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Apple, Burst Reach Settlement

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the money-to-grease-the-wheels dept.

Patents 74

An anonymous reader writes "In 2005, Microsoft settled Burst's lawsuit for infringements on media player patents for $60 million. Many thought that Apple would be a ripe target next. However, Apple successfully voided 14 out of 36 Burst.com's patent claims in their iPod lawsuit. Apple would have gone after the remaining 22 claims. Today, Market Wire announced that the case was settled out of court: "Apple agreed to pay Burst a one-time payment of $10 million cash in exchange for a non-exclusive license to Burst's patent portfolio, not including one issued U.S. patent and 3 pending U.S. patent applications related to new DVR technology. Burst agreed not to sue Apple for any future infringement of the DVR patent and any patents that might issue from the pending DVR-related applications." The big winner would be the lawyers who reduced the settlement to approximately $4.6 million."

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Money, money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21450841)

Why not just develop stuff :(
Laws are evil.

Re:Money, money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451223)

I agree. I have since long lost faith in law and lawyers. I would rather pay money to do get something done illegally than hire a lawyer.
Politicians, religious leaders and lawyers - the scum of the earth.

Re:Money, money (3, Funny)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451321)

Dont slander scum like that!! Shame on you, comparing politicians, lawyers and clergy to poor innocent scum.

Shame shame shame /Hinchism

Re:Money, money (1)

squire_pug (804196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451585)

Hinchism !! Damn that's an obscure Australian reference if I ever saw one...

OH ! GOD ! I AM GLAD TO KNOW THIS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451799)

Where the fuck would I be if I did not know this? God damn I am glad I looked here.

a new patent troll is born... (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21450843)

... everytime a company settles like this.

Yeah. But no. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451069)

Not in this case. Burst is not a patent troll, they developed the IP in question, but outfits like Apple, MS, et all helped themselves to it, thinking they were too big for a little company like Burst to take on. I'm dissapointed Burst accepted the settlement: they had an open-and-shut case.

Re:Yeah. But no. (3, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451211)

The patents in question are bullshit, 100%. Even more egregious than Amazon's "one click" patent. They have a fucking PATENT on sending video faster than real-time. Sorry, there's no way that passes the "non-obvious" requirement.

What Burst demonstrates is the desperate need for competent examiners in the USPTO.

-jcr

Re:Yeah. But no. (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451515)

Burst alleges that Apple's iTunes Music Store, iTunes software, the iPod devices, and Apple's QuickTime Streaming products infringe Burst's U.S. Patents 4,963,995 [uspto.gov] ; 5,995,705 [uspto.gov] ; 5,057,932 [uspto.gov] and 5,164,839 [uspto.gov] .

Bit more than, err, one-click I think. And check out the dates on those patents.

Re:Yeah. But no. (1)

chaoticgeek (874438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451733)

Reading those patents seems like they are ways to stream data from a magnetic storage device (hard drive) across a specific type of data transmission system then output it again. IDK but it seems like any program to watch videos on your computer is breaking those patents. Could some one clear this up for me because it can't be that simple, can it?

Re:Yeah. But no. (1)

Chemicalscum (525689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21453127)

Obvious duh!

Re:Yeah. But no. (2, Informative)

optimus2861 (760680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21453603)

OK, I really don't know squat about how patents are done. But I did take a look at the two highest-numbered patents there. What did I see?

The abstract: word-for-word identical.

The description: word-for-word identical.

The claims: claim #1 is the same, but there's a lot more verbiage in the second patent. Patent #1 then goes on to claim method #1 over a whole slew of different communication channels, each as their own claim - this patten repeats itself throughout patent #1. Claim #8 in patent #1 is the same claim as #1, just with the wording tweaked. Claim #6 in patent #2 has all the same wording again.

Shall I go on?

Seriously: WTF? Did the examiner even read these things? 5,995,705 looks like nothing more than a time-extension of 5,164,839, which is itself an extension of 5,057,932. Is this not a classic patent troll? Keep dressing up the same patent over & over again to get more time under the patent to litigate against the true innovators?

If this is typical for real patents, then patent law is even more screwed up than I already thought it was.

Re:Yeah. But no. (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 6 years ago | (#21460521)

OK, I really don't know squat about how patents are done
Obviously.

If this is typical for real patents, then patent law is even more screwed up than I already thought it was.

