folding money to fight the case themselves. whereas-if you can convince them to help you fight your relatively small case NOW, they can potentially save BIG BUCKS later. That's the best idea I can think of right now. These guys are fishing, but they will start taking people to court, and bet a nickle that they have a tame judge's area picked out where to file in. That's just a logic train, in war, the dude who picks the battle and terrain and goes first has the upper hand right off the bat. I haven't looked at any of the patents yet though, so no idea if their claims have any merit, but potentially this is bigger than the e-commerce patent fights if what they say is true. Just think of real player and quicktime and windows media player stuff, it would appear that all of those efforts are in violation potentially. I mean, transmitting digital content on wires? Say whut? That's a very, very broad avenue for "the internet". You might have difficulty though seeing as how you have a porn site, could be none of the big guys would want to be seen publically as "in favor of" your ....uhhh... artistic efforts on the net. In that case, seek contributions from like minded webmasters and hosts from this "industry" that will be similarly affected. There's thousands of them, a few bucks apiece donated might be prudent.

I imagine all these parties have employees who read slashdot, so they will see this thread. good luck.

Re:Contact the big guys yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902359)

Yes. They do have employees who are reading this. If Accacia gets a favorable ruling here you all are next.

The bright side (3, Insightful)

banzai51 (140396) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902168)

In aggregate, these guys should have the money to defeat these 'patent' claims.

Re:The bright side (1)

JonWan (456212) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902262)

Not only that but the porn people will have all of the big media companys on their side.

I wonder if Acacia will sue the ad companies that use Flash for ads?
A patent for downloading (transmitting) multimedia is dumber than the BT hyperlink patent. I wonder if it includes FTP servers?

Re:The bright side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902729)

In aggregate, these guys should have the money to defeat these 'patent' claims.

Or to take out a hit.

Is there no ends to all this. (2)

nlinecomputers (602059) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902189)

Geezz... A guy can't sit in the privacy in his own home and watch porn and plan terriorst attacks on third world nations in peace anymore. Next they'll copy protect all my DVDs, wire tap the internet, and install the same operating system on every PCs.

*pisssstt*"They are all ready doing that."

D'Oh!

Organize! (5, Funny)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902191)

They need to form alliances with sister organizations such as the International Petroleum Jelly Manufacturing Consortium and the Repetitive Stress Disorder Sufferer's Association.

Brilliant move (5, Insightful)

lightspawn (155347) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902205)

This company is looking to legitimize the patent by going after the shady companies which as we all know are destroying the immortal souls of kids everywhere. How can you not love them? They're fighting to keep your kids safe from nipples!

Now they'll have the parents and politicans and whatever on their side, and perhaps somehow make people believe that going along with this patent scheme is great for the moral future of a terrorist-free America... and then there would be no reason not to go after fortune 500 companies which don't much care for lawsuits but have enough money to license any patent, no matter how preposteriorous.

Re:Brilliant move (2)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902379)

from the article, "they are making a war-chest" by going after smaller companies first, adding to their supposed $65 million in cash, then going after larger content providers such as AOL TW.

Of course most people are going to get owned b/c the $1500 is far less than lawyer fees... AOL will just tell them to bug off unless of course the "war-chest" grows to astronomical proportions.

The arguement that these patents were filed before the office "knew what to do w/them" are ridiculous. I seriously hope they have a better protection scheme than that.

hey (2)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902210)

I thought the porn industry had already united under the Organization for Regulating Growth and Youth protection.

All right ..... (3, Insightful)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902222)

now we get to side with the pR0n industry. I guess lame ass patents transcend most of the normal things that the average /.'er dislikes (M$, Sony, et al).

When is the USPTO going to realize that there is a significant problem with patents and how they are applied to technology and do a major overhaul of the entire system. Is there a group that is working on getting this pushed through?

Re:All right ..... (3, Insightful)

JonWan (456212) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902401)

When did Slashdotters NOT support the porno industry?

Remember this is the "Patent it all and let the courts sort it out" U.S. Patent Office you are talking about.

