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Steve Jobs Hints At Theora Lawsuit 686

Posted by timothy
from the fuddish-duddish dept.
netcrawler writes "Steve Jobs' open letter on Flash has prompted someone at the Free Software Foundation Europe to ask him about his support of proprietary format H.264 over Theora. Jobs' pithy answer (email with headers) suggests Theora might infringe on existing patents and that 'a patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other "open source" codecs now.' Does he know something we don't?" Update: 05/01 00:38 GMT by T : Monty Montgomery of Xiph (the group behind Theora, as well as Ogg Vorbis, and more) provides a pointed, skeptical response to the implicit legal threat, below.
Monty writes: "Thomson Multimedia made their first veiled patent threats against Vorbis almost ten years ago. MPEG-LA has been rumbling for the past few years. Maybe this time it will actually come to something, but it hasn't yet. I'll get worried when the lawyers advise me to; i.e., not yet.

The MPEG-LA has insinuated for some time that it is impossible to build any video codec without infringing on at least some of their patents. That is, they assert they have a monopoly on all digital video compression technology, period, and it is illegal to even attempt to compete with them. Of course, they've been careful not to say quite exactly that.

If Jobs's email is genuine, this is a powerful public gaffe ('All video codecs are covered by patents.') He'd be confirming MPEG's assertion in plain language anyone can understand. It would only strengthen the pushback against software patents and add to Apple's increasing PR mess. Macbooks and iPads may be pretty sweet, but creative individuals don't really like to give their business to jackbooted thugs."
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Steve Jobs Hints At Theora Lawsuit

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  • by Korey Kaczor (1345661) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:45PM (#32051594)

    He doesn't know anything that we don't already know.

    However, he, on the other hand, thinks different. (TM).

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:45PM (#32051600) Homepage
    Time for the Two Minute Hate!

    Can we do this maybe just once a day?
  • Apple's new slogan: "There's a patent for that."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:48PM (#32051638)
    The apple is the best computer. I don't care who he sues, it is for a good reason no doubt. Stop stealing from apple you dirty hippies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:54PM (#32051706)

    If it makes you feel better, I feel pretty much exactly the same way with regards to the antirich.

  • by Korey Kaczor (1345661) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:57PM (#32051744)

    What if dirty hippies are stealing your apples? You know, they hop over your fence, climb up your apple tree, and start taking the apples. You confront them, and they're all like, "Yo, man, you can't, um, steal mother nature." Then flash those damned, self-righteous smug looks.

    I think they're working for Al Gore. Like, his henchmen or something. After all, he _IS_ on the board of directors for Apple Computers (TM).

  • by E IS mC(Square) (721736) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:58PM (#32051754) Journal
    And here comes Apple apologists. You know what, fuck you, fuck steve jobs and fuck my karma.
  • by g3k0 (1697032) on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:02PM (#32051810)
    If there was only a Richard Stallman for every Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer.... On second thought, a global epidemic of athletes foot may not be the best scenario either.
  • by Korey Kaczor (1345661) on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:04PM (#32051822)

    I believe he also cheated Steve Wozniak out of money, while Wozniak was recovering in the hospital, back in the 70s or so.

    I'd be hilarious if an Apple Fanboy donated his liver to Steve Jobs. Maybe that's how he got one so quickly.

  • by pitchpipe (708843) on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:07PM (#32051860)

    However, he, on the other hand, thinks different. (TM).

    He also walks on water and shits ice cream.

  • by Aldenissin (976329) on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:09PM (#32051894)

    Bubbe, I probably know a lot you don't.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:15PM (#32051950) Homepage Journal
    i want to kick the first person that says apple is still not evil in the face. and not in a glamorous, bruce lee fashion. i mean good old fashioned dumb and dumber flat kick.
  • by Korey Kaczor (1345661) on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:18PM (#32051990)

    Steve Jobs walks into a coffee shop and finds a college-aged student drinking chai, busily typing away on a laptop in front of him on the table.

    "Hey, kid, what's up?" Steve Jobs flashes a big smile, and extends his warm, friendly paw.

    The college kid looks up while sipping on his drink, and for a moment does not register his messiah, until he does a double take and spills chai down his shirt.

    "Wow! It's really Steve Jobs! I hope you heard my prayer last night!"

    "Um, yeah..." Jobs says, affirming the question with a hint of confusion. "Look, I'll give you an iPod, signed with my name on it, if you give me your liver."

    College student's eyes widen. He can barely contain his excitement, and he manages to mutter a weak "yes" before passing out from his sheer spiritual bliss.

    The next day, Steve Jobs woke up for the first time in a long time, ages in fact, free from jaundice and a new hankering for a few shots of Malibu, and was last seen leaving a box that said "i-p-p-p-p-p-pod" on a grave in a cemetery.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:21PM (#32052018)

    and somehow we've gotten this far into the discussion without anyone mentioning that theora is also just a container a pretty unlikely to infringe on any codec patents. ogg on the other hand....

