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Linux Business Patents Your Rights Online

Alan Cox Files Patent For DRM 281

booooh writes "Alan Cox has filed a patent for DRM (Digital Rights Management). From the filing: 'A rights management system monitors and controls use of a computer program to prevent use that is not in compliance with acceptable terms.' According to the patent pledge of Cox's employer Red Hat, they will not license this technology if the patent is granted. And it can probably be applied to the DRM that is in Vista. This forum has a few more details.
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Alan Cox Files Patent For DRM

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  • by tedgyz ( 515156 ) * on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:45AM (#17612246) Homepage
    I KNEW I should have kept using LimeWire instead of paying for songs on iTunes!
    • FrostWire (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SpooForBrains ( 771537 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:08AM (#17612374)
      FrostWire [] - all the *ahem* benefits of using Limewire, but without the annoying "Upgrade to Limewire Pro" popups.
  • Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by noamsml ( 868075 ) <noamsml@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:45AM (#17612252) Homepage
    Either the patent system will be proven rotten, or DRM will be halted! It's a win-win!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kurtmckee ( 870398 )
      I think both of your outcomes hinge on the assumption that the patent is granted. Besides, do we really need anymore proof that the patent system is seriously b0rked?
      • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bwt ( 68845 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:16AM (#17613698) Homepage
        I believe that the patent will be granted. The PTO doesn't see this patent as any different than the myriads of other stupid patents they routinely grant. But the only way it might not be granted is if the publicity alerts the bad guys (MS, RIAA, MPAA, etc...) that they need to spin up their lobbiests to affect the PTO. I wish this story had not been run.

        Assuming the PTO behaves as it has in the past, this patent will be granted and it will be up to litigation to sort out prior art. It will be up to Alan and Red Hat to pick who they want to attack first. If they pick somebody big, there is a serious danger that they will retaliate against Red Hat. Think about what IBM did to SCO. Every single SCO product has a patent claim infringement case against it.

        If Red Hat is smart, they'd work out a deal with a friendly party who is willing to spend the money and litigate against them first. IBM or Novell might be candidates. The idea here would be that the "defendent" would want the courts to reach a common outcome with the plaintiffs and both sides would cooperate insofar as they would force the court to pick between precedents that are favorable to both sides.
    • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <atd7.cornell@edu> on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:55AM (#17612308) Homepage
      "Either the patent system will be proven rotten, or DRM will be halted! It's a win-win!"

      Or the patent system will work and the patent won't be granted (prior art).
      Or the patent system will work and the patent will be granted because it is narrow in scope (only covers a specific type of DRM) which won't hurt DRM in general because no one implements it in the patented way. (If they do, prior art kills the patent)
      • From the disclosure:

        What is claimed is
        1. A method of controlling use of a computer program, said method comprising the steps of: monitoring usage of said computer program for at least one instance of a rights violation event; saving, upon detection of said rights violation event, state information pertaining to said computer program; and suspending, upon saving said state information, operation of said computer program.

        This is an awfully broad claim. I would think proving prior art here and invalida
        • Your product is only covered by the patent if it fits all the claims of the patent.
          • by XLawyer ( 68496 ) * on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:34AM (#17613172) Homepage
            This may be true somewhere, but not in the United States. In the U.S., you infringe a patent if any claim of the patent describes what you are doing.
          • by FallLine ( 12211 ) *
            Per Abrahamsen,

            As I said before, you and most people on slashdot understand very little about patents. You're all too ready to tar and feather any patent holder based on your misinterpretation of specific patents and patent law (not to mention a lack of appreciation for certain fundamental aspects of business)

            That said: Infringement can be (and often is) found if a product violates any one individual claim in the patent. The product, however, must violate every limitation found within that claim, i.e., if
          • by geeber ( 520231 )
            Your product is only covered by the patent if it fits all the claims of the patent.

            Except that, in the grandparent post, I wasn't concerned about whether a product would violate the patent. My point is that before the situation even gets to that point, the patent is going to have difficulty issuing in the first place since 1) the patent authors have written a very broad claim, and 2) a lot of people have been working on DRM for a long time. While I know next to nothing about the specifics of DRM, to my
            • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @12:56PM (#17615192) Homepage Journal
              2) a lot of people have been working on DRM for a long time.

              Yeah, but have any of them actually produced valid, workable DRM software? I get the impression that most of them are invalidated (i.e., "cracked") within days of release. Either that, or like the Sony "rootkit DRM", the DRM was a fiasco that was quickly withdrawn due to its side-effects on customers' equipment.