It's very common to file "continuation" applications or "continuation-in-part" applications drawn to different aspects of the same invention. It would be very unusual to see a continuation without a word-for-word identical specification. They are not a way to get "time extensions" on your patent. They will expire at the same time as the parent application. They are a mechanism you use to claim different aspects of the same invention, or to capture claims you did not include with your original set that you think you are entitled to. They are not some dirty trick that patent trolls use. They are business as usual. Please do a little research before getting all worked up.

My USPTO Reg. No. is 57,776.

Re:Yeah. But no. (0)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451579)

If that's the extent of the patent it should be invalid as a patent can't be on an idea but on an implementation. Sending data faster then real time is an idea. So having said that, I'd like to say they probably have a patent on a particular implementation which may/may not be obvious.

Re:Yeah. But no. (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463243)

Err.... how can you send data faster than real time? Data has no implicit timing. Every single time a CD is burned at faster than 1X it would qualify as 'sending data faster than real time', surely?

I'm glad to see that Apple fucked Burst on this - Burst had to pay both their own and Apple's costs, so the settlement was trivial.

Re:Yeah. But no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451375)

You talk as if I"P" is a valid thing in the first place. It's not, it's legalised thievery of basic human freedom of thought. And Burst's patents are in fact crap for the most part.

Re:Yeah. But no. (3, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451381)

they developed the IP in question
Bull. They just patented something that apparently everyone else thought was too basic, stupid, or obvious to try and patent. They're practically the definition of a patent troll.

You couldn't design a video-over-IP system without infringing on the Burst patent, even if you had no idea who Burst was.

That said, Burst is nothing but a bunch of scoundrels, but I can't really fault them for playing the system to its full extent; if they hadn't done it, somebody else would have. The real shame is on the patent system in general and the USPTO in particular for letting this remain de rigueur for so long.

I can fault the scoundrels. (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454901)

I can't really fault them for playing the system to its full extent; if they hadn't done it, somebody else would have.

And if someone else did, I'd fault them too.

You can't say "the system allows crooks to get away with this, so it's not the crooks' fault". The fact that something happens to be legal doesn't make it acceptable.

Re:Yeah. But no. (1)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451499)

I'm dissapointed Burst accepted the settlement: they had an open-and-shut case.

bs, Anonymous Coward. You're either just trolling or you work for Burst. Hmm, either way I guess you're a troll!

Re:a new patent troll is born... (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451705)

This didn't really help the Patent Troll at all. Ten Million? When they went after Apple? Hah..

They got the corporate equivilent of 'here, have a dollar, now piss off and stop sleeping on my lawn'. The lawyers got most of it anyway, and even for them it wouldn't be much. It only sounds like a lot to ordinary people.

And they lost 14 patents. If they pull this stunt again they might lose more. Honestly it seems it might be worth more to sell these patents then try this another time.

Re:a new patent troll is born... (1)

SEE (7681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452307)

Eh. Remember, they only got $60 million from Microsoft.

Let's assume that Burst was scaling its payoff demands to each company's earnings (which is a fairly common metric). In that case, with the Microsoft settlement having been $60 million, the amount Burst would have been looking for from an Apple settlement would have been about $15 million. $10 million isn't a heck of a lot less than that.

Re:a new patent troll is born... (1)

DECS (891519) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456737)

Well that's wrong as Apple makes more money from its media efforts than Microsoft does. Microsoft licenses Windows and Office profitably, and loses money on everything else, including its WinCE/Xbox/Live/Windows Media/Windows Mobile businesses. Apple makes money on Macs, iPods, iPhone, and music/video distribution.

Microsoft's Three High Profit Monopolies [roughlydrafted.com] .

If Burst had any real claims, Apple would have been the fat target to jump on. When Microsoft settled for $60 million, it appeared clear that Burst expected to jump from Microsoft into big money with Apple, and pundits threw around numbers like $1 billion. Windows Enthusiasts hoped Microsoft had enriched Burst just enough to take down Apple, similar to the hopes that Microsoft had earlier contributed enough in "licensing" to SCO to keep Linux under perpetual attack for years. Microsoft has frequently paid out patent trolls and sent them after competitors.