Cool (1)

unterderbrucke (628741) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902236)

"Now, several online porn companies are forming an association called IMPA (the 'Internet Media Protective Association')

Is this the anti-RIAA group?
Maybe we can get an expansion of this group from a couple of seedy websites to include such illustrious sites as Censorware.org. Too bad Censorware.org is still being held by someone named Micheal in a bitter disputer between this Michael and everyone else in the old Censorware.org group.

no pun intended (1)

very (241808) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902249)

this is a blow to porn industry!

Now they have to transfer the movies thru the "traditional" way. Video tapes, and DVDs

They chose the wrong name... (5, Funny)

dfn5 (524972) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902271)

Now, several online porn companies are forming an association called IMPA (the 'Internet Media Protective Association').

It should've been Protecting Internet Media Porn. I wonder if there is still time to change it.

Re:They chose the wrong name... (2, Funny)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 11 years ago | (#4903144)

Well, if they fail, they'll have to change the acronym to IMPATENT.

Re:They chose the wrong name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4903195)

hahaha that's funny on many levels

An offer they can't refuse (5, Funny)

Arcturax (454188) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902275)

Only I wonder who will be getting the said "offer". After all, organized crime is increasingly involved with internet porn, especially pay sites.

So Acacia may just get a lil visit from da boys if they keep this up and sent a bill to the wrong people.

In this case, we can only hope that is what happens.

In depth? (-1, Troll)

Johnny00 (213878) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902279)

How is that article in-depth? Its barely a page long and doesn't cover anything that could be called 'in-depth'.

Re:In depth? (3, Funny)

ryanr (30917) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902423)

Pages 2 and 3 are also only one page long each, but if you consider them collectively, then it's a bit more substantial.

Re:In depth? (1)

GargoyleTS (633785) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902445)

Click "next" at the bottom of the article it goes on for 3 pages total.

"sometimes it really does pay to read!"

Is there anything acronyms can't do? (1)

Ignorant Aardvark (632408) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902303)

I forsee in five years World War III will start as a feud between warring organizations. IMPA, RIAA, and MPAA will start a colossal flame war online against each other that will result in full scale nuclear annihilation. I mean, if these people are capable of doing everything they claim, then what's a few nukes?!

Best quote in article (5, Funny)

MadAnthony02 (626886) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902319)

During the adult industry's conference call, lawyers expressed hope that these media giants might provide "back channel" support, such as the results of previous "prior art" searches in an attempt to defeat the Acacia patents.

Hmm... provide back channel support support to the porn industry.

Also, you realize this means someone at Arcadia had the job of looking at porn sites to track down sites to sue? Get paid to surf porn. That's my dream job. Plus if they win, they get to audit the porn companies

I'm being sued for taking a leak. (3, Funny)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902327)

Some bright young upstart that owns an American company filed a patent for "evacuation of liquid into a self cleaning porcelain container".

I had the misfortune to ask them where the bathroom was since I was desperate for a piss.

The lawsuit is going to take ages! I can't wait that long!

If I piss myself I'll have to pay for a licence to wash my trousers at the laundromat else I'll be in violation of the "clean garments by watching them spin round and round in a drum with hydrogen dioxide and sodium sterate" patent.

In soviet russia, I wouldn't have this problem I'm sure.

Do they piss on me there?

Re:I'm being sued for taking a leak. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902580)

In SOVIET RUSSIA patents piss on YOU!

Re:I'm being sued for taking a leak. (1)

Narchie Troll (581273) | more than 11 years ago | (#4903368)

Hydrogen dioxide? HO2? Do you not mean dihydrogen oxide?

They need to get the MPAA and RIAA in on this (5, Interesting)

Paul Johnson (33553) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902340)

The traditional media industries are not going to like this one little bit. At present Acacia is going after what they call "low hanging fruit", because in cases like this its often the bigger legal budget that wins. Once Acacia has some money and precedents under its belt it can tackle the bigger boys.

It seems to me that the fruit higher up should see how this is going to go. If they don't hang together they will assuredly all hang separately.

