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Forgent Settles JPEG Patent Cases 167

eldavojohn writes "As many of you know, the JPEG image compression is actually proprietary. This has resulted in many lawsuits between its owner, Forgent Networks, and other companies that have used it. Yesterday Microsoft and about 60 other defendants settled with Forgent to the tune of $8 million. For a company with annual revenues of $15 million, that's nothing to sneeze at. You haven't heard the last of Forgent yet, as the article states, 'It is currently pursuing claims against cable companies over a patent that it says covers technology inside digital video recorders.' Sounds like that one could be worth a little bit of cash, wouldn't you think?"
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Forgent Settles JPEG Patent Cases

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  • Isn't it funny.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) <> on Thursday November 02, 2006 @08:05PM (#16697371) Homepage Journal
    The Gimp has no problem opening and saving JPEGs but every day I hear another excuse why Totem can't play WMV / Quicktime files. I guess the difference is that someone, who didn't give a shit about patents, actually bothered to make a JPEG library.. but no-one has sat down and done the same for WMV or Quicktime or the dozen other "proprietary codecs". Now ESR is talking about working with Linspire to make it easy for Linux users to download codecs, for a fee. They're talking about putting an icon on the desktop, the user double clicks on it, a windows pops up asking for their credit card details (or whatever payment system will fly in your locale) and the codecs are downloaded and installed with no user intervention necessary. This is a great step forward compared to the hoops you have to jump through to get (unlicensed) codecs installed on Linux at the moment, but isn't it a step backwards? Wouldn't it be better to take the JPEG/GIF approach: write our own library and just ignore these people who claim we must license their patent?
  • by QuantumG (50515) <> on Thursday November 02, 2006 @08:16PM (#16697527) Homepage Journal
    Yes, true. It really does take effort to reverse engineer stuff, but that's the lot of those who care about interoperability. Ya gotta start somewhere. Samba wouldn't be here if people didn't at least try. Seems, these days, the only people doing reverse engineering for interoperability are the OpenBSD guys.
  • by bunions (970377) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @08:21PM (#16697591)
    There's not many of 'em.

    jpeg compression is nontrivial. The guy(s) that came up with it should be able to make a living off their hard work.
  • by radarsat1 (786772) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @08:55PM (#16698003) Homepage

    jpeg compression is nontrivial. The guy(s) that came up with it should be able to make a living off their hard work.

    While I do agree with you, it's kind of funny how the only reason it's really worth anything is because it's used so much. And the only reason it's used so much is because people used it without paying the license fee.

    Same can be said for gif and mp3... I recognize that that's no excuse, but it's kind of funny anyways. Had the patent been enforced from day zero, it wouldn't have nearly as much worth.

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