SCO, Linux, and Microsoft in the History of OS: 1990s [roughlydrafted.com]

If you paid any real attention to the patent claims Burst was lining out, they were all centered around the idea of sending "burst" data faster than it would be played back. In other words, Burst insisted ownership of the idea of any media distribution that delivered a two hour movie in less than two hours. It didn't have technology it was selling, it only had "patented ideas" for things that were impractical when Burst began patenting them. It then continued pushing the patents as renewals, so that somebody would have to pay big money to actually deliver that technology when it became practical.

Microsoft was a stepping stone to Apple. Once Burst got big money from Apple, it would have a reputation that could bully every other company that might want to actually build video distribution products. This isn't a specialized idea about how to build a new mousetrap, it's a patent covering the idea of catching mice in the future using new materials. That's not invention, it's futurism.

Imagine if Arthur C. Clarke had patented the idea of geosynchronous satellites and then hounded the actual developers of satellites because he wrote about the idea, and demanded half of their revenues. Dreaming up an idea is great, but it's not worth a major share of the profits of actually creating something.

Instead, Apple invalidated a wide swath of Burst's patents, and then prepared to attack the rest of them. Had Apple continued, Burst could have lost everything. Apple could easily have spent another 10 million fighting Burst's claims, and Burst would have spent more millions in attorney fees. Apple paying Burst for use of its patents took the heat off Apple while giving Burst some remaining reason to stick around. It will now either try to extract more reasonable licensing fees from other media players, or attempt to shake down less defensive companies for more million dollar settlements.

Apple has shaken off the monkey as quietly as possible with the least payout, and Burst's patents have been slashed in half and then revalued at a 84% discount. To keep some shred of valuation, Burst licensed its patents to Apple with a few exclusions, but granted Apple immunity from further targeting. That appears to have been done to escape valuing Burst's entire patent portfolio at $10 M or less from an Apple sized company.

A strong defense against patent troll attacks it the best bet against unreasonable patents, given that the patent office can't manage to regulate things.

Why Microsoft's Zune is Still Failing [roughlydrafted.com]
Last winter, I detailed why Microsoft's iPod Killer would fail miserably. This year, Microsoft will fail again, but for a new set of reasons. It is not obvious that the company has figured this out itself. Here's why the Zune will fail in 2007, and how Microsoft is painting a fraudulent portrait of interest that doesn't exist.

Re:a new patent troll is born... (1)

SEE (7681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21460945)

Well that's wrong as Apple makes more money from its media efforts than Microsoft does. Microsoft licenses Windows and Office profitably

Right, because the inclusion of Windows Media Player and Windows Media Services with Windows for [unspecified, magical reason] didn't expose Microsoft's Windows license revenue to Burst's claims at all. I understand.

it appeared clear that Burst expected to jump from Microsoft into big money with Apple, and pundits threw around numbers like $1 billion.

Some blovating morons threw around stupid-idiot numbers. Based on these numbers, pushed around by people whose knowledge of patent law can be written in lipstick on a bar napkin, Apple paying the same order-of-magnitude payoff to Burst that Microsoft did constitutes Burst losing. Gotcha.

A strong defense against patent troll attacks it the best bet against unreasonable patents, given that the patent office can't manage to regulate things.

Yes, and paying somebody off with enough money that they make a profit off trolling is the best bet to attract new patent trolls. And that's what Apple just did.

Re:a new patent troll is born... (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465175)

Window Media player provides no revenue ands is provided in Europe sans WMP. Apple provides Quicktime Streaming Server for free as open source. Now consider the media products (hardware) and services (music/video stores) each company provides to consumers and how much revenue they derive from that. In the media distribution business, Apple dwarfs MSFT.

Re:a new patent troll is born... (1)

puck13 (102616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456977)

If Cringely [pbs.org] is to be believed, and I have no reason not to, Burst is in the right here, having filed the patents long before Apple's infringing technology came along.

Note that I am an Apple fan, and have been using MacOS for 20 years. In this case they're pretty clearly in the wrong.

Clarification to summary (4, Insightful)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21450869)

"The big winner would be the lawyers whose fees reduced the settlement to approximately $4.6 million."

There. Fixed that up a bit.

- RG>

Re:Clarification to summary (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21450935)

More like the big winner would be Burst, who can collect future licensing fees from other companies, since they will continue to hold the remaining 22 patent claims.

Re:Clarification to summary (2, Insightful)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451233)

Indeed -- hopefully the next company they sue will go the whole nine yards and end this.

