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Vorbis development, status & patent issues, PART 1 - NON-technical discussion
Ivan Dimkovic
post Sep 24 2003, 17:33
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QUOTE (spoon @ Sep 24 2003, 04:25 PM)
FhG are masters of FUD, without bringing lawsuits - that is why Lame is hosted on russian servers, they made all the noises and sent the offical solicitor letters, but no lawsuits have even come about - even for mp3...

Well - they achieved what they wanted, and it is not FUD - because to anyone it is clear that any MP3 encoder / decoder is actually using their patents. Unfortunately, that's the way things go - there are some unavoidable things in MP3.
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Garf
post Sep 24 2003, 17:33
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QUOTE
QUOTE

2) Nobody is willing to turn up any verifyable evidence that this is true. (And we asked _several_ times.)

See the link above for explanations.


We already got it. I see more than some vague references and second-guessing what AOL though in there. Note that the original search was actually rather limited, not much guarantee there.

QUOTE
QUOTE

4) Vorbis claims that is FUD, but is not willing to give any guarantees about
it's patent-free-ness either.

That's because Xiph.org can't afford to indemnify anybody. You get what you pay for.


Exactly! NOTHING

QUOTE
QUOTE

5) Vorbis dismisses other (better) codecs as having 'patent issues'.

I am not fit to comment on MPC, since I don't know enough about it, but then again, we're talking about low bitrate performance here, so MPC is out the window


MPC is still the best codec out there as low as 128kbps. I wouldn't throw it out of the window so quickly, just like all the other Vorbis supporters like to do because it has 'patent issues'.
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JohnV
post Sep 24 2003, 17:36
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QUOTE (spoon @ Sep 24 2003, 07:25 PM)
FhG are masters of FUD, without bringing lawsuits - that is why Lame is hosted on russian servers,

Lame hosted on russian servers, well sure, but also on many others..
Umm, check http://mitiok.free.fr/

I see at least: France, Finland, Netherlands, Germany, Poland there alone.
Lame is also hosted in many other places, including US servers (at least Afterdawn), and in dozens of other countries as well..

But this was Off-topic, so no need to continue this..


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rjamorim
post Sep 24 2003, 17:39
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QUOTE (Ivan Dimkovic @ Sep 24 2003, 01:32 PM)
they have clear defined patent list, and well established patent pool - so the company that pays knows what are they paying for.

That is exactly what Vorbis doesn't have. Since Xiph never makes any guarantees or shows any proof, companies interested in using Vorbis can never know if some hidden patent will show up tomorrow and bite them.


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spoon
post Sep 24 2003, 17:42
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QUOTE
dead. Blade and Lame are only (legally) distributable in source form...


Funny thing is, even FhGs stuff is dead - Mp3Enc is no longer available.


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Garf
post Sep 24 2003, 17:44
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QUOTE (rjamorim @ Sep 24 2003, 06:39 PM)
QUOTE (Ivan Dimkovic @ Sep 24 2003, 01:32 PM)
they have clear defined patent list, and well established patent pool - so the company that pays knows what are they paying for.

That is exactly what Vorbis doesn't have. Since Xiph never makes any guarantees or shows any proof, companies interested in using Vorbis can never know if some hidden patent will show up tomorrow and bite them.

Well, the hidden patents will bite you anyway. The thing is, we can't even _know_ if what FhG is spouting is FUD or not. Xiph has so far refused to give any useable details about what they did in their patent search. They don't give any guarantees (quoting former CEO). So what's left exactly? Some vague implications and assumptions?

The situation for Ogg FLAC and Ogg Speex is not any better.
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rjamorim
post Sep 24 2003, 17:44
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QUOTE (spoon @ Sep 24 2003, 01:42 PM)
Funny thing is, even FhGs stuff is dead - Mp3Enc is no longer available.

It is available - inside MusicMatch, inside Adobe Audition...

FhG was never really about dealing with end users, they would rather deal with companies that license their technologies, and these companies by their turn deal with the users.

So much, that they created a branch (Opticom) to deal with sales and support for end users.

This post has been edited by rjamorim: Sep 24 2003, 17:45


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Ivan Dimkovic
post Sep 24 2003, 17:45
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QUOTE
That is exactly what Vorbis doesn't have. Since Xiph never makes any guarantees or shows any proof, companies interested in using Vorbis can never know if some hidden patent will show up tomorrow and bite them


Which is exactly the reason why no serious big company implements Vorbis - it has legally unclear patent status, no serious backing / idemnifying from a big company (see Linux case).

