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back to article Amazon sued by cable TV giant over Kindle ebooks

Life-science-obsessed cable TV giant Discovery Communications has sued Amazon.com over its Kindle ebook devices, claiming patent infringement. Discovery filed suit today in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, alleging infringement of a patent filed by the company in September of 1999. Describing an "Electronic …

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Absurd

"They don't have the right to read a book out loud," [...]

Run that one by me again? I understand everyone wants their money, but this is absurd. How long has text-to-speech been used on computers? What about those who can't see, and would still like to "read" the book in some way? Hearing it is the easiest method - but will we soon be hearing him say "They don't have the right to translate the book to braille" when the Kindle 3 Deaf Edition can do it on the fly?

Copyright holders make me sick. I don't contest that it is their right to demand payment for a new form of their media, but that they have the right doesn't make it right. Doesn't "fair use" cover this instance in some way?

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Discovery to take on Apple next?

Unless I'm mistaken, the iTunes store securely supplies, and bills, for the distribution of text (track data) and graphics (album art) for subsequent storage on an iPod.

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Silver badge

Amazingly Bad

"...Describing an "Electronic Book Security and Copyright Protection System," the patent was awarded in 2007,..."

OK, so it seems that Discovery patented some kind of DRM using newly developed encryption and some kind of new and clever key delivery and storage mechanism tied to a verified payment record. Great good for them. Let's have a look at the details......

"provides for secure distribution of electronic text and graphics to subscribers and secure storage."

"The home subsystem connects to a secure video distribution system or variety of alternative secure distribution systems, generates menus and stores text, and transacts through communicating mechanisms,"

""A portable book-shaped viewer is used for secure viewing of the text."

WTF?? They've patented remote sale and delivery of encryption secured digital data! They've patented reading data on an e-book!

How on earth can this be awarded in the first place? How much original research and development did they perform on ANY of the technical developments described in this entire process? - None I'd say. This stupid and surreal situation will continue to arise and hold back application development as long as the existing patent awarding mechanisms are in place. The system is long overdue for a re-think.

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nitpickery

"They don't have the right to read a book out loud,"

What next? Are they going to start requiring royalties from parents reading out childrens books for their kids?

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My Patent

A secure and / or insecure means of delivering something to something else that resembles something that has been around for sometime and then charging or not charging for it.

There, that should be detailed enough for a US patent.

Pay up!

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Black Helicopters

US Patent Office

is the place where patent trolls are born.

This patent was not based on any physical device or object invented by the claimants. It was only an idea which they did nothing with. Now someone has actually invented / developed a physical device and system for using it, the patent holders are trying to get unearned and undeserved monies.

The US patent system is beyond broken, it is a government sponsored fraud & theft system.

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Anonymous Coward

Title? Its over there by the watercooler

"What next? Are they going to start requiring royalties from parents reading out childrens books for their kids?"

Actually I just got the patent for that

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Stop

This has got to stop

Whichever cretinous idiot awarded this patent needs to be taken out and shot. Patents like this should never be allowed to see the light of day.

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I wonder...

If I submitted a patent for "Rapid removal and insertion of a penis into a vagina until ejaculation occurs, thus allowing the male sperm to move into the uterus and fertilize the female egg," would it get rejected?

If it didn't, could I sue everyone who's ever had a child for infringement?

I mean, what the hell. The idea of a patent is to protect the rights of an invention's creator - fine. How does vaguely-worded descriptions of a POSSIBLE invention that doesn't exist yet except in some squatter's demented fantasy serve that purpose?

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Boffin

Shows how screwed up the patent office is

That they are still awarding patents for obvious uses of existing technology.

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Coat

This sort of thing...

...just makes me sick to the core. Mine is the one that is empty ... totally devoid of any inspiration or desire to invent or progress myself or society; because some twat with a wide patent wants to crush society and make it bleed money in to their pockets.

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Go

depressing

"blah blah blah a portable book-shaped viewer...blah blah".

This silly patent was awarded in 2007 ? this is a joke right ? (sadly it isnt) Are American Zoos raising some extra capital by getting their primates to work for the patent office - it does rather seem that way.

Also, the Kindle - is it book-shaped ? its both thinner and bigger than your average book (which would be a paperback). You can argue that books come in all shapes and sizes - especially childrens books - sometimes they are triangular, circular etc... which leaves you with the realisation that they have patented "any shape" and got away with it.

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Gold badge

This is sooo last year

A year or two ago, the US economy was sufficiently bouyant that this nonsense could perhaps be shrugged off. I don't think that's true now. If America wants to come out of this recession, it has to sort out its patent system. Otherwise, I'm afraid, the future belongs to countries where you can create something without being bled dry by legal parasites.

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Ru

I'd have a lot more sympathy...

...if Amazon hadn't done their fair share of patent trolling in the past.

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"They don't have the right to read a book out loud,"

Please arrange for a refund on my copy of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", as it was obviously sold to me under false pretenses: "A wonderful bedtime book to read to your children".

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Re: Absurd

"'They don't have the right to read a book out loud,' [...]

Run that one by me again?"

I understand that that's the patent law as it currently stands, folks. Printed copyright it not bundled with audio copyright. Another case of the law not keeping up with technology.

However, I'm not a patent lawyer (or lawyer of any kind, so I can sleep the sleep of the innocent) so will defer to the experts.

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@Ru

Quite agree - Amazon have had this coming for a long time.

This sounds like a good fight to have - either Amazon win, and another silly patent gets cleared out of the way, or they lose, and have to pay Obama to change the patent system.

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Coat

clearing up a confusion

Just to clarify, the guy from the Author's Guild is referring to the fact that book contracts subdivide textual rights, audio rights and electronic rights in various territories. This is obviously now a grey area in an age of digital files, and belongs to the era of audiobooks on cassette. These are copyright issues not patent issues, though, and not to be confused with the trolling at hand here. So you're fine to read a book to your kids, just don't record it and try to sell it.

Coat because you probably all knew this.

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Thanks, Paul

Stupid mistake on my part. I knew we were talking about copyright and not patent and miswrote.

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Coat

Prior art.

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" describes an identical system. The Guide is electronic, subscribers are automatically updated, and it's presumably secure and chargeable (at least after the vogons got their sweaty hands on it).

Mine's the dressing gown, with the bath towel stashed down one sleeve.

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Pirate

Re: I'd have a lot more sympathy...

Ru wrote: "I'd have a lot more sympathy if Amazon hadn't done their fair share of patent trolling in the past."

I agree, about the lack of sympathy thing. As far as I'm concerned, companies who sues Amazon are doing their part to help ensure that karma is carried out ;) For instance, Amazon made a substantial number of enemies for itself, with its absurd no-read-aloud thing. If Amazon gets their pants sued off, even on totally unrelated matters, so much the better. That's what they get for being greedy and stupid.

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