Paul.

the legal term "go fuck yourself" applies (5, Insightful)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902472)

I'm surprised that Acacia actually seems to have the balls to go through with their threats to bring this to court. It would only take one ruling that the patent is overly broad and inapplicable to ruin their business plan forever.

Threatening to sue is a great way to make money, because there's very little expense and great potential for return involved. (It's like a meatspace equivalent to email spamming.)

But actually suing people is a much more risky business plan. You can never be sure that the men and women on the jury are going to act in the best interest of your bottom line.

Re:the legal term "go fuck yourself" applies (3, Interesting)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 11 years ago | (#4903012)

"But actually suing people is a much more risky business plan. You can never be sure that the men and women on the jury are going to act in the best interest of your bottom line."

Ask Rambust. The little IP company that could (sue) went after everyone who wanted to produce DDR, and ended up with the judge in the case that was initiated BY THEM ruling them guilty of fraud...

Re:They need to get the MPAA and RIAA in on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902988)

Personally, I'm hanging a little to the left.

I say, "Great!" (0, Troll)

bmetzler (12546) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902348)

Whatever hurts the porn industry is a good thing.

We can deal with other "Digital Transmission" violations as we get to them.

-Brent

Re:I say, "Great!" (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902521)

It's that kind of logic that these twerps are hoping for...

The problem with it is that if a porn site loses the patent cases first, then when they go after AOL Time Warner and friends they can point to their porn case victories. Content doesn't mater in the patent. If it's a violation of the patent to transfer a .mpg of porn, it's a violation to transfer a .mpg of a religious gathering too.

This sets up a horrible sitation for the big content owners. If they throw their weight into this case, they're gonna get labeled as supporting porn. If they stay out of this case, they're gonna get hit hard with patent claims of their own...

And then once the big guys go down, well, are their any forms of digital media on your site?

Re:I say, "Great!" (2, Interesting)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902554)

Whatever hurts the porn industry is a good thing.
Why? What's wrong with the porn industry? I've never heard of anyone getting locked in to proprietary porn. I haven't heard of the porn people corrupting lawmakers and getting them to pass weird laws. I haven't heard of them polluting streams, driving mom'n'pop pornmakers out of business by selling porn at below cost, or patenting sex positions. Speaking generally, the porn industry looks rather clean and benign.

With Porn on our side... (1)

m1a1 (622864) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902356)

how can we lose?

They actually messed up with this (2)

TerryAtWork (598364) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902365)

The Porn industry has lots of money to defend itself with.

Re:They actually messed up with this (2)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902582)

But the porn industry money is not in the hands of five mega-companies like the mass media industry is. Therefore, companies are being sued one-by-one and each company has to decide whether it is worth it to risk everything on a lawsuit defense.

Worst of all, the defense organization is charging members exactly the same fees they'd pay if they just give up... they save no money by fighting this, and only risk losing and being bankrupted. It's a hard call for the individual owners to make.

Viscious lawsuit circle ahoy! (5, Funny)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902368)

I can already imagine the following:

  • 10: **AA sues Acacia for distributing the technology which allows copyright infringement.
  • 20: Acacia sues the **AA for allowing artists to use media types they own a patent on.
  • 30: GOTO 10

Re:Viscious lawsuit circle ahoy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902947)

To a programmer: Gotos considered harmful
To a laywer: Gotots considered profitable

Porn will save the internet? (2)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902372)

It's a multi BILLION dollar industry. Some of the porn companies have piles of cash that are too large to shake a stick at.

And they have lawyers.

Bye bye, Acacia.. heh. Smacked down like a little bitch in "Bob's Bondage Barn Volume 95"

Re:Porn will save the internet? (2)

eaolson (153849) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902422)

Some of the porn companies have piles of cash that are too large to shake a stick at.
OK, at least one poster has said that porn companies are barely holding their own, and more that one has said they're rolling in the dough. Anyone have any facts?

Re:Porn will save the internet? (2)

scotch (102596) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902522)

Anyone have any facts?

