• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
irreversible

Google's OPN Pledge

9 posts in this topic

Clickmenow.

 

For the tl:dr crowd:

 

The Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge essentially states that Google is willing to share their patents free of charge and without fear of legal action unless someone steps on their toes first.

 

The big caveat here is that Google is pledging not to sue anyone who uses its MapReduce patents for Free or Open Source Software. Google is defining Free or Open Source software as any software that meets the Open Source Initiative's "Open Source Definition," as well as any version of the Free Software Foundation's "Free Software Definition." Still, Google iterates that the OPN Pledge isn't limited to a specific project or open-source copyright — as long as the project meets the FSF or OSI's definition for Free Software or Open Source Software, it's protected by the OPN Pledge.

 

 

In short, while commercial applications cannot capitalize on this (at least not directly), with this pledge Google at least makes a conscious effort to be partial to developers on all platforms. While I can't truly appreciate this personally as I'm not part of the open source crowd, it seems to me that this is as big a bone a corporation can throw independent developers without shooting themselves in the foot.

 

Unless the pledge is bogus (oh, those repercussions should be fun to watch), I should say this could affect (if not shape) the demeanor of patent holders in general (anyone recall the luls around MP3 over the past two decades?), which might spread out the cloud of mindless paranoia that currently hovers over the software (and hardware)* landscape.

 

* I'm looking at you, Apple

 

Then again, I'm no patent expert and have never needed to deal with any directly. What are your thoughts?

Edited by irreversible
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me this was a non-announcement.  It is business as usual.

 

It is not groups like Apple or Google or Amazon or Microsoft that the little guys need to worry about.

 

Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs) are the ones you need to worry about.  They are generally the patent trolls. They get the patent and rather than using it to build something, they use the patent to sue people.

 

When the big companies get the patents they usually use the patents defensively, which is what they described in their non-binding pledge.  That's exactly what you wrote by "step on their toes first".

 

 

 

 

Of course, defensive is in the eye of the beholder.  When a company holds thousands or even hundreds of thousands of patents, if the company doesn't like you they probably have something in their patent portfolio they can accuse you of violating.  

 

It is much the same with law enforcement: they'll generally ignore you if you don't "step on their toes first".  But the moment you offend a cop or the AG's office, they have a massive portfolio of laws they can accuse you of violating.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The best defense is a good offense.

Google basically is saying, "The people without money we won't sue, but the people with money we reserve the right to sue, and in the meantime, you guys can help us refine our algorithms to be more efficient for us or create new ways for us to use our algorithms."

This doesn't mean much. They don't sue people that have zero money anyway, and suing open source developers is bad PR anyway, what with Google using tons of opensource software themselves (Ubuntu, Python, etc...).

For a second, I thought you were saying that Google promises to not sue anyone, commercial or not, with their patents, and to only use them defensively when Google is themselves being used.

Nope, you just mean, that Google reserves the right to use their patents 'defensively' to squash commercial competition and small businesses, just because Google got to the top of the hill first.

So I can't invent a clever and original use for MapReduce, or any other Google patent (when obvious or not), and use it in a indie videogame (or a AAA game) without running the risk of getting sued. Even if I independently invented MapReducing, unaware that the algorithm already existed.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I can't invent a clever and original use for MapReduce, or any other Google patent (when obvious or not), and use it in a indie videogame (or a AAA game) without running the risk of getting sued. Even if I independently invented MapReducing, unaware that the algorithm already existed.

 

You could potentially make an open-source library that implements MapReduce and then link to that library from  your game.

 

EDIT: Just to be clear, I kind of doubt that Google will actually allow you to do this, but it's not totally obvious to me.

Edited by cowsarenotevil
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could potentially make an open-source library that implements MapReduce and then link to that library from  your game.
 
EDIT: Just to be clear, I kind of doubt that Google will actually allow you to do this, but it's not totally obvious to me.

 

 

MIT is open source! tongue.png

 

That'd be an interesting legal scenario. They give permission to a project that is LGPL licensed which is then used by Microsoft. laugh.png

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm more curious about some upstart taking a Google patent (if you read the article, MapReduce is far from being the only one they've pledged or plan to pledge not to take legal action over) and creating a directly competing open source product.

 

The MP3 example I brought was quite intentional: the suing and threatening aura that surrounded the format became almost hilarious over the years, but the bottom line was still that MP3 was a closed format. Period. Imagine someone writing a Foobar2000 (which is not only arguably the slickest music player out there, but also open source) and essentially blowing up the whole licensing scheme. Back in the day they would've been sued, forced to become proprietary (and purchase the right to use the format) or shut down, no questions asked (see what happened to WinAMP). Conversely, something like this wouldn't even have made the news.

 

So I don't quite agree that this is a non-announcement.

 

What I do think will be much more likely is that since they're not pledging on all of their patents, the ones they will pledge not to take legal action over, will either be lesser/more useless patents or ones that can't hurt them (but/or have a greater chance of hurting their competition more at then end of the day).

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Google basically is saying, "The people without money we won't sue, but the people with money we reserve the right to sue, and in the meantime, you guys can help us refine our algorithms to be more efficient for us or create new ways for us to use our algorithms."


You're so cynical, SotL....

...And so right. rolleyes.gif
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In short, while commercial applications cannot capitalize on this (at least not directly)

I know what you mean, but the pedantic point about Open Source allowing commercial usage is important here, because there's a very clear example of this: if Apple were the ones who had made a pledge, then it would be saying that they wouldn't be suing over any software patents in Android.

Unless the pledge is bogus (oh, those repercussions should be fun to watch),

Yes, it's a shame that this isn't something stronger than a pledge - it would be nice to have a licence allowing use. But I suppose it may be harder to word it so that they reserve the right to sue, if Google are sued first (unfortunately the nature of patents seems to be that companies are forced to patent as much as possible, as it's the only way to defend against other companies suing them). Also I guess dealing with software patents is often a matter of risk rather than a black and white issue (I doubt everyone who's ever wrote a software algorithm using Carmack's Reverse got the permission for the patent first, so a pledge is still better).

It is not groups like Apple or Google or Amazon or Microsoft that the little guys need to worry about.

Even though the little guy (or at least, Open Source groups - I don't know how it works for small businesses) may have less to worry about, I still dislike the results of software patents even when it's only large companies like Samsung being sued. It's still people affected if products we want to buy are banned/delayed, or features are removed, or the point that money we gave to Samsung gets given to Apple.

When the big companies get the patents they usually use the patents defensively

Usually, not always. Perhaps for Google it is just describing a prior practice, true, so in that sense nothing has changed, but I think it's still a step forward to officially pledge this - raising awareness of this idea, and perhaps encouraging other companies to do the same. True, Apple would never do this, so again it can't change anything directly, but does help to raise awareness, as well as giving Open Source more confidence over the use of software patents.

I do however agree that this is non-news if it only contains a few patents.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0