Shazam Chases Dutch Developer

July 9th, 2010 by Arjan Olsder Posted in Analysis & Editorial | No Comments »

Landmark Digital Services, owner of the patents of the music recognition service, is chasing a Dutch developer who wanted to publish an open source version of Shazam for Java based mobile phones.

Landmark Digital Services LLC, has e-mailed the developer not to publish the source of the application he was developing based on two patents of which one is also filed in Europe. Though there is a loophole in the EU law that says that private persons can’t be fined over patent infringement, the developer gave in directly. Landmark also asked the developer to remove a blog post that holds snippets of the code. The developer denies to remove it as the code is far from complete (though it does hold some important elements).

They are still unable to direct me to the correct Dutch patent numbers. But more shocking, they are now telling me that my blogpost may contribute internationally to patent infringement. But… doesn’t the patent itself describe their algorithm in much more detail? The idea of patents are that the world knows about technology and how it can be used, but they can’t legally commercially exploit it? Now next to asking me not to release the code, they are also asking me to remove the previous blogpost!

This seems like a very unjust threat to me, and for now I’m going to ignore that request. If they decide to file a formal legal complaint I might reconsider taking down the blogpost. The only action I’ll take right now is not releasing the source code.

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    Arjan Olsder is the Vice President of Pixalon Studios. Opinions expressed on this publication do not have to represent those of Pixalon Studios.


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