On slashdot? Not likely. Try facts-r-us [factsrus.com] .

porn profits (2)

magarity (164372) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902660)

OK, at least one poster has said that porn companies are barely holding their own, and more that one has said they're rolling in the dough. Anyone have any facts?

The only publicly traded company I can find that deals in pornography is Playboy Enterprises (NYSE:PLA). Revenues this year are expected to be $272 million, of which $34 million are profits after expenses. $34M makes nice walking around money but is not whopping loads of cash in the corporate world. And Playboy Enterprises is HUGE compared to an internet outfit with some women in front of webcams. Since those aren't publicly traded, no hard numbers are available. However, I think we can safely assume that the outfits selling cheap videos and internet subscriptions, while obviously profitable, are not quite so flush with funds as some people think.

Re:Porn will save the internet? (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#4903013)

Here's an article from Time 1998 talking about revenues of $4.2Billion with vivid videos having annual revenue of over $25 million here [216.239.53.100]

My guess is these are not small fish but more medium sized fish. They may or may not be able to fight it out with these guys but anything smaller would not be worth the time/risk to their patents.

A telling quote (5, Informative)

EschewObfuscation (146674) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902394)

[From the article]


"What we did before we purchased the company (Greenwich) was to spend considerable time and resources evaluating this portfolio as to whether we think these patents are valid and whether they are enforceable," Berman said. "We did several prior art searches... It was important to go to the marketplace knowing what we had was valid."
[snip]
"We're not willing to put anyone out of business; we're not looking to change anyone's behavior," Berman said. "If people feel that this is something they need to challenge in court, fine. But if they challenge this in court, 75 percent of the people will likely spend more in court fees than they'll spend in royalties to us. If they're successful, they'll recoup those fees. If they're not successful" Berman shrugged.


Really says it all, doesn't it? That's the strategy of all of these patent claims: Comapnies that can handle the fees will settle because it is easier, and possibly cheaper. Companies that cannot will either simply bow out without firing a shot, or will be outspent by the now successfully revenue generating lawsuit machine. Plus, although a company settling and agreeing to play the patent fee doesn't set a legal precedent, it has to sway the courts somewheat if the lawers can argue that N multi-million dollar corporations are paying the fees.

I for one hope the adult companies fight this one and win. If they do, perhaps people will stop buying these absurd patents solely for the revenue lawsuits can generate.

Re:A telling quote (2)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902763)

Funny how Ben Stein in his "how America is losing its technological edge" piece was so busy being a fluff-job for the same tired old big-business agenda and cranky curmudgeonry and somehow managed to miss that the biggest threat to technological innovation could be the patent system.

how many? (2)

BoneFlower (107640) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902395)

How many companies does this make that own all technology involved in the internet? At least 50. Why can't they sue each other, decide who holds the valid patents, and THEN sue websites.

This has got to stop (1)

JVert (578547) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902402)

This kind of stuff scares the hell out of me. Between 'loosly defined' patent enforcement and lawsuits [brinkster.net] that exist just to pay lawyers. This is the kinda stuff George Orwell warned you about (I dont think even he saw this comming).

Having a hard time taking down you local dictatorship? Try taking one down thats got laywers instead of militia.

Hmm.. well, check two articles down. (5, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902405)

Looks like we found the answer to today's Ask Slashdot:

Sometimes it appears like the U.S. is losing its edge in technology. Well, I was wondering what the Slashdot community at large thinks is wrong (or right) with the U.S. and technological innovation?"

Re:Hmm.. well, check two articles down. (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902525)

Well, we could put 5000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea, but PanIP or Acadia probably owns the patent on cloning laywers so it'd be tough to win a conclusive victory that way.

Re:Hmm.. well, check two articles down. (2)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902550)

Both patent and copyright laws need to be reformed... stat.