On the other hand, standards like MP2/MP3/AAC/GSM/CELP/AMR/G.723/G.729... have clear and straightforward licensing models, UN bodies (ITU and ISO) behind the guarantee that patents will be granted on equal-opportunity basis, under fair and reasonable terms - in many cases cheap enough for most companies, etc..

So far, there were no "submarine" patents, except one for MP3 which , I think, has been dealt with (either they went into the patent pool, or they just didn't have the stuff they claimed, I dunno)

Also, there is a great deal of research institutes and expert companies behind them making it harder to believe that they contain something unknown.
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spoon
post Sep 24 2003, 17:47
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Which is exactly the reason why no serious big company implements Vorbis


Rio have implemented it, their holding company DNNA is big and serious.


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JohnV
post Sep 24 2003, 17:47
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QUOTE (Gabriel @ Sep 24 2003, 07:19 PM)
US5214742  is windows switching.

Ok, so.. is there any reason to say that Vorbis is NOT infringing this patent, and if so, what?


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rjamorim
post Sep 24 2003, 17:50
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QUOTE (Ivan Dimkovic @ Sep 24 2003, 01:45 PM)
Which is exactly the reason why no serious big company implements Vorbis - it has legally unclear patent status,  no serious backing / idemnifying from a big company (see Linux case).

I think it's actually a funny situation. Vorbis is completely free, but anyone willing to implement it needs to do a very expensive patent search to be relatively safe in case of litigation.


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Garf
post Sep 24 2003, 17:51
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QUOTE (spoon @ Sep 24 2003, 06:47 PM)
QUOTE
Which is exactly the reason why no serious big company implements Vorbis


Rio have implemented it, their holding company DNNA is big and serious.

Well, so do several big games.

I know from personal experience this is a bit of a snowball effect though, if they see someone implementing it, they assume it's safe and take the jump as well. I seriously doubt Rio did patent searches, or one of the game developing shops did either.

That doesn't prevent the bomb from dropping just as much as it did with MP3 in 1996.
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c_haese
post Sep 24 2003, 17:55
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QUOTE (rjamorim @ Sep 24 2003, 11:39 AM)
QUOTE (Ivan Dimkovic @ Sep 24 2003, 01:32 PM)
they have clear defined patent list, and well established patent pool - so the company that pays knows what are they paying for.

That is exactly what Vorbis doesn't have. Since Xiph never makes any guarantees or shows any proof, companies interested in using Vorbis can never know if some hidden patent will show up tomorrow and bite them.

Patents can bite anybody, whether they already have patents on their technology or not. It is the nature of patent law that you can just sit on your invention until enough people use it, and then sue. The simple fact that Thomson Multimedia tell you what patents they do own doesn't give you any guarantee that they're not using any technology that's patented by somebody else. The only difference is that the risk is somewhat smaller, but it's still there.

At least with Vorbis, the situation is extremely clear. All the code is open, so Thomson would have all the evidence they'd need. They say they don't sue because because Xiph doesn't have any money, but why don't they at least try for a cease-and-desist? Why haven't they sent letters of infringement to Monty, like they sent to the developers of free MP3 encoders? I don't have the answers, but this striking disparity makes me wonder.
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Garf
post Sep 24 2003, 17:57
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QUOTE (c_haese @ Sep 24 2003, 06:55 PM)
At least with Vorbis, the situation is extremely clear. All the code is open, so Thomson would have all the evidence they'd need. They say they don't sue because because Xiph doesn't have any money, but why don't they at least try for a cease-and-desist? Why haven't they sent letters of infringement to Monty, like they sent to the developers of free MP3 encoders? I don't have the answers, but this striking disparity makes me wonder.

Because quite simply, FUD is more effective if it is not adequetly countered.

You can still sue when Vorbis gets too big. (And they might do this, even if they _dont_ have any good grounds to do so, see SCO example)
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budgie
post Sep 24 2003, 18:02
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Just a bit off-topic, but it is a very rare case to see something like this what happened just now:

33 User(s) are reading this topic (11 Guests and 2 Anonymous Users)
20 Members: Atlantis, Dibrom, odnorf, rjamorim, upNorth, Ivan Dimkovic, The Link, todd, Messer, Case, c_haese, zokik, rpop, Phenos, phong, phwip, HMage, spoon, krys, ViPER1313
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Ivan Dimkovic
post Sep 24 2003, 18:03
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QUOTE
Patents can bite anybody, whether they already have patents on their technology or not. It is the nature of patent law that you can just sit on your invention until enough people use it, and then sue. The simple fact that Thomson Multimedia tell you what patents they do own doesn't give you any guarantee that they're not using any technology that's patented by somebody else. The only difference is that the risk is somewhat smaller, but it's still there.


