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Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:24 pm
by ascotan
From what I've seen .3ds is a proprietary format (i.e. read 'copyrighted') from autodesk/discreet. The format is freely available on the internet as people around the world have hexed it to death.

Can autodesk try to enforce it's copyright - sure. However, in the case of open-source software I don't know this doesn't fall under 'fair use' - but who knows? Copyright law is complex enough that people spend their entire careers devoted to wading through it.

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:42 pm
by LetterRip
3D-can,
Letterip: Copyrights are universally used on all new, old and upgraded titles.
In the US copyright is automatic for all copyrightable works, it is impossible to NOT have copyright on a work created in the recent past unless you specifically relinquish that right. What do you mean by 'title' - that generally means game or similar, it looks like here you mean software in general.
Patents must have a novelty which becomes more and more difficult to get especially on upgraded titles. Patents can cost anywhere from 250K->almost 1M$ for heavily researched and defended works. Patents may be issued with much less cost, but these low budget jobs, aren't worth the paper they're printed on and are only an invitation to be sued when the USPTO broadcasts to the world the concept. In many ways these kinds of patents are simply a marketing tool and a sort of credential for the inventor and offer almost no protection.
Ok it looks like you don't know what exactly patents are - you can't patent 'a title', you can patent a process, you can patent a design, not much else. You can do a patent cheaply if you are willing to put in the sweat equity. The worth is determined by what the process covers and who is either infringing it, or who is willing to license it, and your resources to negotiate or persecute.
Although it is foolish not to get patent protection on truly novel software, it might be equally foolish to wait to release a title simply to secure a patent when a copyright can protect as well. Each patent application must have one unique main concept that is novel or else there needs to be more patents applied for which can multiply a software titles patent cost a great deal.
As noted above copyright is automatic. People generally don't wait for patents to go through the patenting process before manufacturing. A patent is generally going through the process long after a product has been delivered. If you recall you were asking about FILE FORMATS - those are something which are excluded from eligibility for copyright. Generally if a company doesn't want interoperability with its file formats they have historically used technical means - ie not documenting the format, obscuring the format by using odd data structures, using a memory dump as the binary format, or using simplistic encryption schemes. In more recent times the DMCA means that a simple encryption scheme makes it essentially illegal for competitors to interoperate with your file format.
Copyrights cost as little as 30$ to register plus nominal fees. The registration is only required for court litigation. The works registered there are proprietary and not searchable and therefore are not broadcast to the world as are patents.
It is fairly easy to keep your patent from being broadcast for a number of years (at least for US filed patents) indeed it is fairly common for at least five years to pass between initial filing and publication. At any rate as noted a file format isn't subject to copyright, so it is irrellevant.
I'm already a member of EFF so I'll take a look there and to the links you provided.
That would be a good idea, would save both you and us a lot of time :).
So the exporter developers are collecting and paying a licence? No.
Actually those who created gifs using software that utilized the gif compression algorithm without license were infringing on the gif patent as well. A patent holder is within his rights to sue an end user, contrary to the previous posters claim. However, it was infringement on the algorithm patent, not usage of the format that was illegal (certain formats are impossible to create without usage of a specific algorithm). Same for mp3s - it is the infringement on the compression algorithm patent that is illegal. For 3DS there are (to the best of my knowledge) no patents that are neccessary to the writing of the format, therefore there are no legal barriers to reading or writing the 3DS format.
Unlike Letterrip, I'm reasonably certain that they own their own copyrights.
???? I've never claimed they don't 'own their own copyrights' just that a file format is something not subject to copyright law.
I don't pretend to know that the 3ds file format is patented.
You can't patent a file format. You can only patent a process that is involved in the creation of the file, a process which it may be impossible to create the format without.

LetterRip

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:44 pm
by lukep
ascotan wrote:From what I've seen .3ds is a proprietary format (i.e. read 'copyrighted') from autodesk/discreet. The format is freely available on the internet as people around the world have hexed it to death.

Can autodesk try to enforce it's copyright - sure. However, in the case of open-source software I don't know this doesn't fall under 'fair use' - but who knows? Copyright law is complex enough that people spend their entire careers devoted to wading through it.
AFAIK, and i'm not a lawyer, Reverse engeneering a format to read it or export to it is allowed as it fall under fair use (for Europeans Laws).