Re:Hmm.. well, check two articles down. (2)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 11 years ago | (#4903072)

"Looks like we found the answer to today's Ask Slashdot:
Sometimes it appears like the U.S. is losing its edge in technology. Well, I was wondering what the Slashdot community at large thinks is wrong (or right) with the U.S. and technological innovation?" "

Yep. Out of control trial lawyers and antiquated tort laws are consuming innovation in this country. It's not a coincidence that the trial lawyers are the biggest contributor to one of the two major parties (Democrats).

Lawsuits are supposed to be remedies for those who actually suffer HARM because of the misdeeds of others. Instead, they've become a means of wealth redistrobution---to lawyers.

The legal industry does not generate wealth and income, it consumes it.

Bastards! (1)

Kurt Russell (627436) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902421)

Others said the industry would not go down without a fight. "If we paid Acacia, it would be rolling over," said one adult webmistress in an interview, who asked not to be named. "It would be like saying 'Screw me,' even though that's (what) my business is about."

You tell em.. they are gonna have to pry Jenna Jameson out of my warm greasy hand!

uh... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902430)

why do I get taken to one of your sponsers when I click on the "previously covered" link??

trying to increase your click-throughs???

this kinda stupid (3, Insightful)

Dylan_t_p (630258) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902437)

Thing is IF they were to win this battle (acacia not the porn industry) where would they drawn the line? So many differnt people acording to their claims are infringing on their patents Nasa [nasa.gov] for one, all major internet news sources stream content over the internet too so where do you stop? Do you sue the government for infringing on your patents? Take down the news Media? This is a pretty good example of why the government should do some major changes on how patents work so they don't get abused like this.

Anyways thats my two cents let the down-modding begin

WTF? (2, Insightful)

wideBlueSkies (618979) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902482)

>>Online porn providers represent an ideal target, executives at Acacia say

Why, because they're profitable?

Not that I agree with Arcadia's belief that it owns those patents, but they shouldn't be single-ing out a particular industry. They should be going after everyone, not just the adult firms.

It sounds like gold-digging to me. Perhaps they should wait until their patent claims are considered legally valid before they try to strong arm anyone.

Can anybody say Doctine of Laches? (5, Interesting)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902503)

http://www.lectlaw.com/def/l056.htm

or better

http://www.zurichre-na.com/web/converium/converi um .nsf/articles/5731FF9F4372B6ED85256B43006EA07D?Ope nDocument

Esentially, if you knew about it in 91, you can't wait till now to go after royalties.

This might be one of those Vapor-Laws that money speaks louder than, however.

Everybody read those links, because these submarine patents are bullshit and the more noise the public makes about them, the less likely Acadia, Pan IP, and every other non-innovative lawyer on the planet are to think they can get aware with this bullshit.

Re:Can anybody say Doctine of Laches? (1)

CommieOverlord (234015) | more than 11 years ago | (#4903045)

It says they filed the patent in 1991. But that doesn't mean the content providers they are going after have been doing since 1991. (Not that I don't think they're idiots)

Finally, a case where the USSR had it right... (3, Funny)

Shenkerian (577120) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902509)

In Soviet Russia, you fuck the patent owners.

I'm all for that.

Re:Finally, a case where the USSR had it right... (1)

gasgesgos (603192) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902748)

then you tape it and make people pay to watch it online, right?

Mirror (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902514)

Incase it's slashdotted here is a mirror. [ulta.com]

The good news is... (2, Insightful)

dark-nl (568618) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902516)

From the article: "[...] the lawsuits represent a bet-the-company proposition."

If they lose this, then it's game over for Acacia and a victory for the human race.

IP Amazes me (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902517)

I'm continually amazed how such an open thing as the ARPANET and HTML have given rise to patentable mechanisms and methods. Seems as absurd. Too bad the internet, as a medium, didn't require forfeiture of any right to exclusive intellectual property for delivering media or providing service.

Then again, MPAA and RIAA would probably be even more deadset against such an idea.

I'll DESTORY REALITY !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902526)

I will patent the process of unovation (Avoiding new, but patented technologies, by using older, inefficent, but non-patented methods).

Nobody will be able to innovate OR go back to the old of doing things.

