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Looping patents (was Looperlative too Expensive)
> Allow me to correct a possible misperception here about intellectual
> property (IP) law. Patents protect ideas, copyright protects the
> expression of those ideas.
Technically, a patent does not protect an idea, it protects a particular
manifestation of the idea or the "process" by which you manifest an
You cannot patent the concept of "a box of some sort with a spring
door that slams shut to catch mice". But you can patent a specific
for such a device, something you could draw a picture of.
Originally patents were applied only to things that were manufactured.
Things that were easy to duplicate like text and music could not be
patented, but could be copyrighted. Then around 15 years ago, one
of the worst things to ever happen to the computer industry was
excreted by the US government: software patents.
On the surface, software patents seem reasonable to most people. The
problem is that they have been grossly abused and mutated into "idea
patents". You can now patent vaguely specified concepts
with broad scope without ever actually doing anything. The patent
office is being spray hosed with millions of totally meaningless patent
applications and they do not understand what they are approving.
a patent is valid or not doesn't matter, because if you are sued for
violating a patent, you need hundreds of thousands of dollars to mount
a defense. Ironically, the only entities that can afford patent
are the big businesses, the individual "inventors" that patents are
supposed to protect usually get screwed.
> Interestingly, while many basic ideas about looping are not patented,
> multi-track looping and some methods for implementing and controlling
> multi-track loopers are patented.
Interesting, it doesn't surprise me. Just about anything you can do
on a computer is patented by someone. Do you know who holds this
or what the number is?
I'm curious about what in the concept of "multi-track looping" is
and how this differs from "multi-track recording" or "multi-track
Les Paul was probably doing multi-track looping 40 years ago, maybe they
should sue him. If I load several instances of a PSP42 emulator in
am I violating a patent? If I duct-tape two DL4's together am I
looping? Wait, I could probably patent that.
> I'm curious to know how some of these multi-track looper products
> (both hardware and software) and their respective developers are
> dealing with those patents.
Speaking only for myself I'm ignoring them, just like I ignore the 50
million other patents that in some way cover the things I and every
other software developer write every day.
In the unlikely event that someone has nothing better to do than
harass free software developers with patents, I would first do
whatever I could to make sure the looping community knew just how
large an asshole this person or corporation is.
Then I would remove the feature from the core product and instruct
all my users how to accomplish the same thing using scripts. I can't
be held liable for what people choose to do with scripts any more than
Microsoft can be held liable for what people do with C++.