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TiVo awarded patent related to commercial detection

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by drebbe, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Copyright.

    The current system sort of accidentally ended up favoring only the super massive players who have a big enough patent portfolio such that MAD protects them from actually having to follow the rules. Because if you actually follow the rules, it's effectively impossible to do anything.
     
  2. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    And how would you prove copyright infringement on software? Code is compiled. You could use a different compiler to compile the same exact code and the bits would be different. Even minor changes in the optomization settings could change the bits enough to make it indistinguishable when compiled. Copyright is fine for protecting things like books and movies because they are visual and people can see when they are the same. Code doesn't work that way. Someone could decompile my code (easy with managed languages like C# and Java) ripp off my ideas and start selling it at a lower price causing me to lose business and potentially make it impossible to recoup even the R&D investment I made to write the software.
     
  3. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    If there's evidence, you subpoena for the actual source code, and compare it or whatever. Just because it's hard to enforce isn't an argument for tying it up with only the largest of companies because you're working in an analogy of nuclear war.
     
  4. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    You make it sound like only big companies can get patents. If I came up with a unique idea that had never been thought of before I could get a patent on it. And if someone tried to rip me off I could sue them for damages. This MAD thing only applies when two big companies, with huge products, that have overlapping patents.
     
  5. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Ziphead

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    Well, there's a whole other can of worms. Personally, I think that copyright is all about encouraging publishing, with the expectation that what you publish will eventually enter the public domain. As such, you should get to keep your trade secrets, or get to enjoy copyright -- but not both. In other words, no copyright without human-readable source code.

    Of course, this makes me an extremist, in a world where the most powerful copyright holders like to use the term "intellectual property", and pretend that copyright is a natural right, instead of the incentive to publication it was designed as.
     
  6. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    That's why I think we need patents. Most software has a specific functionality and is more like a physical invention then a book, movie or song. As long as that functionality is completely unique then I think you should be able to patent it.
     
  7. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Only big companies have enough warheads, I mean patents, to stop other big companies from firing them, I mean suing.

    The fundamental issue is that so much ridiculous, simple stuff gets patented that in many cases, you can't make basic products without violating hundreds of patents. Hence the need for a giant patent collection so that you can "infringe" on other patents as you need to and not get sued for it.

    That's a good point. That would also make it obvious is someone had violated the copyright of others' code.

    That's ridiculous.
     
  8. SnakeEyes

    SnakeEyes Active Member

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    Bigg - So what you're saying is me, the little guy, should be able spend all my time, money, effort coming up with software that does something new and unique but then never recoup that investment because once I release the software a big company reverse engineers my code and creates software that does the same thing?

    Because without patents that's exactly what happens.
     
  9. nrc

    nrc Cracker Soul

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    You're arguing this in a forum dedicated to a small company that has repeatedly sued large companies for stealing their patented technology and won.

    This is true. But the solution isn't to eliminate the protection that patents give to true innovators. The solution is to demand a higher standard for what is really a new idea or invention. The solution is to change the way patents are collected, sold, and used for what amounts to extortion.
     
  10. Jonathan_S

    Jonathan_S Active Member

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    That more of an issue in area where the technology is rapidly changing; unlike a copyright (which can last for 95 years or more) a patent is "only" good for 20 years from initial filing.

    Eventually even crap patents (like the ones for <common everday thing + 'on the internet'>) expire and nobody has to worry about them again. Of course it would be better if such patents weren't issued in the first place (like nrc said about "demand a higher standard for what is really a new idea or invention") but at least they don't clog things up forever.
     
  11. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    That's an interesting idea. I have to think that one over.
     
  12. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    No, it's a large company that has repeatedly sued giant companies. 'Big difference.

    In reality there is little or no such protection.

    Even in theory there is no such protection. The patent owner and the inventor are usually not the same person, and the inventor has few, if any rights.

    The real solution is to separate the rights of the inventor / author / artist from the right to distribute. That patent / copyright owner should be entitled to royalties on the distribution of any product, irrespective of who or what engages in the distribution. On the other side of the coin, no one should be able to prevent any individual or company from distributing a product.

    Finally, copyright / patent infringement should not be a civil matter. It should be a criminal one. Any company - large or small - that infringes on a copyright or patent should face the full force of the U.S. government's judicial system. The onus of defending the patent or copyright should not fall on the inventor / author / artist.
     
  13. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    For the most part, only big companies can defend their patents, which amounts to the same thing.

    At great personal cost, with absolutely no guarantee of recouping a single cent. If the defendant has deep pockets, the plaintiff will without fail eventually run out of funds and be forced to drop the suit or at least settle for a comparative pittance.

    Arguably the most lucrative patent in all of history was the telephone. Literally trillions of dollars have been derived from it. Elisha Gray, backed by the huge resources of Western Electric filed suit against Alexander Graham Bell to try to make Bell's patent invalid. Legally, Gray did not have a proper basis for most of his suits. That did not prevent him from hounding Bell nearly to the point of bankruptcy. Of course, in the end, Bell won, and his company, AT&T, now is one of the largest corporations on Earth.

    Meanwhile, there are those who argue Gray is the proper inventor of the telephone.

    And if someone tried to rip me off I could sue them for damages. This MAD thing only applies when two big companies, with huge products, that have overlapping patents.[/QUOTE]
     
  14. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    The little guy often can't do anything now, as he/she would be at risk to be sued by big patent holders, since it is nearly impossible to do anything without violating some nonsensical patent that someone holds. Only the big guys can play now, since they have massive portfolios, and can use those portfolios to avoid getting sued, i.e. MAD.

    TiVo is effectively a patent troll, the only reason that they aren't fully a patent troll is that they actually do ship a product. Their patents were ridiculous, and are a caricature of the broken American patent system. It's sad that Charlie Ergen was subjected to TiVo's games, but at least I'm glad that he strung out TiVo for a while.

    Copyright should only be maybe 10-20 years. Copyright has a purpose, but not the Mickey Mouse copyright law that we have today. The original goal of copyright was for the author to get a good return and then give it to the public domain, which doesn't currently happen.
     

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