What a contradiction !

Everyone's head will then EXPLODE!!

BWAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!

What about Mp3? (1)

loomis (141922) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902544)

So they own several patents concerning the transmission of audio and video over the Internet. I didn't read the patents in detail, but are they referring to tre transmission of streamed media only, or the transmission of any audio or video file?

If the patents are for streamed content, how does this factor in with things like Real Audio/Video, or other streamed content?

Loomis

What the porn industry should do... (1)

cpart (62755) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902559)

I think the porn industry should get together find all the information they can of the sexual habits of whichever politicians are responsible for letting stupidity like this exist. Then grab them by short and curlies and blackmail the crap out of them and put to rest these restarted issues of DRM and the restriction of freedoms through the use of technology.

Wonder how they'd liked it if there personal lives were invaded stupid political money grubbing games.

Reaching on their Patent (1)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902586)

A system of distributing video and/or audio information employs digital signal processing to achieve high rates of data compression. The compressed and encoded audio and/or video information is sent over standard telephone, cable or satellite broadcast channels to a receiver specified by a subscriber of the service, preferably in less than real time, for later playback and optional recording on standard audio and/or video tape. Seems like they are really reaching on that patent. I can see them go after directv or digital cable, but pr0n sites?

What happened to the good old days? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4902666)

The days back when Real Men did Real Work. None of this bullshit with hijacking patents and holding businesses at ransom.

Talk about broad (3, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902695)

This portfolio of patents make business patents like one click seem exact and concrete by comparison. Basically these guys talk about any digital video on demand which is an idea not an invention and certainly not something worthy of a patent, especially not as late as 1992. One interesting thing from a laymans POV is how they are very generic as to the specifics of implementation except in claim 23.

The distribution method as recited in claim 19, wherein the step of storing includes the step of storing the received information at the head end of a cable television reception system.

It seems to me this limits their patent to VOD systems for a cable company or in room service not distribution over a distributed network (or heck a network of any kind). I don't claim to be a patent expert but how can a patent this broad apply if all of the claims do not apply? I mean if individual claims can stand on their own then there are some broad quantum computer patents I need to file!

The systems brocken! (1)

siasl (541853) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902718)

"It's hard to handicap the American legal system," Harris said. "A lot of people didn't think O.J. Simpson would be out walking around."

A culture is in trouble when day to day activities are "governed" by laws whose applications are a crapshoot and a huge "priesthood" is required to interpret them to the common man.

We are like in Gulliver's Travels
Laputa has the Flappers to remind the people to occasionally speak and listen amidst their intense intellectual thoughts by flapping people of importance ears and lips with bladders.

IN SOVIET RUSSIA... (0)

yokem_55 (575428) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902762)

The porn patents you!

IN SOVIET RUSSIA... (2)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 11 years ago | (#4903367)

The stop telling jokes when they stop being funny.

Re: Acacia Steps Up Content-Transfer Patent Claims (2)

Dunark (621237) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902810)

Just two threads ago was a discussion of how America is losing it's technological edge. I think idiocy like this, and PanIP, and others of their ilk is going to kill our tech edge faster than anything else.

The contribution of business to the internet (5, Interesting)

harangutan (315386) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902865)

For a decade now we've heard free-market proselytes yap about how business will bring new innovations to the internet. But in practice what have we seen? The principal technologies in use are still those created largely academically and under research grants (some in partnership with very select members of the private sector, granted).

But principally what business has brought to the table is greed, squabbling and massively costly litigation, which far from encouraging innovation, increasingly inhibits it through fear and intimidation.

At the risk of overstating the case, I do think this is a further example of market forces alone being very far from the wholly benign influence they're so often touted as being.

Re:The contribution of business to the internet (4, Insightful)

bnenning (58349) | more than 11 years ago | (#4903375)

At the risk of overstating the case, I do think this is a further example of market forces alone being very far from the wholly benign influence they're so often touted as being.