              Cox and RedHat can be making the claim that all previous DRM has been poorly-functioning and/or vaporware, and they're the first ones to have actually implemented it. If so, those who support DRM should support their patent. (Whether software should actually be patentable is an independent issue.)

              There's a lot of precedent for patents for inventions that others have attempted. I recently read an interesting history of the invention of the zipper. Many people tried to invent such a mechanism in the 1800s. Their attempts generally worked for a while, but were fragile and required frequent replacement. Finally, someone came up with the zipper that we all know, which both worked and was sturdy enough to last for years in normal clothing. They got a patent on it, despite the fact that many other (poor) zipper mechanisms had already been invented. Theirs was slightly different from all the others, and it actually worked well.

              There are many stories like this in the history of technology, with many false starts before someone comes up with a good solution to a problem.

              There is another potential problem with this patent, however. It's the way that the US Patent Office now accepts patents without a working model. So it's entirely possible that Cox and RedHat are also patenting vaporware that they can't build. Do we know much about this question?
      • Re:Wow! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by antek9 ( 305362 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:51AM (#17612716)
        You gotta love that. DRM as prior art. Isn't it beautiful?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by rujholla ( 823296 )
        or Microsoft finds the patent officer who is considering the patent and pays them 10 Million under the table to deny the patent.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by nomadic ( 141991 )
          or Microsoft finds the patent officer who is considering the patent and pays them 10 Million under the table to deny the patent.

          Microsoft? They're not huge DRM supporters by nature, they just implement it because they think that's the only way copyright holders will use Microsoft networks/products to distribute their music/movies/whatever.
    • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:29AM (#17612552) Homepage

      Read the patent application.

      It is actually an interesting take on the licensing paradigm. Most licensing programs either start denying you access which leads to loss of data if this happens in the middle of an operation. Alternatively, they kill your program altogether which is again loss of data. Alternatively they check for licensing only when the program starts. In the days of software suspend and 200+ days of uptimes neither one of these is a good idea.

      What redhat is patenting is a three pronged approach - OS suspend, component suspend or application suspend when a license violation is encountered. The first one is obvious, the second one and third one are non-obvious until one consideres RedHat aquisition of Jboss. These actually make a lot of sense in a Jboss application.

      Overall, I am not surprised that RedHat has no intention of licensing this commercially. If they provide the relevant support, this will give a Jboss based commercial application considerable advantage over BEA and Websphere.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        It may also be used in copies of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which is often licensed on a subscription model. Once the subscription expires, many companies typically end up using it anyway. Perhaps Red Hat is interested in stopping this. Notice that the patent covers use by application program os by operating systems. Red Hat is, first and foremost, an operating system vendor.

        While the individual packages of RHEL are GPLed, the integrated OS as a whole is not. One interesting thought is -- what happens w
        • morgan_greywolf [] wrote []:

          It may also be used in copies of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which is often licensed on a subscription model. Once the subscription expires, many companies typically end up using it anyway. Perhaps Red Hat is interested in stopping this.

          I would guess your proposed situation is not a significant problem for Red Hat. Purchasers of Red Hat Enterprise Linux are large corporations that want the backing of their vendors. The way it works is that when one `purchases` Red Hat Enterprise Linux,

          • I would guess it would be extremely rare for any of Red Hat's enterprise customers to let their subscription lapse and run non-updated & non-supported RHEL products.

            And even if Red Hat did something like this, all these former customers would have to do is drop in CENTOS [] or one of the other recompiled clones of RHEL [].

            The grandparent's premise is ludicrous. Red Hat makes money by selling support, not software.
        • by julesh ( 229690 )
          It may also be used in copies of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which is often licensed on a subscription model. Once the subscription expires, many companies typically end up using it anyway. Perhaps Red Hat is interested in stopping this.

          Doing so would be an extra condition applied on use of the individual packages included in RHEL, and therefore a violation of the GPL. If there's any non-GPL software included (I've never tried it, so can't be sure), then it could be used for that.

          Or it could be a landgrab ai
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Omnifarious ( 11933 ) *

        What? You expect RedHat to actually use this? I don't know what planet you're from, but you're not from mine.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by alx5000 ( 896642 )
      I don't know why, and I am not yet motivated to patent it, since my views on DRM are mostly unprintable....
  • Hope this works (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AlanS2002 ( 580378 ) < minus poet> on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:46AM (#17612256) Homepage
    It might be something that reduces the threat of DRM completely making our computers useless.
    • Flamebait?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cheesey ( 70139 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:55AM (#17612764)
      Flamebait? "The threat of DRM completely making our computers useless" is not a contraversial statement. Even if you really like DRM, you can probably think of some examples where it has been taken too far: think Sony rootkits, Starforce CDROM damage, and Jon Johansen and Dimitri Skylarov being arrested for hacking their own computers.

