The means are different, the result is the same...
Posted Jul 8, 2009 11:13 UTC (Wed) by pboddie
In reply to: The means are different, the result is the same...
Parent article: Ogg codecs dropped from HTML5
Yup - and where this enterprise went? Right: nowhere - to the extinction. The same people founded another enterprise (heavily-based on patents) and it's thriving today (I mean ARM Ltd).
Careful: the people who did Replay may have had a lot to do with the ARM architecture, but that doesn't mean that they wrote ARM Ltd's business model. Moreover, ARM is a hardware design licensing business, albeit with dubious aspects which probably get people into trouble even for making stuff that interprets their instruction sets. So it isn't as simple as saying that patentability makes for good business in all/any fields, even if Acorn made the mistake of not licensing their software in any sense to other people. In fact, had Acorn merely made their software available for other platforms and relied on good old copyright, it would have helped them a lot more than letting them have software patents.
Do I still believe in the future of Vorbis? Yes. The quality was better than MP3 ten years ago, at least with the tools I had available, although I really prefer lossless formats. Likewise, the myths about Theora's quality compared to the cartel formats are being put to bed as I write this. Sure, "sunk costs" ensure that there's little incentive for established companies to adopt other formats, but it's the effect on everyone else that needs addressing, at the very least.
It's easy for people to argue for more patents on the basis of giving people incentives because that's what patents are supposed to be about, but it's far from accepted that patents have been the vehicle for stimulating innovation that such people claim. Instead of going along with such claims, I suggest that the burden of proof is shifted onto those making such claims because there's plenty of evidence of the negative aspects of imposing patents on a domain.
My point about Replay undermines the assertions that people need patents to develop such stuff and that large teams in large corporations are also required. Not only are those two supposed factors independent of each other, they are also independent of whether innovation actually occurs.
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