Note that idiocies like this are only possible because the Patent Office, a government agency, has displayed spectacular incompetence. Intellectual property is a government granted monopoly, and when it is abused there's almost always plenty of blame to be shared by both the public and private sector.

Heh (1)

The Mainframe (573877) | more than 11 years ago | (#4902903)

Heh heh. In depth article. Heh.
Shut up, beavis.

Poor choice of words (2)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 11 years ago | (#4903063)

Taking about going after the "low hanging fruit" is probably not the best choice of words for an article about porn sites. It took me a minute to realize what they really mean.

I Used to Work for These Guys (2)

FatHogByTheAss (257292) | more than 11 years ago | (#4903106)

...or one of their subsidiaries. [combimatrix.com] . If Acacia as a whole is half as fucked as that bunch of circus clowns, they'll be delisted Real Soon Now.



This sounds like action on thier Media Services group, which is basicaly a bunch of patent mongoring whore lawers.

Ban Pornovation! (2)

abe ferlman (205607) | more than 11 years ago | (#4903123)

I'm serious.

The government has no interest in encouraging pornographic innovation. The first amendment may require that we tolerate pornography, but what does it say about us as a society when we actually *subsidize* the creation of pornography by handing out government monopolies for innovative pornographic techniques and content?

The framers were silent on this question, so I say it's time for action: Ban all pornovation! Eliminate all intellectual property protections for pornographic materials and watch what happens:

- The money will go away because you can't make a profit without ip monopolies

- when the money goes away production will cease

- when production drops, prices will rise intolerably and consumers will find pornography too expensive for their budgets

Simple economics proves that just like the software industry, intellectual property laws are the only thing keeping the hard-core porn industry afloat.

And BANG, just like that, overnight we'll eliminate the scourge of pornography. It's time to take action against pornovation!

Prior art (5, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#4903180)

might be here ? [google.com]

This is a message from 1989 talking about a talk by FCC chairman re: cable vs telco and what things might be possible.

For consumers, the promised land would be video on demand" - no need to rent tapes or wait for the network to schedule a particular program. One-way broadband delivery coupled with 2-way narrowband signalling thus might be the way such systems would start off.

Why Porn? (5, Insightful)

spoonboy42 (146048) | more than 11 years ago | (#4903307)

It strikes me as odd, at least from a logical perspective, that Arcacia would try to "enforce" their patents by first going after online porn. It would make infinitely more sense if they went after the actual "infringers": namely, the companies producing streaming audio and video software. Going after Real, Apple (QT), M$ (WMP), and the like would have more legal validity, since webcasters purchase technology from these companies that they assume is legal... If any illegal goings on were happening, it stands to reason that the streaming media software providers would be the target.

Of course, there's a pretty shady reason why Acacia is going after porn first: A lot of people, particularly in the judicial system, have very little sympathy for pornographers. They will, at least subconciously, be much more receptive to the image of pornographers as "criminals", since they already consider them evil.

If they win their suits against the porn distributors, though, they have a legal precedent for hitting all kinds of companies, including the software providers (presumably where the money is), as well as anybody who delivers multimedia over the internet. So, the social conservatives who might hand down a token judgement against porn will be in the awkward position of setting a precedent to sue, say, a church that delivers sermons streaming over the Internet.

As with a lot of civil liberties issues, pornography is the frontier of freedom in this case. Many civil libertarians (myself included, since I'm also a feminist) probably wouldn't mind if porn suddenly disappeared. The problem is, if we legislate or judicate against pornography, then we set a very dangerous precedent for harrassing all kinds of expression (usually based on an arbitrary definition of morality, but in this case, purely economic reasons). Additionally, it's really none of my or the state's business what consenting adults do in front of a video camera. Anyway, even if you find pornography morally repugnant, it's still worth defending, when you consider what happens if we allow freedom of expression to erode at its very edge: the erosion spreads to radical political views, then alternative religious beliefs, and so on, eventually leaving a homogenous orthodoxy of ideas. Or, in this case, you simply have a parasite on the patent system getting in the way of people doing business, expressing themselves, and innovating.
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