Wrong - in MP3/AAC case, time proven that there are no submarine patents - and, if there is one, usually it is much more profitable for the patent-holder to make an agreement with the patent pool, and get the overall % of the patent-pool money, which can't be the case for vorbis.

QUOTE
At least with Vorbis, the situation is extremely clear. All the code is open, so Thomson would have all the evidence they'd need. They say they don't sue because because Xiph doesn't have any money, but why don't they at least try for a cease-and-desist? Why haven't they sent letters of infringement to Monty, like they sent to the developers of free MP3 encoders? I don't have the answers, but this striking disparity makes me wonder.


Why would they? You were presented with one Dolby patent that Vorbis has a very small chance to avoid - the fact you are not sued or inform that you should stop your work doesn't mean nothing at all - patent holder could sue/warn on its own behalf and will, there is no rule for that.

This does mean for other companies a lot - you didn't invest a $ in proving that you are in the clear - and you expect everyone to trust you (and what is the back up? couple of developers? come on), or to invest hell load of money to check that - which is exactly the reason why your technology has a proliferation near 0...

With that attitude "come.. and check out by yourself if you want, it's free" you are not going to progress a lot...
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Garf
post Sep 24 2003, 18:06
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QUOTE (budgie @ Sep 24 2003, 07:02 PM)
Just a bit off-topic, but it is a very rare case to see something like this what happened just now:

33 User(s) are reading this topic (11 Guests and 2 Anonymous Users)
20 Members: Atlantis, Dibrom, odnorf, rjamorim, upNorth, Ivan Dimkovic, The Link, todd, Messer, Case, c_haese, zokik, rpop, Phenos, phong, phwip, HMage, spoon, krys, ViPER1313

I think Vorbis development in general and several issues touched here are important to many people and this is why there is such great interested to this thread and such a high posting rate.

I'm sorry if some of my initial posts were rather harsh, but this is of concern to me and many of the issues have not been adequatly addressed, IMHO.
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tangent
post Sep 24 2003, 18:15
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A long time ago (actually, around two weeks), in a galaxy far far away (actually, in some place called Amsterdam)...

Evil AAC Developer #1: There's too much Vorbis loving around for my liking
Evil AAC Developer #2: I agree. We need to do something about it
EAACD1: What can we do?
EAACD2: I know, let's get some People Who Support Vorbis, and brainwash them to support AAC instead!
EAACD1: Yeah! Great idea! Who should we get?
EAACD2: We'll find them on some audio compression forum I guess.
EAACD1: Oh, that's a good one. Let's go for the big fish. Forum Owner From America.
EAACD2: That's a good one. Let's get Forum Administrator From Finland too. We still need one more
EAACD1: Okay, we need to strike at the heart of Vorbis itself. What about Popular Parttime Vorbis Developer From Belgium?
EAACD2: Yeah! That would really screw Vorbis. So how do we go about doing this?
EAACD1: We lure them over here to attend some product show, and then brainwash them!
EAACD2: How do we lure them here?
EAACD1: Easy. Free lollipops.
EAACD2: Yeah! They will never resist.
EAACD1: Okay, now how should we brainwash them.
EAACD2: With lots of lollipop, booze and crack of course, this is Amsterdam after all.
EAACD1: I think it'll be easier if a female tries to convince them to follow the path of the AAC
EAACD2: Good idea, I have this female friend, they will never resist her charms...
EAACD1: Great! Okay, what shall we do with them once they have become our mindless robots?
EAACD2: I know, it's only 2 weeks until the results of some listening test which AAC is bound to win. We unleash our robots then to spread the word about AAC!
EAACD1: Ohh yeah! Vorbis is so screwed!
EAACD1 and EAACD2's eyes gleam with an evil reddish glow...

[SIZE=1]apologies in advance if i offended anyone. it's a joke, really smile.gif[I]
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menno
post Sep 24 2003, 18:18
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QUOTE (tangent @ Sep 24 2003, 06:15 PM)
EAACD1: Easy. Free lollipops.

They were mints, actually!

Menno
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c_haese
post Sep 24 2003, 18:23
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QUOTE (JohnV @ Sep 24 2003, 11:47 AM)
QUOTE (Gabriel @ Sep 24 2003, 07:19 PM)
US5214742  is windows switching.

Ok, so.. is there any reason to say that Vorbis is NOT infringing this patent, and if so, what?

The problem is that analyzing whether a technology infringes on a patent is usually a lengthy process that involves lawyers for both sides arguing before a court of law, interpreting their patent, interpreting the technology, etc. I don't have enough insight into patent law (or Vorbis minutiae for that matter, I'm just a software engineer who pretends to be a journalist from time to time) to make an informed comment about this patent, but I will try to get Monty to comment on it. This, of course, means that he'd have to suspend working on Vorbis 1.1 in order to do so wink.gif
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JohnV
post Sep 24 2003, 18:32
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QUOTE (c_haese @ Sep 24 2003, 08:23 PM)
QUOTE (JohnV @ Sep 24 2003, 11:47 AM)
QUOTE (Gabriel @ Sep 24 2003, 07:19 PM)
US5214742  is windows switching.

Ok, so.. is there any reason to say that Vorbis is NOT infringing this patent, and if so, what?

The problem is that analyzing whether a technology infringes on a patent is usually a lengthy process that involves lawyers for both sides arguing before a court of law, interpreting their patent, interpreting the technology, etc. I don't have enough insight into patent law (or Vorbis minutiae for that matter, I'm just a software engineer who pretends to be a journalist from time to time) to make an informed comment about this patent, but I will try to get Monty to comment on it. This, of course, means that he'd have to suspend working on Vorbis 1.1 in order to do so wink.gif

Right, I hope that you or Monty or someone provides some information regarding this. And it shouldn't take so much time if the alleged already made patent search documents become available, so everybody can read what the search documents say about this.


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c_haese
post Sep 24 2003, 18:44
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QUOTE (JohnV @ Sep 24 2003, 12:32 PM)
Right, I hope that you or Monty or someone provides some information regarding this. And it shouldn't take so much time if the alleged already made patent search documents become available, so everybody can read what the search documents say about this.

I just talked to Jack on IRC, and he says, unfortunately, this:

CODE
13:29 < jack> we can't release the patent opinion even if we had another one done.
13:29 < jack> i don't know what we can do to convince these people


He didn't elaborate on the reasons, but as I said before, it probably comes down to the fact that a patent search is a paid service, and the outcome of the patent search is only available to the people that paid for it. I'll still try to get a "layman's opinion" (as opposed to attorney's opinion, since using the word layman to refer to Monty seems very inappropriate) from Monty about the specific patent number that was mentioned, but I'm afraid that not even that would satisfy the skeptics.

So, given this new information (or lack thereof), what would it take to convince you that Vorbis is patent-free?
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rjamorim
post Sep 24 2003, 18:53
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QUOTE (c_haese @ Sep 24 2003, 02:44 PM)
what would it take to convince you that Vorbis is patent-free?

Proof! Factual data. HA is all about it. If you come here claiming something and don't provide any kind of hard data, you can't expect the readers to take it for granted.


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JohnV
post Sep 24 2003, 19:00
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QUOTE (c_haese @ Sep 24 2003, 08:44 PM)
So, given this new information (or lack thereof), what would it take to convince you that Vorbis is patent-free?

Right, like Roberto said, the issue is not whether you can convince some individual people or not. The issue is that you advertize vorbis as patent free, yet there's awfully little any documents or anything available which actually support this.
Instead there are patent(s) which seem to apply to Vorbis, but no proofs or any documents have been made available to counter the claims (which have been going on as long as I can remember).

So, the question is, is Xiph's advertizing Vorbis as patent free correct or not. This is probably the most important Vorbis related question there is, since being patent free is the single most important claimed feature of Vorbis.


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idioteque
post Sep 24 2003, 19:01
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Here's what pisses me off about Vorbis and Xiph.org. Don't tell us a bunch of shit that you can't back up. Maybe part of the problem was the former CEO, I don't know him or what part he played. I can say his press releases were beyond over-the-top as far as cliches and marketing non-sense is concerned.

We read about Vorbis being great, Vorbis being peelable, Vorbis being patent free, Vorbis 1.1 being even better, and Monty being busy. Well that's nice and all, but all I can find on the Xiph.org web pages are Vorbis 1.0+ which is basically the same thing we got over a year ago.

I know it's free and I shouldn't complain, but please don't tell me things you can't back up. The best way to market your codec is to make it the best. Otherwise get in line.
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