A patent troll, Red Pine Point LLC, is suing Apple, Amazon and Mark Cuban's Magnolia Pictures for distributing movies over cellular networks to mobile phones (but only under certain circumstances).
How can that be?
Where have you been?
From Cuban's blog post last night:
Follow the logic here. If Magnolia, which distributes movies and pioneered the release of movies before they are in theaters, something we called UltraVOD and have done since 2004 , decides to make movies available for download via cellular to mobile devices, we have not violated the patent. IT IS ONLY WHEN WE DECIDE TO SHOW THAT MOVIE IN A THEATER that we have violated the Patent. Huh?
Here is what makes it even crazier. You have to own the rights to the movie before you can decide its distribution strategy. In the movie business, it's difficult to sell a movie before its theatrical release simply because none of the big theater chains will release a movie that has already been released on other platforms, whether cellular, download, VOD, whatever. There are some independent theaters that will. Magnolia is able to do it because we also own the Landmark Theater Chain and we can work with the independents to expand the theatrical distribution.
When you look at the VOD or PPV or on Amazon or ITunes and see "Before it's in theaters" movies for sale or rent or PPV, that is a category that we created and grew to where it is today.
This patent is not protecting a business the Troll came up with. It's not protecting an invention they created. They were not operating in this business in any way shape or form that i can find. They simply took the obvious idea that if movies can be downloaded and released via the internet, the same thing will happen via cellular data. And they probably noticed what we were doing back in 2004 and decided to try to patent it. Well they got the patent. Amazingl
Mark Cuban hates patent trolls so much that he (along with Minecraft creator Markus Persson) has literally put his money ($250,000) where his mouth is by endowing the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents. That esteemed position is held today by EFF senior staff attorney Julie Samuels, who I have asked to comment on this stupid patent even if nitpickers might argue she has a conflict of interest.
If the troll has a story they can tell it somewhere else.
They would seem more like piracy methods than patentable inventions, but I am not a lawyer.
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