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[libreplanet-discuss] Software idea patents on "This American Life" agai

From: J.B. Nicholson-Owens
Subject: [libreplanet-discuss] Software idea patents on "This American Life" again; ask them why only MP3?
Date: Mon, 03 Jun 2013 22:40:36 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:17.0) Gecko/20130510 Thunderbird/17.0.6

Two years ago the radio show "This American Life" talked about software idea patents:

The show asked a number of unresolved questions about the details involved in why people sue and threaten to sue others over implementing ideas patent holders claim are covered by their patents.

The May 31, 2013 show follows up on the two-year-old show with multiple examples of things computer users do every day (using Wi-Fi in a coffee shop, scanning and sending documents, etc.):


which, as you'll note from the URL, is (ironically) in MP3 format -- a patent-covered format one cannot play with free software in many countries without doing something covered by software idea patents. As far as I know there are no alternative formats available; no Ogg Vorbis RSS feed.

Thus the show's publishers are, perhaps unknowingly, encouraging some people to engage in patent infringement (such as free software users without an MP3 player). Or perhaps encouraging free software users to think that their system is broken if it won't play MP3s (probably because the OS distributor can't legally distribute an MP3 player) when really the problem is MP3's fault.

This looks to me to be an opportunity to ask the show to distribute their show in Ogg Vorbis as well.

Have any of you asked "This American Life" about this issue? If so, what did they say in response?


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