Doom 3 Code May Contain Patented Algorithm

In anticipation of the GPL release of Doom 3 code, hopefully soon, I sent a note to John Carmack asking if the Creative Labs patent would still be an issue:

I believe you've said publicly that you are planning a GPL release of the Doom 3 source code, but I remember around the time the game was launched you had Creative holding a patent on the shadows algorithm, and you assuaged them by including support for EAX. Is that still causing problems?

His response:

When we release the code (no date set), anyone that uses it would potentially be infringing. There are workarounds at a modest performance cost.

I think this means that id would have to use GPLv2 rather than v3, but I haven't really read deeply about the new patent clauses in GPLv3.

Share this post


Link to post

The "unified shadowing system" was one of if not THE major selling point of Doom 3 (idtech4). Let's hope a satisfactory solution is brought about.

Share this post


Link to post
Mancubus II said:

The "unified shadowing system" was one of if not THE major selling point of Doom 3 (idtech4). Let's hope a satisfactory solution is brought about.


well, we can hope for one of the following:

a) creative ignores people hanging out in their basement hacking the doom 3 code. i have NO idea how likely this is. i haven't heard of creative sending "cease and desist"s to tenenbaum or darkplaces, both of which have d3-style shadows.

b) one of the workarounds that carmack alluded to are easy to implement and a drop-in replacement that can be set with compiler defines so if creative DOES throw their weight around, it will be a matter of flipping a switch to comply with their demands.

Share this post


Link to post

This is interesting, but Carmack seem confident in his answer so I don't think there'll be any serious issues concerning it.

BTW. ZOMG Chocolate... I mean Mewse.

Share this post


Link to post
kristus said:

BTW. ZOMG Chocolate... I mean Mewse.


hello :)

Share this post


Link to post
exp(x) said:

Patented algorithm...

It was a big fuss back before Doom 3 was released. Creative basically used it to blackmailed Id into putting EAX support into Doom3.

Share this post


Link to post

Shitty software patents at its best...
I cant eat the amount i want to vommit :(

Share this post


Link to post
exp(x) said:

Patented algorithm...


Yeah, I'm sure the concept of a patented algorithm is about as absurd to you as it is to me. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Quasar said:

Software patents need to die.

It's more realistic to try to get the term reduced to a reasonable length for the IT industry, say 7 years instead of 20.

Share this post


Link to post
Ajapted said:

It's more realistic to try to get the term reduced to a reasonable length for the IT industry

15 minutes?

Share this post


Link to post
Quasar said:

Software patent abuse need to die.



fixed.



It's not software patents as such that are the problem but how they are used. Like with anything else an inventor should have the right to profit from his invention - but it is obvious that this is not how software patents are used today. As long as any trivial shit can be patented these problems won't go away - no matter how long the expiration time is.

Share this post


Link to post

@Graf:
I hate patents in a whole...
Has to do with myself being a technocrat and such... Technology is for everyone, not just the ones with the thick wallet. ;)

@DJ_Haruko:
Made my day!

Share this post


Link to post

Why on earth does Creative have a patent about shadows? Aren't they a sound card company?

Seems like patent trolling, unless I'm missing something here...

Share this post


Link to post
Planky said:

Seems like patent trolling, unless I'm missing something here...



That's precisely what it is. The problem is not the concept of patents but its abuse.

Bastet Furry said:

@Graf:
I hate patents in a whole...
Has to do with myself being a technocrat and such... Technology is for everyone, not just the ones with the thick wallet. ;)




... and what about the rights of the people who spend money to invent stuff and do research? If they couldn't profit from their work you can be sure that progress will slow down considerably.

Patents as a concept are fine - as long as they are properly used. But that's something where the US has failed completely. The patent office is a joke and all this causes abuse of patents - or patents on things that shouldn't be patentable in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post

It can be argued, though, that such patents prevent independent inventors who have actually found a way to profit from their inventions from doing so.

I think patents look nice in legal theory but do not work well at all in practice, at least for software. The obviousness of an idea is simply very hard to determine, even for professionals working in the field (witness the tons of uninteresting papers in reputable journals), let alone ordinary patent examiners. We usually end up with patents either so narrow as to permit easy workarounds, or those so broad that they are hurting independent inventors unfairly.

Share this post


Link to post

Patenting an algorithm is like patenting the answer to a math problem: the result of the application of any number of public domain theorems in a given sequence.

IMO there is nothing patentable about an algorithm.

Copyright already gives software companies what they need to make money off the programs they write. Software patents are about making money off the programs that OTHER people write, in order to maintain monopolies and control of 3rd parties.

Share this post


Link to post
r6144 said:

I think patents look nice in legal theory but do not work well at all in practice, at least for software.



Indeed. Especially when as in the US it doesn't matter if you are right but only if you have more money to pay the legal fees. Such a system makes patent abuse very easy. All you need is bury your opponent in legal paperwork until they have to fold.

In other countries the losing side often has to pay for all costs of the winning side in a legal process. Such a system significantly reduces the motivation to abuse the legal system to put your opponent out of business.

I stand by my opinion: If you put a lot of research into something you should have the right to profit from it. But if the legal system that should help back up such claims is as broken as the American one, yes, better get rid of patents altogether.

Share this post


Link to post

Quasar said:
Patenting an algorithm is like patenting the answer to a math problem: the result of the application of any number of public domain theorems in a given sequence.

IMO there is nothing patentable about an algorithm.

You could say that of most patents, since they are usually the result of any number of publicly available mechanisms, or their derivatives, in a certain arrangement.

Text, after all, is the arrangement of words in a given order, which are themselves publicly usable in any context.

Copyrights and patents are arbitrary. The question is whether they're practical, reasonable and fair in a given legal and social field.

Share this post


Link to post

Now you're just spitting random nonsense. Because someone made a game with space marines, demons and hell. Doesn't exclude anyone else to use the same formula. It just exclude people from taking the very work that someone else did and do with as they please.

That's a gargantuan difference.

Share this post


Link to post

Did I miss a now-deleted post where someone had stated that a generic "DOOM" concept had been patented?

I hope so, kristus, else your reading comprehension has failed rather miserably :p

Share this post


Link to post
Quasar said:

Copyright already gives software companies what they need to make money off the programs they write. Software patents are about making money off the programs that OTHER people write, in order to maintain monopolies and control of 3rd parties.


QFT

It's one of the reasons Europe still doesn't allow software patents, even though major corps (cough - MS - cough) keep trying to ram them down their throats every year. Europe is a lot more stringent on abusive monopolies than the US... for the moment.

Share this post


Link to post
kristus said:

This is interesting, but Carmack seem confident in his answer so I don't think there'll be any serious issues concerning it.

BTW. ZOMG Chocolate... I mean Mewse.


My thought exactly, amewsing.

Share this post


Link to post

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