Re:Clarification to summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451561)

I honestly felt Apple should have gone on, pulled an IBM and SCOed Burst.com. Though Apple's invalidating more than 1/3 of the claims was rather impressive, Burst wouldn't have gone down without a fight. Apple at this point probably would feel $10M was cheap enough compared to the enormous lawyers' fees (as evidenced by $5.4M for Burst's lawyers) if the lawsuit continued. Too bad. When companies pulverize each other's stupid patents, those on the sideline should enjoy the show.

Re:Clarification to summary (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21453227)

Yes but those layer's fees turn into campaign contributions to keep the patent system. It's really the lawyers that are the bad guys here.

Another hurdle? (2, Insightful)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451689)

To Apple, Burst now represents an additional barrier to entry into the same market. It won't make a difference necessarily to a large company, but a small potentially more innovative competitor will now have to pay off Burst before using similar features. It seems that Apple's lawyers could have taken out all of the patents, given how successful they were with the 14 they invalidated. They took out just enough to reduce their liability, paid Burst a token sum, and then left Burst enough ammo to challenge others--ultimately to Apple's benefit.

They've done this before. This doesn't seem that different from their settlement with Creative over hierarchical lists for sorting music.

Re:Clarification to summary (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451783)

Thankyou for that clarification, it was a bit ambiguous.

how about we all have a nice (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21450897)

F1RST POST meeting in botswana?

Circle of life (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21450907)

So far, from my layman's perspective, my Tivo can pwn burst for some of its products. Ahh the business circle of lawsuits... or was it life. I'm not sure here.

Odd. (-1, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21450921)

It's funny how a lot of people here insist that extremely restrictive licenses like the GPLv3 are perfectly OK for software developer to attach to their Intellectual Property, but when MegaCorp or someone else who owns IP tries to enforce terms of ownership, it's an evil bad thing...

Re:Odd. (2, Insightful)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21450955)

GPL says nothing about making something similar.

When the GPL on WordPress gets used to shut down Blogger.com and MovableType, then we'll talk.

Re:Odd. (3, Funny)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21450965)

Intellectual Property
Stop talking in riddles and say what you mean.

Re:Odd. (5, Insightful)

$1uck (710826) | more than 6 years ago | (#21450971)

Really??? are you trolling or do you not understand the purpose of GPLv3? Are you being willfully ignorant? GPLv3 is all about preventing this sort of behavior. It is trying to bring about change by working with in the existing framework (one that the authors of GPLv3 dislike). Turning the existing IP laws against themselves. I'd hardly call that hypocritical, some would call it poetic.

Re:Odd. (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21450995)

If you think the GPL (any version) is "extremely restrictive" then you haven't read many software licenses.

Re:Odd. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451239)

I've read GPLv2, MIT/BSD, old-BSD, PHP, OpenSSL, the Apache licence, zlib licence, Boost licence, Microsoft Reciprocal License, LGPLv2 and LGPLv3. Which ones have I missed?

Re:Odd. (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451305)

About a million...

Hint: proprietary software have licenses too.

Re:Odd. (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451411)

I don't know... Apple's?

Re:Odd. (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451637)

You did not list GPLv3, of all things. Which I find odd, since you listed GPLv2, LGPLv2, and LGPLv3

Re:Odd. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451061)

I dub you tard features, and from this day everyone on slashdot will know you have a brain powered by a hampster running in a wheel

Re:Odd. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21483273)

"I dub you tard features, and from this day everyone on slashdot will know you have a brain powered by a hampster running in a wheel"

...you don't say. And how is "hamster" spelled, again?

MOD PARENT DOWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451125)

and dont feed trolls either please...

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451185)

There's no-one else posting on this story.

Re:Odd. (1)

The New Andy (873493) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451147)

The GPL only grants you rights that you wouldn't have had without it. It doesn't take any of your rights away.

If you download a project and it is GPL, then feel free to ignore the fact that it is GPL, and use it under whatever provisions your local copyright law gives you (perhaps "fair use" if you are in the US, in Australia you get some "fair dealing", etc). Now do you feel more or less restricted?

Re:Odd. (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451573)

If I download a project under the BSD licence, and I abide by the 'mention the copyright holders' clause, I can then use that software in a (closed source) commercial product and make money by combining it with my own ideas.

I cannot do this with any GPL software, it violates the terms of the licence. The GPL is therefore more restrictive than the BSD licence. This is an unassailable fact.