      Read up on TCPA immediately. Consider how much of the design of Vista has been aimed at preventing access to high-quality copies of information protected by DRM. Should the film industry really have been allowed to design an operating system?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by NekoXP ( 67564 )
        TCPA, HDMI and all the other DRM technologies do one simple thing to data; attempt to ensure that a simple man-in-the-middle attack to intercept that data cannot happen between a trusted source and an approved target.

        The threat that "DRM will make your computer useless" is not really relevant. Nothing in TCPA really stipulates that all content must be filtered through DRM or that all content must be encrypted or obfuscated. All pipes between components may be marked trusted or not, and when content marked "
        • The threat that "DRM will make your computer useless" is not really relevant.

          It seems quite relevant to me when faced with the possibility of having to purchase a bunch of new gear just to be able to run DRM'd software or watch DRM'd movies and other content that wouldn't otherwise require a hardware upgrade.
  • by rumith ( 983060 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:47AM (#17612266)
    • by YeeHaW_Jelte ( 451855 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:24AM (#17612514) Homepage
      That's a patent for a DRM-enable operating system.

      Seems Alan is trying to patent a subpart of DRM which will render it useless if it cannot be used.
    • by Halo1 ( 136547 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:26AM (#17612528)
      The fact that Microsoft also has patents on DRM does not "protect" it in any way from this particular patent owned by Red Hat. A "defensive patent" only works to the extent that you can assert it to someone who is threatening you. So unless Red Hat starts incorporating DRM stuff in its products which infringes on Microsoft's patent, it has zero defensive value against Red Hat's patent.

      That said, Microsoft has a whole lot of other patents as well, and some of those are bound to cover code distributed by Red Hat. I just wanted to correct the misconception that holding a patent on something automatically protects your use of that stuff: it doesn't in any way, all it does is give you the right to prevent others from doing that. But it's quite possible you need umpteen other patent licenses yourself to be able to actually do what you describe in your patent application.
    • Based on the 2001 date of the M$ patent, it does look as if M$ has covered their butts, at least for the expiration date considerations. But rather than protecting the data, they would destroy the volatile copy in memory.

      But this is a pretty good test of the patent system too, because Alan has probably some very similar methods claimed. The end result will probably be granted, but then disallowed on prior art grounds when it makes it to court. And while it may be to us, prima faci evidence of a broken sy
    • He left a backdoor (Score:2, Interesting)

      by LPrecure ( 835868 )

      From the patent:

      A rights management system monitors and controls use of a computer program to prevent use that is not in compliance with acceptable terms. The system monitors usage of the computer program for usage and activities that are not in compliance with the license or other use terms. Upon detection of a violation of these terms, state information pertaining to the computer program is saved and operation of the computer program and/or a portion of the computer system is suspended. The system maint

      • Perfect (Score:3, Insightful)

        All Microsoft has to do to get around his patent is make it so that, once DRM breaks your computer, it stays broke. (Until you do something. Like, the infamous "format and reinstall".) (Which, BTW, you can only do once.)

        Exactly. It forces DRM to be nasty (unless you licence this patent) and therefore harder to shove down consumers' throats.

        Even if Red Hat licenses this patent out for an exorbitant amount of money (which it would have to be, considering DRM really hurts Red Hat's business), it will serve to fund the development of free alternatives to DRM-infested software.

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:48AM (#17612274)
    Had it been any other sort of technology, filing a patent for it and then refusing to license it, thus crippling adoption of that technology, would be considered a terrible thing on /. But in the case of DRM and RedHat, I think most would make an exception.

    But I'm still not that excited. Most on /. thought Novell was a fine upstanding company until recently.
    • by rvw ( 755107 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:49AM (#17612702)
      So what if Microsoft would buy Redhat in the future, can Redhat now make it so that this patent will never be used, no matter what?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by berck ( 60937 )
      If you knew anything about RedHat, you'd realize that your comment is incorrect. They will license *any* of their patents for *free* for use in a GPL'ed application.
    • filing a patent for it and then refusing to license it, thus crippling adoption of that technology

      Actually it likely will not cripple adoption. Although there is no intention of licensing the technology they didn't state they were going to sue anyone who had such technology in their products. I suspect that Red Hat has no issues with companies like Apple and Microsoft enraging their own customers by implementing technologies that hinder legal use of products they've paid for.