And btw, as the first release of the unnoficial specification dates from 1994 and was not sued before, the coryright holders have loose a lot of grounds to defend them, as you need to fight any infringement you are aware of

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:50 pm
by kAinStein
3D-Can wrote: So the exporter developers are collecting and paying a licence? No.
Why should they? They're using their own code to read and write the file format.
Autodesk has over 170 patents covering their 3D and other products. Discrete has more and autodesk owns discrete. I don't pretend to know that the 3ds file format is patented.
I doubt that a plain (descriptive) data format can be patented. It would be something else if you need some special algorithm to code the file data (GIF was some candidate for that). Also: I'm not sure how law in the US is but I doubt that a company could sue a non-commercial group to pay license fees. They would try to force the group not to distribute their software any more - and when something like that happened in the past then those people followed that because being sued is quite expensive - not because they have to.
Even if you create .3ds in an commercial environment but have not written the code to do so, you wouldn't have to pay anything.
If I find the patent, I'll post it's link here. Unlike Letterrip, I'm reasonably certain that they own their own copyrights.
As I already said: Copyright doesn't apply on this. If you create a .3ds then *you* own the copyright on it - not Discrete! Discrete only holds the copyright on *their* code to write .3ds - they do not hold the copyrights of the code of some other exporter (unless that exporter uses stolen code - that surely would be illegal) or the file itself!
Because they may not have asserted their rights (patent, copyright, trade secrets and trademark) doesn't mean that the blender group or an agent of this group can claim these rights as their own because they reverse engineered the software.
:o
You don't have to reverse engineer the software to find out how the data is stored in a file - and even though: If the software has been reverse engineered to find out how it works and then write your own exporter then you still hold the copyright on it and not some other company. Also nobody claims rights of some other company. Seems more that you are trying to claim the copyright on the exporters for Discreet or whatever. And they don't have any rights on them as it seems...

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:55 pm
by LetterRip
ascotan,
From what I've seen .3ds is a proprietary format (i.e. read 'copyrighted') from autodesk/discreet.
Arrrgghhhhhh....

proprietary means in this case that it is specific to a particular software and has not been standardized, has nothing to do with copyright.
Can autodesk try to enforce it's copyright - sure.
Autodesk has no copyright that they could enforce on usage of a file format even if they so desired.
However, in the case of open-source software I don't know this doesn't fall under 'fair use' - but who knows? Copyright law is complex enough that people spend their entire careers devoted to wading through it.
It can't fall under fair use, because the format is not copyrightable in the first place.

3D-Can,
Because they may not have asserted their rights (patent, copyright, trade secrets and trademark) doesn't mean that the blender group or an agent of this group can claim these rights as their own because they reverse engineered the software.
Trademark infringement is the only thing that might even vaguely be applicable, and it is highly doubtful. You keeping using legalistic terms, but don't seem to understand what their actual correct usage or scope is.

LetterRip

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:02 pm
by LetterRip
lukep,
And btw, as the first release of the unnoficial specification dates from 1994 and was not sued before, the coryright holders have loose a lot of grounds to defend them, as you need to fight any infringement you are aware of.
I'm pretty sure that it is only trademark law that requires dilligent enforcement. Copyright and patents you can be as selective in enforcement as you like. For instance it is pretty common for copyright holders of books to ignore fan fiction, even though the fan fiction is generally a derivative work.

LetterRip

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:05 pm
by LetterRip
A quick note - I am generally refering to US copyright and patent law, which, while it bears a strong resemblence to laws in other countries, will likely differ in particulars. So in theory lukep could be correct that his country might require dilligence in respect to copyright infringment (although I suspect he is confusing copyright and trademark laws), although it would not be correct for the US.

LetterRip

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:10 pm
by kAinStein
LetterRip wrote:A quick note - I am generally refering to US copyright and patent law, which, while it bears a strong resemblence to laws in other countries, will likely differ in particulars. So in theory lukep could be correct that his country might require dilligence in respect to copyright infringment (although I suspect he is confusing copyright and trademark laws), although it would not be correct for the US.
Not in Germany. You can't lose copyright or even give it to some other. But you can lose a trademark if you don't watch for infringements.

