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February 15, 2013

RED CEO Jim Jannard Speaks About Their Lawsuit Against Sony Regarding RAW Compression

I mentioned that we might see a response on REDUser from the CEO of RED regarding the recent lawsuit against Sony, and that's exactly what we got earlier this morning. In the lawsuit, RED is claiming that Sony is infringing on patents related to REDCODE RAW compression, since Sony is also using RAW compression with their F65, F55, and F5 cameras. If you haven't read it yet (and you've got an opinion on the matter), I've embedded the document in the previous post, and I am also embedding the patents that apply below. Click through for those documents as well as the response from Mr. Jannard.

Here are two of the patents that apply in this case. There seems to be a third that doesn't apply to the case in any way and is likely a typo.

Video camera (US patent 8174560):

Video camera (US patent 8358357):

This is the first response from Jim Jannard:

We have taken a bit of flak for filing a lawsuit against Sony Electronics.

#1. Sony stepped up and finally supported 4K from cameras to displays. That is helping to cement 4K as the real cinema standard. Good. We actually have a Sony 4K 84" display and Sony 4K projector at RSH for reference.

But...

#2. We are heavily invested in concepts, inventions, designs, development and manufacturing of RED cameras, REDRAY and the RED Projector. Each is unique and has motivated the industry to get better, for the benefit of all. We don't mind others joining the 4K revolution... quite the contrary, we embrace it. What we don't accept is others just borrowing our technology, intentionally or unintentionally. We admire invention and happily pay for and license great technology from other companies when it is useful to our program.

#3. We have created many jobs in the US leveraging our vision and technology and we will aggressively protect our employees. Every single job matters. It is a magic trick to build a camera in the US, especially at the highest level. This cannot be done if others are allowed to just take what we have done and use our work as their own.

#4. Our customers have invested in our technology. They need to be protected and their investment needs to be protected. We have an obligation to our customers so they will not have their investment diluted by a proliferation of the proprietary technology they invested in.

We don't mean to be heavy handed. We saw 4K as the future standard in 2005. We have endured comments that "RED was a scam". "1080P was good enough." "What does a sunglass guy know about cameras?"... as well as others I would never publish.

Patents are here for a reason. They protect IP. Receiving a patent now means that you have an obligation to protect it... or they have absolutely no value whatsoever.

We are anxious to resolve this and have everyone move along. But in the end... our ideas, employees and customers matter. We will tenaciously protect all of them.

He added more later (I've combined the later responses into one, separated by line breaks):

If ideas are King... what do you do if they are taken? Roll over and pretend that everything is OK? Sorry. I don't do that. Especially when people's jobs are at stake. I fight.
If someone breaks into your house and steals all your possessions... you call the police. When someone takes your ideas, inventions and designs, you call your attorneys. That is life.

This is a REDCODE RAW issue... one that many have acknowledged for years as a core invention of RED and incredibly important to what we all are doing.

REDCODE RAW is not "rounded corners". It is fundamental to recording high resolution images on camera to small media. It is brilliant. And it is no surprise that others have finally figured out (several years later) that the only way to get where they need to go is through this path. Hindsight is spectacularly clear.

So why even bother with this? Well, there are two sides to every story, and I firmly believe in covering both of them. If Sony has a statement (which would not likely be forthcoming about any details or opinions), I will share that as well. I've said a few times that I think the patent system in the United States needs some work, but if someone is granted a patent, it's not up for the people to decide what's right and what's wrong -- it's up to the legal system. This is exactly what happened with the Litepanels case which now requires all infringing manufacturers to license the technology in order to continue making and distributing LED panels for film use in the United States.

What's interesting about this case is that patent issues or licensing could be one of the reasons most companies have not tackled RAW compression in their motion picture cameras. Canon and Arri are both sending out uncompressed RAW to third-party recorders (and avoiding recording internally altogether), and Blackmagic, Digital Bolex, Ikonoskop, and Aaton are all recording uncompressed CinemaDNG internally to SSDs. CinemaDNG is an open format from Adobe, but recently they developed a compressed JPEG option for their stills DNG archive format. We'll see if that finds its way into motion cameras and if that development potentially infringes on any RED patents.

