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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 rumith ( 983060 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @08:47AM (#17612266)
  • 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.
  • probably not... (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheCoop1984 ( 704458 ) <thecoop.runbox@com> on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:05AM (#17612354)
    This probably won't be granted, due to the gobs of prior art around
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.

  • Re:Flamebait?? (Score:3, Informative)

    by NekoXP ( 67564 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @10:57AM (#17613470) Homepage
    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 "only trusted paths" comes in, only those trusted components can be used. For data for which you have no trusted components, this is NOT down to you "being crippled by the industry" so much as "I didn't buy that component yet". Be it a DirectShow module, Apple's iTunes application, DVD player app. Whatever.

    However, Vista does not make any impact on.. high definition movies you encoded yourself without DRM, or high definition movies that have in general not been set to enforce DRM. Nor can it reasonably stop you from playing an unencrypted MP3 file. If you don't like your DRM media being crippled by the fact that you do not have these trusted components available you have two choices - either buy the trusted component (DVD player plugin, new monitor with HDCP), or simply don't buy DRM media. In either case, all your chosen media will keep working, encrypted or not, just maybe at a lower resolution, more limited functionality, but certainly not USELESS (no manufacturer on the planet is proposing to flat-out deny access to media based on an insecure path, and the DRM consequence of trying to play someone else's tune on your player is a matter of encryption key availability)

    Neither system is truly any different to people insisting on PGP Signing and Encrypting their mail.

    Since it IS consumers who drive the market on this, and significant backpeddling has been done to ensure that systems carry on working even through violations, things may get better (relaxing restrictions). Having a non-HDCP monitor means, your content gets displayed at higher-than-SD but lower-than-HD resolution. Those who give a shit about this will have already known about it, and bought the correct monitor. They are not affected by the DRM, therefore.
  • by berck ( 60937 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:26AM (#17613846) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by mavenguy ( 126559 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @12:22PM (#17614634)
    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 when the application must be acted on (oldest new application in docket must be acted on within two biweeks).
  • Re:FrostWire (Score:3, Informative)

    by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @12:23PM (#17614672)
    There are other legal ways to get music besides paying for heavily DRM'd music. Allofmp3 is one, recording off FM radio is another.

    Unlike you, I can see the justification for the way folks behave against music since I view the laws as having been bought illegally. The .25 cents is a good figure for what electronic music should cost. But they should also record the fact you bought it and give you a replacement copy if you lose your legally purchased product.

    I'm sorry that the music industry successfully brainwashed you. Please stay away from preachers in death cults, you probably wouldn't be able to resist them any better.

  • by FallLine ( 12211 ) * on Monday January 15, 2007 @12:46PM (#17615032)
    No, actually, your product or process does have to show all the elements listed in the patent.
    No, it does not. The product/process must contain all the elements of just one claim: not all the elements of all the claims. There is a huge difference between the two. If this were really the case, it would be impossible to violate the majority of patents as they contain dependent claims that are mutually exclusive (often the dependent claims describe various implementations of the same idea).

    You don't have to take my word for it. Read this: []

    Something infringes a patent if it has all the elements of a claim in the patent, or performs all the steps of a claim. It does not have to match all the claims, a single one will do. However, it is important that it matches all elements in that single claim. Most patent courts take this requirement quite strictly and will not easily ignore an element in a claim unless it is clearly irrelevant. One often-heard argument against ignoring an element is that patent writers are aware of the strict interpretation and so would not put in an element unless necessary. Therefore, an element that is present in the claim must have been deemed necessary and so may not be ignored.

    One great example is that lawsuit against Nintendo [] 2138250 over the Wiimote, because it has a "trigger" button underneath. And coincidently, the Wiimote also has buttons on top just like the item that Nintendo is supposedly infringing on.
    I didn't read this case, but citing slashdot on patent issues is like citing Soviet propaganda to find out about the US Constitution. It is just about the worst place to find reliable information on patents.

  • 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.
  • Trivia? (Score:3, Informative)

    by fluxrad ( 125130 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:31PM (#17622536) Homepage
    Trolls aren't what they used to be. But then again, I guess being made into a twisted parody of nature enslaved to Morgoth by a second rate hobbyist fantasy author and be forced to remember your time as a relatively benign mythological being from Scandinavian folklore all your miserable existence would do that to you, I guess. And the movie trilogy, which makes mockery of both your original and Tolkien-corrupted nature, would certainly not help.

    You do realize the origin of "trolling" stems from the fishing term, right? You're right, though. The term definitely ain't what it used to be.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie