In Part 1 of this article, Brandon examined the fundamental issues behind Acacia’s patent claims, and how they affect our industry. But is there nothing at all that adult Webmasters can do to fight Acacia’s patent claims? Or should we all just pull out our checkbooks? Read on…
The companies that have been served with legal papers by Acacia are mounting up their defense, and an organization called The Internet Media Protective Association ( http://www.impai.org ) has been formed to aid in this endeavor. But how will they be able to prevail?
The principal way to successfully defeat a patent claim is to find "prior art." "Prior Art" in laymen’s terms means evidence that a patented idea had already been publicized or used prior to the date that the patent was filed.
If I filed a patent claim that said I invented toilet paper, and the date of my filing was Aug. 18, 2003, then assuming the Patent Office had never seen or used toilet paper, and granted me the patent, someone who wanted to dispute my claim would have to prove that toilet paper existed before 2003. To do this, they would need to show some kind of evidence. This documentation of evidence is called "prior art," and it would be used to prove that a patent was not based on an original idea, and therefore the patent would be revoked.
Acacia's patents are specific, detailing how digitized audio and video can be electronically transferred from one location to another for viewing, rather than relying on having the physical video tape to view. The big guys like Microsoft, Real, Tivo, and the cable companies, etc. are all targets for this patent. The big guys should be supporting adult webmasters now, but they are going to sit back and let our industry be the soldiers that go into battle first.
We need to "Save Ryan's Privates" by defeating these claims/lawsuits. Mainstream won't send a fruit basket if we are able to stop them, so it's pretty much a thankless job. But I for one am taking up the cause, and being a Private Dick, in trying to find whatever investigative leads that I can find.
One way to refute the patent, is to find the prior art from back in the BBS days. Bulletin Board Services were like web servers, but before web servers were around. Computer users would connect via modem to the BBS to read and post to message boards, play online games, and to download and share files.
All new technology surfaces first in the adult industry, and digitized audio and video made their first appearances on adult BBS in the form of .GL files. George Phillips created the GRASP player well before 1991 that allowed for the playback of moving pictures. His technology was utilized by adult content producers to make digitized clips that were very novel at the time, since previously, porn was found online only as image files (ie. GIF).
In digging back to the BBS days, we need to find some .GL files that were dated pre-1991. Finding a .GL file that was a digitized movie could prove the Acacia patent to be invalid. The .GL file would represent digitized Audio or Video content, that was compressed, that was stored on a BBS, with transmission via phone lines, with playback on a PC. Prior art!
Finding a .GL file is not enough. There needs to be documentation within the clip of a copyright notice prior to 1991 as well as finding the company that produced the file to provide documentation that the file was legitimate.
An independent source of information on the Acacia Patent and other patent issues can be found at FightThisPatent.com. Get informed, Get Mad, Get Active, Fight The Patent!
Brandon has taken up Internet Activism by starting the FightThisPatent.com website to provide awareness and information concerning patent issues that affect webmasters. He also volunteers his time and talents to ASACP.org, an organization focused on removing Child Pornography Websites from the Internet.