      But I'm still not that excited.

  • by Breakfast Pants ( 323698 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:49AM (#17612278) Journal
    He might as well try and patent the airplane. If he really wants to prevent further spread of DRM, he should use his energy educating people about it's true costs. The only people who are going to read about this already know about DRM.
    • Not really (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rumith ( 983060 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:07AM (#17612366)
      You see, he's not trying to patent DRM as a concept, he's trying to patent the technology of DRM system state saving. While this patent may have little value itself, it might be a show-stopper for Apple, Microsoft and the like. IANAL, but I suppose that Red Hat lawyers have studied the piles of MS et al DRM patents and Vista license agreement, and have found a hole in it [i.e. something that they use in the license or in their technology but haven't patented]. And now that Vista is getting ready for launch, Microsoft gets this blow. Let's keep our fingers crossed and see what follows.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Timesprout ( 579035 )
        Ah how sweet. Slashdot readers supporting an OSS company in patent trolling to damage Microsoft and others. I'm sure the irony, and indeed the stupidity of this move is totally lost on you.
        • by Morosoph ( 693565 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:43AM (#17612646) Homepage Journal
          The Red Hat statement on patents is such that they won't enforce it unless there's reason to retaliate.

          Far from trolling, this is protection from trolling.
        • by MrHanky ( 141717 )
          I'm sure it makes more sense to you if you look at it as a fight against DRM and closed formats instead of a fight against Microsoft. If it harms the corporations, then that's just collateral damage, not unlike consumer rights have been under the corporations' war against copyright infringement.
        • Considering the BS sabre rattling MS has been doing via Ballmer with regards to "potential" Patent problems with Linux it might be strategic instead of stupid. As long as we have the stupidity of Patents in their current form, it's inevitable that you will have companies doing this sort of thing.
        • by LihTox ( 754597 )
          The irony is not lost; it is being sweetly savored. It may not work, and it's definitely fighting dirty, there is a certain poetic justice in using one despicable practice (bad patents) against another (DRM). It is, of course, also frequently argued that only when the patent system screws over the megacorps will the patent system be changed. Getting the MAFIAA and Microsoft on the side of patent reform wouldn't be such a terrible thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    welcome our intellectual property owning masters, but I'm not sure if there is a patent on greetings or not?

  • by tfbastard ( 782237 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:54AM (#17612300)
    From this patent application []
    The present invention provides a technique for preventing the unauthorized use of a computer application, operating system, or other program without causing the loss of any information or data.
    And a bit further down:
    When unauthorized use of the computer program is detected, any information and data is saved and the computer program and/or a portion of the computer system is disabled.

    As patent law, legalese and such is not my area of expertise, I'm out on a limb here, but doesn't this sound like a patent for saving the state of an DRM-aware application before exiting if a DRM-breaking state occurs, thus making legal DRM-aware applications even more annoying to use?

  • The Irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:56AM (#17612318)
    Its like the one ring being destroyed in Mt. Doom
  • patent outsource of torture
  • Surely if this "can be applied to the DRM that is in Vista", then there is prior art, and the patent is invalid?
    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:14AM (#17612420) Homepage
      How, exactly, has prior art been stopping patents from being granted?
      • It hasn't. However, the moment he tries to use it on one of the large companies, they'll haul the matter in to court, most likely bankrupting Mr. Cox in the process.

        Or did you forget that these are filthy rich companies we're talking about?
        • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:00AM (#17612828)
          '' It hasn't. However, the moment he tries to use it on one of the large companies, they'll haul the matter in to court, most likely bankrupting Mr. Cox in the process. ''

          There are two possibilities how this could go to court:

          1. Mr. Cox finds out that for example Microsoft does actually infringe on his patent, and he tries to do an Eolas on them. You can be sure that he would find lawyers who will happily support him for 60 percent of the proceeds on a no win, no fee basis. Mr. Cox would go down in public opinion quite a lot, but he might not care with $100mil in his pocket.

