Adobe Flash 10.1 + AIR 2.0 on the XO

Benjamin M. Schwartz bmschwar at fas.harvard.edu
Thu Mar 25 17:02:21 EDT 2010


John Watlington wrote:
> EVERY codec need licenses.   I know that the FOSS community
> thinks that Theora is unencumbered, but it has never been tested
> in court (there hasn't ever been anybody worth suing using it.)

Google, Opera, and Mozilla have all funded work on Theora and are
distributing implementations of it.  Over a hundred million copies.  All
three have performed internal legal analyses.  All three have concluded
that it is not a patent risk, and can be distributed royalty-free.
Really.  Theora and Vorbis are clear according to these three.

Other distributors include Red Hat, Novell, Canonical, and every other
Linux distributor.  Major video games like Ghostbusters and Chronicles of
Riddick use Theora and Vorbis.  So "there hasn't ever been anybody worth
suing" seems untrue to me.

> This becomes a real problem when we start asking hardware
> vendors to provide firmware supporting these "free" codecs.
> If they provide them, they then become a choice target for an
> infringement suit.

These codecs have been out for a decade.  No one has ever been sued.  No
one has ever been threatened with a lawsuit.  No one has ever claimed to
hold a patent that applies to any of them.

> In past jobs I've purchased codecs, and a large part of what is
> being purchased is indemnity against infringement lawsuits.

Really?  The MPEG-LA licenses explicitly contain zero indemnity.  I'm not
aware of anyone who actually provides indemnity for codec  patent
infringement.

--Ben

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