More

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:22 pm
by 3D-Can
I know copyrights are generally automatic but there are restrictions. The work must be complete. How many software titles are shipped with their users as the testing force? WIP's are not copywritable although granted the previous example is a stretch, I can see it as a possible weakness to an otherwise solid right.

The point I was making on the registrations is how ridiculously cheap it is and how powerful a protection it gives the author. If it isn't registered within a reasonable time, when litigation time comes the plaintive (owner) can't sue for attornies fees. That's a big deal for a 30$ one time fee.

That's why in this country nothing ships without the (C) registered.

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:30 pm
by LetterRip
The work must be complete.
Could you point out where that exception is, that is news to me, and seems a highly questionable.

LetterRip

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:38 pm
by kAinStein
LetterRip wrote: Could you point out where that exception is, that is news to me, and seems a highly questionable.
Yep. When you create something you own all rights on it - if it is complete or not.

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:51 pm
by lukep
LetterRip wrote:lukep,
And btw, as the first release of the unnoficial specification dates from 1994 and was not sued before, the coryright holders have loose a lot of grounds to defend them, as you need to fight any infringement you are aware of.
I'm pretty sure that it is only trademark law that requires dilligent enforcement. Copyright and patents you can be as selective in enforcement as you like. For instance it is pretty common for copyright holders of books to ignore fan fiction, even though the fan fiction is generally a derivative work.

LetterRip
patents too. you cannot be selective about patents in europa if you are aware of infringment. you can in US right.

And copyrights per se exist only in the anglo-saxon world. other like Germany or France have author right that are not transferable and cannot be aplied in such case

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:23 am
by kAinStein
lukep wrote: patents too. you cannot be selective about patents in europa if you are aware of infringment. you can in US right.
Not in Germany. Main point: You don't have to do anything. You don't have to persue infringements, you don't have to sell licenses, you don't have to produce the patented thing itself. But: In you own interest you should persue infringements because you can lose your patent if things get too common in use (same if you produce the thing yourself). It's all a bit weird.
And copyrights per se exist only in the anglo-saxon world. other like Germany or France have author right that are not transferable and cannot be aplied in such case
The differences between copyright and the german/french author right are quite marginal. Main difference is that the author holds the copyright and can give away the right for the commercial exploration to some one else. Referring to anglo-saxon copyright an author has to give away the copyright if some one else wants to make the commercial exploration and the author remains with a restricted veto.

There are some more small differences but both are about the same.

I may be wrong but I think that in the international copyright treaty from Bern in 1989 a work is copyrighted from the day of its creation without the need of an explicit registration. The (c) remark is optional.

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:48 pm
by 3D-Can
LetterRip wrote:
The work must be complete.
Could you point out where that exception is, that is news to me, and seems a highly questionable.

LetterRip
It has more to do with the date setting of the copyright more than the completeness. Incomplete works are copywritten at the date of the last input. But an author can not claim copyright for instance on an ealier manuscript that later was completed and copywritten at a later date when it was finished. Because only one date can be used for the registration.

Otherwise it gets ridiculous if one assumes the automatic nature of copyrights ... Do you get a new one for every letter that's typed? What if the project took twenty years does the copyright begin when it started or ended.

It's set when it's complete (or last worked on).

I think it's in the constitution or one of the amendments but I don't know the exact place.

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2005 6:47 am
by LetterRip
But an author can not claim copyright for instance on an ealier manuscript that later was completed and copywritten at a later date when it was finished. Because only one date can be used for the registration.
You mean this?
Space 3: Creation and Publication

Date of Creation: Give the year in which the author completed this group of updates or revisions.

Creation: Under the statute, a work is “created” when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. Where a work has been prepared over a period of time, the part of the work existing in fixed form on a particular date constitutes the created work on that date. The date given here should be the year in which the author completed the particular version for which registration is now being sought, even if other versions exist or if further changes or additions are planned.

Date of Publication: Give the date (month, day, year) and nation of publication only if the updates or revisions have been published. The date given should be the last date on which you published updates or revisions during the time period specified at space 1.
You have appeared to confuse copyright registration with copyright. A copyright cannot be registered until the item exists in 'fixed form' however, the copyright exists upon creation. Thus you could have a copyright violation on an unfinished work.

LetterRip