Currently the only other motion RAW format that is similar to RED's REDCODE RAW and is being used in cameras right now is GoPro's CineForm RAW (both are wavelet codecs based on JPEG2000). I had read in the past that CineForm and RED had some sort of agreement, but it's unclear where that stands right now. There are two digital cinema cameras that I know of recording to CineForm RAW: the 2/3" SI-2K camera, and the Kinefinity KineRAW-S35 (which is not yet shipping in the United States).

If anyone else or someone from RED would like to add anything regarding CineForm RAW (or the case in general), feel free to share below in the comments.

What do you guys think?

Link: Patent lawsuit -- REDUser

Your Comment

86 Comments

Other item of note, in regards to JJ's comment, "Receiving a patent now means that you have an obligation to protect it…" If they didn't file a lawsuit, their patent can become invalidated. Regardless of reasoning or final outcome, it allows RED to maintain registered intellectual property protection.

February 15, 2013

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Robert

This is totally incorrect. You are thinking of trademarks. The only way a patent can be invalidated is through an invalidation action with the patent office, or through a trial

February 17, 2013

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Asdf

Good comment Robert. Living in California I generally believe that there are way to many law suits. Perhaps this one is justified.

February 15, 2013

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Allan Crocket

For item #3, perhaps POTUS can make Red a poster child for USA jobs. BO needs to shoot! What can he do after 2016? Let's see what he buys.

February 15, 2013

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panda_4k

Living in Orange County, California, while often owning beachfront property, is really really expensive. All those overpriced proprietary batteries and SSDs help foot the bill. The Oakley Headquarters and its RED children are living pretty well. Just a little perspective as Jannard's RED herring of "job risk" circulates.

February 15, 2013

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He sold Oakley to Luxotica a few years back. I think jj is running only red right now. Remember, Red is a small business. Their overhead with regard to their size is still pretty big. They def should not be relaxed.

February 16, 2013

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I'm not from Red, but I am a customer. I feel like yesterday's article came off as a little partial against Red, so I'm glad to see this. The whole idea of no one winning when filing a lawsuit and it getting settled is absurd. Without knowing the details of the arrangement, no one knows who win, perhaps everyone won, including consumers.

The point is our entire economy is now fundamentally predicated on Intellectual Property Rights. While there is obviously room for abuse and exploitation, a company like RED which has pushed the camera industry forward over the past few years and forced competitors to come out with options like the Alexa and the F65 or be left behind, is valuable to our society and the contract we established with it when they invested millions in this technology and then sold it to the world affordably needs to be respected. You can't ask them to share their technology affordably, and then not allow them to protect their rights to their inventions, so to question on its face the filing of a lawsuit makes no sense to me.

As a Red customer, I appreciate Jim's response, and am glad he is protecting my investment in my camera, and his company. How would it be in my interest at all if other cameras come out which cost half as much, and offer the same feature set because the technology was stolen rather than developed? It hurts his bottom line, and it hurts my bottom line. Redcode was critical to my selection of Red as a technology platform, and I thought it was short-sighted for other companies not to invest in proper codec technologies. I can respect that they would want to protect their work product, and the deserve to benefit from the head start gained from their foresight and research.

I'm not about sustaining artificial barriers to entry, but frankly, there are no longer barriers to entry. There is good enough, affordable enough equipment out there for those who are learning or just starting out to create great material on a camera which costs $350 dollars. But the moment people can access and use technology and software and decide to compete in the professional world, without supporting the true costs of doing business and creating that innovative technology, then the entire cost structure of the industry becomes unsustainable and we will have one last flare of creativity, and then die.

As long as we need to transform these great, creative, abstract tasks we perform into food and other resources governed by scarcity, we need to honor the system of intellectual property we have established (though we might be able to streamline). I hope that readers on this site will be less prejudicial in the future, and allow such lawsuits to run their course and be properly adjudicated before attacking one party for claiming to be victimized when they very well might have been.