          2. Microsoft starts attacking Linux with patent claims, and Mr. Cox's patent is used as part of the "assured mutual destruction" policy that patents are used for. It won't be Mr. Cox paying for the court case.
  • probably not... (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheCoop1984 ( 704458 )
    This probably won't be granted, due to the gobs of prior art around
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Two possible outcomes: The patent is granted or it's not. If the patent is not granted, which is very likely because there is a ton of prior art, then this just paints the Open Source crowd as leeches who need to latch on to someone else's inventions to get anything done. It's not like many people don't think that anyway. If the patent is granted then this obviously shows that the patent system is flawed, but rest assured that the issue will then be solved before courts in no time, which "proves" that there
    • by init100 ( 915886 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:23AM (#17613052)

      If the patent is not granted, which is very likely because there is a ton of prior art,

      Are you sure? This does not seem to be a patent for all DRM, but for a system that saves the state of the application when detecting a condition that violates the rules.

      It's not like many people don't think that anyway.

      What do you mean?

      Either way it will be proven that the patent system actually works, because a patent troll has been defeated,

      Red Hat is no patent troll. A patent troll is a company whose only business is patenting and suing for infringement. And that isn't a description of Red Hat by a long stretch.

      on top of that it will be shown that the people who most adamantly argue against patents a) don't refrain from trying to use the system to their advantage (double standard)

      So everyone that don't like the current implementation of the patent system should refrain from patenting things at all? Let's face it, patents exist and don't seem to be going away. As a corporation, refraining from patenting anything would be an invitation to competitors to sue, as you would have almost no defensive capability. Avoiding infringement altogether is about as easy as walking through a minefield, so in case you are sued, you need some defensive measures to fight off the attacker.

      file patents for other people's inventions, which we all know is STEALING (or intellectual theft or somesuch).

      A lot of patents cover the same or almost the same thing. It's a feature of the current implementation of patents, and whose patent is valid is left for the courts to decide.

      One could suspect that the system is set up only to enrich lawyers, as lawyers in the patent office earn money proportional to the number of granted patent applications. Then their patent lawyer friends earn money when corporations battle it out in court. A different implementation might require the patent office to not issue patents that cover each other, but then the lawyers would not be able to enrich themselves as much.

  • Good idea, lets publicize a patent that might have been able to slip past Apple, Microsoft, etc...

    Except that, by bringing it to the public limelight, you've just guaranteed that the aforementioned companies will attempt to get the patent thrown out due to section 102 a or b of Title 35 of the US Code (Patents).
    • For reference, since I forgot to go back and link them, Title 35 [] 102 [] a and b both deal with works that have already been known or patented anywhere prior to the filing, in or out of the US.
  • by jolyonr ( 560227 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:19AM (#17612464) Homepage
    Seems like the following patent application may be more suitable for stopping DRM []

  • Why can't open source companies just go around patenting everything, then locking up the Evil(tm) ideas forever and releasing the Good(tm) ideas for free use by anyone?
    • Patents (fortunately) don't last forever. If you patent something which is unlikely to come during the patent grant period anyway, it's just wasted money. Even worse, for Evil(tm) ideas, you might have given people ideas for afterwards.

      Also, patents cost money. Lots of patents cost lots of money. Who has enough money to patent everything?
    • by AVee ( 557523 )
      Wonderfull idea. That is, when you all just let me be the judge of what is Good(TM) and what is Evil(TM). I'm clearly the best person for this job...
  • by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:20AM (#17612476) Homepage
    But with totally obnoxious terms. Red Hat could enact some kind of fee whenever DRM-protected content is played, essentially turning the whole DRM world into pay-per-view. And then there would be the price increases, linked to the average price of cable TV. I even have a name for it: Digital Rights Restriction -- Genuine Annoyance Edition. It that's too long to fit in a banner ad, they could just call it "Revenue Assurance".

    The key is not to make money, it is to drive home the high cost of DRM, making the downside totally obvious to all. Remember, no matter how ridiculous the terms might be, it really won't be any worse than the copyright industry will do all by themselves in a few years. But instead of using the salami-slice method, the all-at-once/in-your-face method forces everyone to confront the issue here and now.

    I think the DRM patent is a really nifty strategy, and presented here on Martin Luther King day, no less!
  • Whatever (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:37AM (#17612588)
    A patent is only useful if you have the money to defend the patent in court. Same with a trademark or copyright. Without lots of cash a patent is an empty threat.
    • by louzerr ( 97449 )
      AND you have to get a judge to rule, AND you have to have the judge prosecute in a timely manner.

      Even if they were found guilty of patent infringement at some point in the future, our sad, sad "legal" system would probably just let them walk again.

