Wiki­pe­dia links to my site

Today I no­ticed that an art­icle in the Ger­man Wiki­pe­dia is link­ing to my site. The art­icle about mul­ti­me­dia tech­no­lo­gies is link­ing to my page about au­dio com­pres­sion (Ger­man only). I wro­te this back in the days when I was in the uni­ver­sity (and I got a good grade in a mul­ti­me­dia course for it, MP3 was new stuff back then).

A minor amount of the Wiki­pe­dia art­icle seems to be taken from my page (ac­cord­ing to a search en­gine which is sup­posed to de­tect pla­gi­ar­ism). This is sort of cool (and the way it is done 100% val­id use of my con­tent, IMO). 😎

Con­tac­ted by a law­yer re­gard­ing MP3

A while ago (end of Au­gust 2009) I was con­tac­ted by a law­yer be­cause of my par­ti­cip­a­tion in the LAME-​project. It was about the MP3-​patents. They searched an ex­pert wit­ness for a case.

I had the im­pres­sion that it is about the in­val­id­a­tion of at least parts of one of the pat­ents. May­be they have a cli­ent which was sued for in­fringe­ment. Un­for­tu­nately for them I have ab­so­lutely no clue what is in­side the MP3-​patents (I am/​was tak­ing care about the “glue” in LAME) and the phone call we had was just some hours be­fore I went in­to hol­i­day. I re­ferred him to two oth­er de­velopers of the LAME-​project which not only should have bet­ter know­ledge about the parts the law­yer is in­ter­ested in, but also where prob­ably not in hol­i­day.

We also had a little chat about pat­ents in gen­er­al, and my opin­ion was that soft­ware pat­ents are not that use­ful. In the IT world 3 years is a lot of time, tech­no­logy is already over­taken by new de­vel­op­ments most of the time af­ter this time. When as­sum­ing that de­vel­op­ing some­thing new de­pend­ing on some tech­no­logy seen at an­other place takes at least about 1 year (do not hit me be­cause of this rough es­tim­a­tion without spe­cify­ing the size of the pro­ject or the qual­ity re­quire­ments), a soft­ware pat­ent which is val­id longer than 5 years is more than enough in my opin­ion. Any com­pany which was not able to make some money with it dur­ing this time made some­thing wrong, and block­ing the com­pet­i­tion be­cause of this is not really a good idea from my point of an user of tech­no­logy. As an user I want ad­vance­ments. And as an open source de­veloper I try to pro­duce my own ad­vance­ments when I can not get them from some­where else. In this light soft­ware pat­ents are not do­ing good for the “ad­vance­ment of the hu­man race”.

The law­yer did not try to con­vince me to the op­pos­ite. Either has was too po­lite, did not care about it, or he si­lently agrees. He  told me he wants to stay in touch with me in some way re­gard­ing Open Source and pat­ents. I did not ob­ject to this.

As I was curi­ous about the state of this, I con­tac­ted the law­yer about it, and the cur­rent out­come is not bad. Pre­vi­ously a lot of tries (by oth­er law­yers in the same Ger­man court) failed to fight again­st the par­tic­u­lar pat­ent. This time the court did not fol­low his pre­vi­ous rul­ings but told that this is­sue needs to be in­vest­ig­ated again (at least this is how I un­der­stand this – be­ware, I am not a law­yer). May­be we can see a res­ult this year.