Now don't get me wrong... I don't have a problem with this - if someone makes the code, that person gets to say how the code can be used by others. Fine. Just don't pretend that the GPL doesn't impose limits and take away opportunities, because it very much does.

I've written and released software under the GPL, the LGPL and the BSD licence. I've written commercial software that includes BSD-licenced code (and complied with the terms of that licence, obviously). I don't care about the political agenda of either camp, for me it's just "what can I do with this code", and I get tired of hearing that the GPL doesn't take away anything when it quite clearly does.

Simon.

Re:Odd. (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451831)

The BSD imposes more limits then if I take source code from the public domain. Oh wait, I can't do that thanks to our ridiculously long copyright terms. Nevermind!

Re:Odd. (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 6 years ago | (#21463373)

Than for fuck's sake. THAN.

Re:Odd. (1)

HuguesT (84078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452049)

Hello,

I cannot do this with any GPL software, it violates the terms of the licence. The GPL is therefore more restrictive than the BSD licence. This is an unassailable fact.


Actually it is very much assailable. The BSD license gives you more rights to the code as a software developer, but as a software user, GPL guarantees my current and future rights better over that code.

BSD is more developer-friendly perhaps, but GPL is more user-friendly. That doesn't mean you can't make money over my GPL code, you just have to be more careful as a developer in the way you handle it (see TrollTech for example).

I can't see how you can complain BTW, my GPL code is free, you can try and use it, test it and see if it fits your need as a developer. If you decided to use it in your own software AND redistribute it, then, and only then, do you have to abide by the provisions of the GPL regarding opening your own code.

The alternative is no code at all for you. GPL forces you to share, yes. Is it bad? discuss.

Re:Odd. (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21460689)

"I can't see how you can complain BTW, my GPL code is free, you can try and use it, test it and see if it fits your need as a developer. If you decided to use it in your own software AND redistribute it, then, and only then, do you have to abide by the provisions of the GPL regarding opening your own code.

The alternative is no code at all for you. GPL forces you to share, yes. Is it bad? discuss."


I wasn't complaining. You were supposed to glean that from the bit where I said "I have no problem with this".

With regard to your point about users - since (if I am solely a user) I am restricted to what developers do, I think the the knock-on effect of the developer-restrictions are very much restrictions on the users also. If a developer feels (s)he can't do something with GPL-licenced codebase X, the user doesn't get to enjoy that whizz-bang feature, or the software-project is simply discarded as not feasible.

In any event, (and to re-iterate, as I *said*) I don't have a problem with any licence that any software is released under - it's the owners privilege to assign the licence (s)he feels is most appropriate. What I was taking issue with was the assertion in the parent post to mine, vis: "The GPL only grants you rights that you wouldn't have had without it. It doesn't take any of your rights away.". This is quite clearly wrong - if no rights are taken away from you when you download and use GPL software, you'd be able to do anything with it that you could do with self-authored software.

To play the devil's advocate (since you *instructed* me to "discuss", you cheeky bugger :), in some ways one could argue that a licence that enforces sharing while simultaneously delivering the source-code to the public view is an egregiously harmful thing. It forever opens up independent developers to false accusations that they copied and incorporated GPL-licenced code. There are only so many ways to write some of the more fundamental algorithms in computer science. What happens when all those ways for a given algorithm have GPL implementations ? What if two people independently write very similar code, and one of them is GPL ? What if the first implementation of 'test-and-set' or memory barriers had been GPL'd[*] ? Why should the closed-source developer be impacted by software (s)he may never even have heard of ?

I happen to think the GPL is a good and useful licence, but like all good things, it can be abused. The moral of the story is simply to consider the ramifications of the licence you choose, for *any* code you release. I've released GPL code, and contributed to GPL projects. Likewise I've released BSD code and commercial (closed source) code. I've even released commercial (open source) projects. Choose the right vehicle for your code, and most people will be happy. Attempt to coerce them, or make a political statement with your code, and it will probably die a death, with some notable exceptions.

Simon.

-=-=-=-=-

* In this case, it would have been impossible to write a commercial operating system, "Windows" would not have happened, and the standardisation that the Microsoft Hegemony wrought would not have taken place. Without a standard OS, the software industry would probably have resembled the fractured state of the various un*x companies of the late 80's, and we probably wouldn't have seen the commoditisation of the PC, the resultant lower prices and exponential growth of the PC market. Without a single player driving the emerging marketplace, there wouldn't have been the enormous cash injections (and commensurate profits) needed to interest the large companies that fund the development of nascent markets. We may all still be using 80-character text displays (apart from the fortunate few using high-end workstations). All because of a licence.

Sure, this is a worst-case scenario, and it's just vaguely possible that the 30 or 40 open-source operating system communities could have come up with a standard way of doing things, but I don't see it even in the Linux of today, and they've had almost 2 decades to do it now. We still have KDE or Gnome, or one of any other dozen window managers. Each app is still linked against a specific toolkit with its own look-and-feel. Etc. Etc. This is great for hackers like me, I've been using Linux since it came as a boot-disk and a root-disk (floppies, that is). Training for every app doesn't work for business, and therefore it wouldn't be part of a business solution. If it's not a net-gain for business, they won't pay for it, and we're back at square 1 again.

Love Microsoft or loathe them (my personal preference), almost despite themselves they've been a tremendous force for good in the computing world. All because they *could* commercialise software. The GPL (in the wrong place) would forbid that, and if my nightmare scenario came true, tens of millions of current gamers would cry out and be suddenly silenced, reduced to playing "Zork" on their 80-character terminals, even in this day and age...

Re:Odd. (1)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556349)

What I was taking issue with was the assertion in the parent post to mine, vis: "The GPL only grants you rights that you wouldn't have had without it. It doesn't take any of your rights away.". This is quite clearly wrong - if no rights are taken away from you when you download and use GPL software, you'd be able to do anything with it that you could do with self-authored software.
You're wrong yourself, here. You do not have that right to start with - there is no default right to do whatever you like with someone else's copyrighted code. Thus, the GPL cannot take it away - you never had it.

Re:Odd. (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472733)

I don't care about the political agenda of either camp, for me it's just "what can I do with this code", and I get tired of hearing that the GPL doesn't take away anything when it quite clearly does.


You clearly do care about the political agenda, because the political agenda is what allows you to use the code in the first place, otherwise the code would all be closed and you wouldn't be able to touch it.

you don't understand (4, Insightful)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451171)

It's funny how

There's nothing odd about it.

When I attach the GPLv3 to code that I have written and you don't like the GPLv3, you're no worse off than if I had never existed. (Furthermore, even though you may not like the GPLv3, but it still is a lot less restrictive than just about any commercial license for copyrighted materials.)

When Burst takes out bogus patents on digital video transmission, everybody is worse off because Bust can now prevent other people from doing things.

but when MegaCorp or someone else who owns IP tries to enforce terms of ownership, it's an evil bad thing...

There is nothing evil about enforcing legitimate property rights; quite to the contrary.

What is evil is that these companies obtained these "rights" in the first place due to a breakdown of the patent system.

Re:you don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21453187)

When I attach the GPLv3 to code that I have written and you don't like the GPLv3, you're no worse off than if I had never existed.
Not completely true, because I'm sure I'm still not allowed to produce the exact same source code as you did :-)

Re:you don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21457821)

Not completely true, because I'm sure I'm still not allowed to produce the exact same source code as you did :-)

If you can conclusively prove that you did it independently, you are probably OK. However, since this is about as likely as your wife spontaneously turning into [insert favorite supermodel here], the case has never come up in the courts.

Re:Odd. (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451245)

Don't want to Burst your bubble...

Re:Odd. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451283)

"Intellectual Property" is a loaded term. There are different laws regarding patents, trademarks, and copyright.

Software Patents are pretty much universally despised.

To help you understand the difference between a patent and a copyright, it's the difference between "we own the IDEA of a word processor, and nobody can write one without OUR permission," and "we own Microsoft Word, but you don't need our permission to write a competing program."

Re:Odd. (1)

jmv (93421) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451291)

It's funny how a lot of people here insist that extremely restrictive licenses like the GPLv3 ...as opposed to the "Microsoft source code license" which allows you to freely distribute Windows source code in your own proprietary software, right?

Re: Ron Paul and The Upcoming Election (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21450939)

Guess what? Our government is itself a product of the market system. Cities like New York, London, and San Francisco are successful precisely *because* of their enormous governments--they compete for capital, talent, and prestige against cities with small, ineffectual governments that are unable to effectively lure and corral said capital, talent, and prestige. And as goes the city, so go city-states and nations: Somalia, being a libertarian paradise, is a rather unpleasant place to live for non-ideologues. Somalians, those who can, vote with their feet and leave.