      Geld uber alles!
  • MS & SCO (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UnRDJ ( 712762 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:42AM (#17612640)
    Even if this is invalid, look how much of a fuss SCO and MS have created with BS IP claims. I'm sure if Mr. Cox has paid attention, he can make a few heads turn. Or at least provide us with some amusement.
    • Unfortunately, Alan Cox is not a billionaire. If he were I have no doubt that he could retroactively sue aforementioned coroprations and turn a tidy profit settling out of court, but as it is he's just a regular Joe meddling in the big boys' court system.

      Unless he's granted a huge wad of cash by someone like RedHat (who I can't see wanting to be involved in a more-political-than-anything-else patent dispute that much), I don't really see this going anywhere, and in the grand scheme of things I don't think t
  • by Mostly a lurker ( 634878 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:48AM (#17612694)
    I shall not comment on the likelihood of the patent being initially granted. Let's assume it is. Cox is then proposing to prevent anyone using DRM by refusing to license it to anyone on any terms. The trouble with that is such an action is grounds to cancel the patent. There are conditions in patent law designed to prevent anyone taking out patents with the objective of preventing the use of the embodied inventions. These were designed to prevent unfair competition, but will still apply.
    • ... ever added to certain standards ? If not to protect against suddenly appearing patents that kill the standard, why would they protect any standard with an agreement such as RAND [] ? If it is true what you are saying, RAND is not necessary as the law can always override it.

      And even if it can override it, perhaps it is pretty difficult to achieve (plus costly...).
  • and Novell ends up with the power to block or license the technique of DRM to anybody it sees fit

    Why exactly are we convinced that Novell will just bury the technique and shield us from DRM forever?

    Novell is a publicly owned company and has a duty (legally) to earn money for their shareholders. I cannot see of a situation where they'd make more by sitting on it, than they would by licensing it - If I was a shareholder in a company that got this patent, I'd want them to make me money.

    Whatever their intention
  • by ratboy666 ( 104074 ) <> on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:28AM (#17613108) Journal
    The current attack vectors on cryptographic based "DRM" schemes are (1) accidental key leakage, (2) the key exchange system or (3) the fact that the data must be eventually decoded.

    Note that (3) is what makes DRM systems very dumb. It also follows that the Operating System must get involved in order to so hide the data.

    If the Operating System allows a debugger to run AT THE SAME TIME as the "DRM", its attackable. If the OS allows "unsigned" drivers to run, its attackable.

    The OS (for example, Vista) will (eventually) not allow unsigned drivers. It must also "kick out" or "suspend" all non-DRM (unsigned) software when DRM content is played.

    This behaviour falls into Mr. Coxs patent.

    Now, if (Vista) doesn't implement the scheme, it remains vulnerable. So, the problem must be solved another way.

    My suggestion then is to ALSO patent (or disallow) by widely publishing the idea that a hypervisor (VM supervisor) can be used for DRM control as well, and can also be used to suspend, terminate or otherwise control applications that could be used to attack DRM software.

    Got that? It's now published.
  • What no one gets is that DRM is a big compromise. Like all security its a balance between keeping things usable and keeping the media suppliers and the customers happy.

    In a commercial world commercial companies have no requirement to sell anything to any one. So if you say I'll not buy it because it has X or does Y then that's your prerogative. It's the company's prerogative not to sell you something. It is the company's commercial decision to decide how many sales they are happy to lose that way.

    So if
  • Tomorrow's news today: Microsoft buys Red Hat with petty cash and now owns the entire world.
  • PCT/US04/42423 was filed a year later claiming the benefit of this filing date of the US application. I have no idea what other "designated offices" have been elected; what other patent offices will accept software claims?

    Also, according to a recent PTO Official Gazette The art unit to which this application is assigned has been giving first actions on applications filed about the time of this one, so perhaps an action will be forthcoming soon, although it depends mainly on the individual examiner's docket
  • There are a few examples of good DRM such as with Steam. This allows you to install on as many computers as you want and doesn't suffer the Music related problem of incompatibility of devices.
  • by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) * on Monday January 15, 2007 @04:42PM (#17618466) Journal
    It's an obviously frequent /. misconception that disclosing prior art invalidates a patent/application. The fact is that a similar prior art search and disclosure is a necessary part of the patent search and application process. It proves that one has done one's homework. What needs to be shown is that the patent applied for differs from prior art in a *significant enough* way as to validate the request. Discovery and disclosure by another party of prior art not covered in the disclosure AND of a nature that shows that the request is not unique enough to merit a patent CAN and SHOULD invalidate the request, but this is not always the case.

    The Inventor's Handbook ( describes this and many other relevant points in a manner far more readable than the patent laws.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay