E-Data Goes After Digital Image Companies

from the sigh dept

E-Data, one of the companies famous for wielding their somewhat obvious patent against just about anyone they can find has now sued Getty Images and Corbis for supposedly violating their patent on by “electronically transferring stock photos and images to customers at a remote location, where the material was purchased and reproduced.” E-Data has a patent on downloading data onto a physical object. It’s still a bit unclear why this is patentable, but so far they’ve been successful in getting companies offering music download services to pay up. How could the idea of downloading to a physical object be patentable and how in the world can anyone claim that this is promoting innovation rather than hindering it by making it more expensive?

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Comments on “E-Data Goes After Digital Image Companies”

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Joan L. Brewer (user link) says:

patents on download technology

Under patent law, to inforce a patent, you must sue everyone who violates the patent. Xerox attempted to patent the concept of photocopying and found this out after wasting a lot of money. Book publishers sued them first claiming copyright. This was really humiliating for Xerox. The actual cost of copying a whole book with 300 pages at 10 cence a page and you have two sides to the pages, was about $50-60 depending on how many pages. But what is even funnier is that Hollywood had settled the whole issue with movies first. And before them it was photographers and painters. As a result, we can use as much as 25% of anyone elses intellectual property in our own without worrying about lawsuits. Since we have lost data in any compressed file, this gets even more interesting. You can patent a device design but you can’t patent an idea like flying or commnuicating over an electric line.

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