Re: Ron Paul and The Upcoming Election (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451471)

You're a simple-minded, uncomprehending fool who is plagiarizing an earlier comment made by a sophist.

And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451207)

Cue Bob Cringely on 1, 2, 3.....

butt sex (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451237)

it won't do anything but make you dick stink...

Oh boy... I dealt with these guys before... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451459)

Back in 1998/9 when Burst thought they had a 'novel' idea, they were making the rounds pimping their wares (so to say) to all the large satellite broadband providers and anyone else in the video and content delivery industries.

They tried for an NDA, but the company I was at didn't believe in signing anything to preview some software from a bunch of nobodies. Their software was alpha quality at best, the so-called 'SDK' didn't exist (IIRC the one 'document' provided with the photocopy-labeled cdrom), and the components were nothing more than a simple windows server and client providing a delivery pipe. They also couldn't seem to grasp the fact that one-way satellite networks did not have a backchannel. Yes friends, you need to get your files to the other side with a unidirectional transport. You could compare this to someone giving you ftp.exe+ftpd.exe and telling you you should license them for P2P delivery.

I ended up tossing their stuff aside because after about a dozen emails attempting to educate people on the deficiencies of their system one just has to well.. give up. The only novel point was their 'instant on', but most datacasters like us already had this kind of technology, or didn't need it period. I will say that the demo was canned and only used a few codecs. So it was very hard to ascertain the level of bullshit in the client-server demo.

Regardless, I now find it extremely interesting that they are sueing people who signed NDAs with them and/or had talks with them. I am sure other companies had the same experience we did. What a bunch of douchebags.

OT: Help, how do I get control panel for comments. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451803)

This is off topic, but is driving me crazy for a few months now. On my work machine, RedHat Enterprise Linux 3, running Firefox 2.0.0.7, I get this nice little control box for slashdot comment display, with a bunch of sliders to see more comments, or to see less comments. Clicking on the comment summaries also opens them up on the same page.

At home though (Gentoo, Firefox 2.0.0.8), I don't get this fancy control box, but instead get a bunch of drop downs for comment levels, and comments styles (threaded, nested, flat), etc. Clicking on a comment header also opens it on a new page. I am running

I really like that fancy control box, with sliders, and that the comments open on the same page. I was wondering if any one knew how to get that. I tried poking around various links, but no dice. Tried disabling FF extensions, still no dice.

Re:OT: Help, how do I get control panel for commen (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452083)

You're looking for the checkbox labeled "I am willing to help test Slashdot's New Discussion System." just above the comments on the article page. It's off by default, but you apparently checked it at one point, on your work machine. Presumably at some point they'll make it the default, with perhaps a preference option to use the old system for those who prefer it.

Trolling? (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452997)

Did Burst ever make use of their own IP to do anything useful? I think that is the true test of the troll, that you sit on progress and make people pay you for thinking up crock.

Re:Trolling? (1)

Cosmix (24810) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457701)

They sure did. Look it up!

Ballmer (2, Insightful)

put_the_cat_out (961909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21453607)

If I was Ballmer, I'd be throwing chairs at my incompetent attorneys. They wasted over $50 million by not picking apart Burst's patents and settling for way too much money.

not a loss, maybe a victory? (3, Funny)

rilister (316428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454983)

Whoah people. Burst didn't win this one by my reckoning. $10m is a tiny fraction of what they hoped to get by enforcing their patents across the 100 gazillion iPods that Apple is 'infringing' their patents with.

I'd call this:
Burst: Pay us $1bn dollars, or we'll take a license off every iPod that you ever sell.
Apple: FOAD. We'll send our lawyer hoards after your patents, dumbasses.
Burst: Pay us! Pay us now!

Apple: OK, how many more of your patents do you want us to wipe off the face of the earth?
Burst: erm, how about $10m?
Apple: Since that's less than our lawyers fees, ok. Don't EVER try that again.

Re:not a loss, maybe a victory? (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 6 years ago | (#21465073)

That was not only funny but insightful. Apple effectively crippled their patent trolling for future companies by invalidating most of them. I believe that it was cheaper to settle quickly, receive licenses for remaining existing patents and get an agreement for no future lawsuits on pending patents than to go after the remaining patents one by one.
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