February 15, 2013

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MD

Oil paint is cheap and accessible to all. There are no barriers to entry for painting onto stretched canvas. So let's concentrate on who paints the best. If someone's better than you, tough.

February 15, 2013

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+2 to MD's reply

February 15, 2013

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hansd

+1

February 15, 2013

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Puncher

Oy. +1 to MD's reply.

February 15, 2013

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Puncher

-2 to Puncher's revision. :-)

February 15, 2013

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+1 to Puncher's +1.

February 15, 2013

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So basically he's fighting with evil foreign companies to save his employees' jobs. A noble man indeed.

February 15, 2013

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jake johns

What did the on-set red tech say to the troubled AC with a malfunctioning camera?

Lets power cycle it and see what happens.

February 15, 2013

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Woodrow

60% of the so called "bad red on-set cases" is the shitty AC knowing shit about the camera he uses and it's quirks. I bet one would know Alexa inside out, because this is golden horse now. So why do testing with Red, getting familiar with it, noooo let's just press two or three lol so randum xD buttons and see what happens. Oh, and whine afterwards in every pub.

February 15, 2013

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Natt

60%? Really... interesting. If a camera has a lot of "quirks" it should have an on-set tech, like the Phatom. The Phatom is quirky, but do you hear people say that about the Alexa? Not so much. How about the Epic... yea, you do, because it has a bunch of quirks. Have you ever compared the stability of an Arri beta build to a Red beta build, seriously? They're worlds apart. How often does the Alexa evf lock up or freeze so you you can't use it? Not so much, but if you've used the Epic a lot then you'll know the answer to my next question before I ask it... how often does the red lcd freeze or lock up?

February 15, 2013

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Woodrow

He has a point. Many of these camera stories are actually just the fault of the users. Btw Alexas have quirks on set just as often as Epic in my experience, which means both are quite stable.

February 15, 2013

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hansd

You must be really bad with technology. The epic is such an easy camera to use and very stable these days, that or you have shit luck. Or you just repeated what you hear and have no experience with the camera.

February 15, 2013

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carlos

I'm sorry... I was away from my computer for 25+ mins while I was waiting for an Epic to black shade.

February 15, 2013

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Woodrow

Sony F55 cmos sensor calibration "aka black shading" : under 10 seconds. And you do not actully even need to do it.

February 15, 2013

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Juhan-i

When was the last time anyone used a "Red tech"? I thought that job vanished like 4 years ago.

February 16, 2013

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Red occasionally sends their techs on set for big jobs

February 16, 2013

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Jenkins

And so does Panavision, Arri CSC, TCS, Otto Nemenz, Clairmont... This is not rare. They are available to support the production. Sometimes you need them, sometimes you dont. But its often provided as a courtesy by the renting party to lend a hand should something go wrong.

February 16, 2013

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"Quirks"?! How can any professional camera that is acceptable have quirks?

February 15, 2013

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James

"Let's go outside so I can hear you above the noise of the fan."

February 15, 2013

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Daniel

One more...

How many red employees does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

One, but only after talking about screwing it in for three years first.

February 15, 2013

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Woodrow

How many Woodrows does it take to not be funny?

February 15, 2013

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Yuri Deklas

hahaha

February 15, 2013

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hansd

Sony rep pls go.

February 15, 2013

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Natt

Good one, dude!

February 15, 2013

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fabdex

I think that RED are definitely within their right to protect their investment and development costs, just as any other company, what bothers me here is that if all the companies would follow suit, it would really hurt everyone. I can´t help but think how many patents Sony, Canon and Arri must have that RED are infringing upon.

What about those Sonys cams the old Betas and 8mm where you had the recording on a separate body, Sounds familiar RED? What about the fact that you can check your battery level in the viewfinder? The connection of a camera to the quick release plate... etc, etc ad nauseam. Sony among other companies can really go nuclear here and really pause innovation for years to come, that is if they think in the same terms as Mr. Jannard, hopefully they don´t.

February 15, 2013

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Ricardo

Huh? Are you saying Sony had a patent on the viewfinder battery indicator?...etc...

If they had any problems, they should've sued Red (or most other camera manufacturers)... But my guess is that they didn't have a patent on it and because of that, didn't sue anyone.

February 21, 2013

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Daniel Mimura

So, if I'm understanding this, RED is claiming ownership over compressed RAW video? Or am I misunderstanding?

February 15, 2013

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Jake

It's not quite that broad, no.
There's apparently a particular method of RAW video compression that Red used, and it's that method that they're fighting for. If someone were to compress the video in a different way, Red most likely wouldn't have a claim.

February 15, 2013

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Blah

Okay but what about the part where they imply they are going to watch Adobes open Cinema DNG it does seem as if RED is gone to war with every one. Does anyone know if they have any real proof that their method of Raw compression is actually being copied I haven't seen it. And some one told me they were trying to claim the new modular cameras from Sony and others were direct copy but haven't seen any actuall press on that either.

February 21, 2013

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Gary Simmons

I'm not an expert in compression algorithms, but from skimming the patents this looks like "we apply a slight modification of an existing algorithm to our specific problem". If someone more well versed in this would like to comment I'd love to hear their opinion.

In any event we've been through this with JPEG; the patents didn't help advance the state of the art and were primarily a means by which lawyers could extract money from companies for their use of mathematics.

February 15, 2013

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Jannard, waving the patriotic flag, being, once again a dillusional arrogant pass.

February 15, 2013

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fabdex

thx for your sophisticated contribution.

February 15, 2013

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hansd

thx for your sophisticated reply.

February 15, 2013

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dsnah

i sure hope he has an umbrella.

February 16, 2013

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Yuri Deklas

As a full-blooded American I don't see a problem with Jim wanting to protect American jobs. I say bring the pain to Sony and paint 'em blood RED.

February 19, 2013

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Razor

A patent on compressing Raw video? Not exactly an invention, just an idea. In Europe, you cannot patent software.

Looking at Wikipedia, Red have filed quite a few lawsuits -- several were thrown of court. I'd forgotten about this but they even filed a lawsuit against EOSHD.com for libel! It seems as if Jannard's lawyers have some sort of "Jannard's Latest Lawsuit Template" to keep up with demand, because in the case against Wooden Camera, they forgot to change "sunglasses" to "camera".

February 15, 2013

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Daniel

So quickly do people forget that there are preceding patents to this exact claim by si2K's Arri Pressler.
Plus preceding Raw Compressed cameras that apply same algorithm that RED just blatantly stole and pushed a patent through the system with $.
FirstLight by CineForm was talked about long before RedCine.
Many of the concepts in REDCODE are direct from David Newmans head.

February 15, 2013

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Me

Perhaps they legally licensed that technology? If you look at the list of patents on the Redone document you see the list of pre existing technologies cites as part of the redone. Meaning they are properly licensed. Perhaps Sony did not acquire the proper licenses for their raw compression scheme.

We don't really know the details. Speculation and forming an opinion based on such is futile till we know what actually happened. I doubt we ever will.

February 16, 2013

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Money Makes the World Go Round.

February 15, 2013

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dsnah

No it doesn't.

February 16, 2013

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Yuri Deklas

The World loves it's own.

February 19, 2013

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Razor

Him: RED is just being greedy.
Her: So why are you so worried about someone stealing your screenplay idea?

February 15, 2013

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JWD

UGH ! more patent trolling. RED is doing nothing new. Compressing 12bit video instead of 8 or 10 ? just an extension of existing art as technology could evolve to deliver it. However the actual application is a lot more generic than that and probably violates other patents. Note the list of related patents in the header. Expect sony to fight it and invalidate it because if RED wins against sony they will go after every one else and its pure BS.

giving that I was camera shopping this year, I'm not going to consider a Scarlet because I don't support companies that patent troll. so RED, you lost $20K of my money...Just as I no longer purchase products made by Vitec group companies AKA LitePanels LED patent lawsuit. in fact I will not use or allow to be used LitePanels products on my productions. Vote with your money.

February 15, 2013

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