  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:25PM (#32052052)

    Did someone destroy Basil Hallward's painting of him?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @08:12PM (#32052392)
    I agree. Apples are the best computers. The quality is unparalleled. When shopping for an OEM computer to put Linux on, I always buy an Apple.
  • by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Friday April 30, 2010 @08:57PM (#32052712)

    I've always been a PC at heart.

    Not like the rest, the others. Everyone around me. I was at odds with my society and knew it early since birth. Unlike them, I did not "Think Different!"--the mantra of the Macs around me, the phrase on all the billboards in the city that served as a reminder to its citizenry. Sameness pervaded the essence of my being and no amount of self-conditioning I did could change that. Eventually, I gave up and isolated myself emotionally from society.

    I gaze at the faces going by, the white earphones contrasting their black turtlenecks, connecting their ears to their pockets, their blank faces engrossed in hip Indie rock music and various garage bands. I envied them for their perfection against my flaws and my compulsive nature to expand, to burden my life with troubles instead of remaining, like them, simple and easy to deal with. The grandest of virtues, simplicity... the philosophy by our loyal benefactor Steve Jobs, who descended from the heavens, creating the Earth, the iron, the wind and the rain. Steve Jobs, who defined the parameters of existence, the one who set about the patterns of reality, the constants, the variables. He who made gravity, electromagnetic energy, and shaped atomic structures and brought forth motion. From these things, he crafted the elements, processed them, refined them, and from these things engineered Apple products through the purity of his mind. Each Apple product was individually crafted by his own hands with the programming code used to run each device having being compiled in his brain and uploaded to each device telepathically, breathing life and perfection into each and every unit.

    Except, it seems, for me, for I was not among the many. I was a PC. They were Macs. I've always been a cold, stiff person. I got by, disguising myself by keeping my non-Ipod music player safely out of sight, which I use because of my depraved nature demanding more functionality than the simple and easy-to-use Ipods have to offer.. In the safety of my own home, behind locked doors, I ran a Forbidden, a contraband computer from more depraved, earlier days that was not given the love and blessing of being birthed by Steve Jobs. I dual booted, out of the great sin of curiosity-- curiosity, a shameful value of a PC, as curiosity has no place where simplicity matters most--using two of the great unutterable blasphemies-- something called "Windows Vista" and something else called "Linux." Although, as I mentioned before, although my tendency to be a PC and towards conformity has always been inherent to me, I was truly transformed when I found these old things in a hidden cache of computer parts predating The Purging. Perhaps the greatest sin of all, the single evil that, if discovered, would damn me forever, was the fact that my mouse had more than one button.

    As I walk among the Macs on the streets, passing the Starbuckses as I went along, I wondered how it all came to this. I glanced at The Holy Marks on the foreheads as the people wandered down the streets, the Bitten Apple tattooed on all our of us at birth, and wondered if, perhaps, there could be something more to life. But again, this was a PC's thought, and not, like everyone elses', a Mac's. We were to hold ourselves to the philosophy of Steve Jobs--so as his products were designed for idiots, so too were we to be idiots. But I was not a Mac--I was not an idiot. I was simply too complicated to be a worthwhile person.

    Nature called. I found a nearby public iPoo--squeaky clean and sparkly white, things weren't all bad--and let myself go, expelling the waste that had accumulated inside me. After relieving myself and committing the overly-complicated and thus illegal act of wiping my ass (I did not flush as iPoos, designed to be idiot-proof, did not flush) I left and once again wandered the streets aimlessly, hoping to find some meaning in a world where I simply did not belong, a world where if my true nature was discovered, I would be endlessly persecuted by smug, self-righteous sons of bitches.

  • by martin-boundary (547041) on Friday April 30, 2010 @09:49PM (#32053054)
    Fighting a lawsuit as an open source effort? Now that would be interesting. Of course we'd need to build a lawyer robot who would be linked to a public web forum with a decent rating system. We'd have the court's minutes online in realtime, with forum members analyzing the implications straight away, and computing the best attack vector for responding to the claims. Then a guy called CmdrBurger would upload the most promising responses into the lawyerbot's mouthpiece control center through an XmlHttpRequest, and the judge would hear a melodious synthetic voice reading the relevant objections in any one of his preferred languages, with printed hardcopy for the opposing lawyers and a projected display on the ceiling for the audience.
  • by Illogical Spock (1058270) on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:56PM (#32053470)

    What if dirty hippies are stealing your apples?

    This explains the missing part of the Apple's apple. Jobs saw him stealing the apples and shot with his rock salt iShotgun.

  • by uberjack (1311219) * on Saturday May 01, 2010 @03:58AM (#32054710)
    As Free Waterfall Jr. [wikipedia.org] said, "You can't own property, man"

"Never ascribe to malice that which is caused by greed and ignorance." -- Cal Keegan

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