This afternoon, that stockpile was finally used for what pretty much everyone suspected it would be used for—launching an all-out patent attack on Google and Android. The smartphone patent wars have been underway for a few years now, and the eight lawsuits filed in federal court today by Rockstar Consortium mean that the conflict just hit DEFCON 1.
Google probably knew this was coming. When it lost out in the Nortel auction, the company’s top lawyer, David Drummond, complained that the Microsoft-Apple patent alliance was part of a “hostile, organized campaign against Android.” Google’s failure to get patents in the Nortel auction was seen as one of the driving factors in its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola in 2011.
The new data underscores the extent to which U.S. cities lag behind cities around the world, further emphasizing the need for policy reform. Rather than allowing American cities to fall behind, policymakers should reassess current policy approaches and implement strategies to increase competition, in turn fostering faster speeds and more affordable access.
Video games are treated differently, though, primarily because they exist on a screen rather than a board. “A video game under copyright law is an audiovisual work, which gives a public performance right to the copyright holder,” Dallas attorney and Law of the Game blog author Mark Methenitis explained in an interview with Ars. “Under the public performance right, the copyright holder is allowed to say when, where, or whether something is publicly performed, meaning displayed in front of a group of people larger than, say, at your house.”
In other words, if you want to put on a Street Fighter tournament and charge people to watch, Capcom can make you get a license for the “public performance” of the game. In fact, that is exactly what Capcom does with for-profit tournaments.
VoIP-to-PSTN termination providers and SIP vendors will be watching their inboxes for a lawyer’s letter from BT, which has kicked off a taxing licensing program levying a fee on the industry, based on a list of 99 patents.
A useful comment from slashdot.
The IETF MMUSIC (Multiparty Multimedia Session Control) Working Group started working on Session Protocols [ietf.org] in 1993.
Initial Internet drafts for a Session Invitation Protocol and a Simple Conference Invitation Protocol were prepared in 1996, and merged to a single first draft of SIP by December 1996 (slide 10 [columbia.edu]), with further drafts (2-12) leading up to the publication of RFC 2543 in March of 1999 (slides 11-13, ibid.).
I don’t see anything that says BT had a hand in anything to do with SIP up to 1996. More than half the patents BT claims (Exhibit C [btplc.com]) were filed after RFC 2543 was published.
I hope this information is a useful starting point for some SIP vendor.
ISPs over the years have profited from the switch to online media consumption and they have offered unlimited Internet access with very high download speeds in advertising campaigns, Sabam said. “The Internet access providers have never paid copyright levies for this activity. They hide behind their status as intermediary, without taking responsibility for the information transmitted over their networks,” the organization said.
You can imagine the lasting economic damage that would have been incurred if similar legislation had prevented CEMC from borrowing to roll out electricity in the 1940′s. This is a textbook case of rent-seeking behavior on the part of private ISP’s and regulatory capture on the part of the legislature, and was no doubt passed based both on some mixture of ideology unrestrained by real-world results, and private ISP’s increasing their political donations that year by a factor of 100 (as Upton Sinclair bitterly mused, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”)
He also has an interesting comment on slashdot.