Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 1st Mar 2010 21:59 UTC
Multimedia, AV "A lot of commercial software comes with H.264 encoders and decoders, and some computers arrive with this software preinstalled. This leads a lot of people to believe that they can legally view and create H.264 videos for whatever purpose they like. Unfortunately for them, it ain't so."
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Greed
by iskios on Mon 1st Mar 2010 22:32 UTC
iskios
Member since:
2005-07-06

The Greed here is just so patently obvious. Not only do they want to license it to companies, but to everyone who uses it both actively and passively. Dare I suggest that if you have more than one person using the computer in your household and you all watch the video you should all have to pay a licensing fee?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Greed
by vivainio on Mon 1st Mar 2010 22:34 UTC in reply to "Greed"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

The Greed here is just so patently obvious. Not only do they want to license it to companies, but to everyone who uses it both actively and passively. Dare I suggest that if you have more than one person using the computer in your household and you all watch the video you should all have to pay a licensing fee?


It's no more greedy than selling gold watches for a premium price. The problem is just that customers got suckered into believing these codecs were a commodity.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Greed
by urkrobshaw on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 00:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Greed"
urkrobshaw Member since:
2009-02-01

It's no more greedy than selling gold watches for a premium price. The problem is just that customers got suckered into believing these codecs were a commodity.


If I understand things properly, it truly is pure greed. If a content creator (mum & dad posting a home video on the internet, or NBC doing an international broadcast) uses the codec, and somebody watching is is violating the IP licence, then both sides can be sued for compensation (note - both sides, not either side).

Gold watches don't come for free with computers you buy as an enticement to use the watch. A watch which you can do anything you like with.

If you use that gold watch to pay for a drug deal or fake passport etc, you are held accountable.

If you are the end receiver of h264/mpeg4 etc and do something against the EULA with it, you can be sued, but so can your "gold watch" retailer, and so can their wholesaler because they are all obligated to ensure the licence is always adhered to .

So <insert relevant codec IP right holders> could sue 3 times and obtain 3 times the payout, because an end user "abused" the software licence.

So mum & dad post a video, someone uses an unlicenced decoder, and both can be sued.

Someone on the net views a video (e.g on youtube) which was created by an unlicensed codec, and the viewer and creator could both be sued - even though neither knew that the codec wasn't licenced properly.

Got your own little website making $0.01 per year in adsense income? Are you also posting that home made video on your site which displays adsense? You've breached IP rights unless you paid $2,500 for a commercial licence! You could be sued.

Obviously they won't make much from the consumer/viewer, but they might get a bit from the hosting provider who is hosting the video file, and if you posted to youtube? How much money does Google actually have???

That is pure greed.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Greed
by elsewhere on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 07:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Greed"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

It's no more greedy than selling gold watches for a premium price. The problem is just that customers got suckered into believing these codecs were a commodity.


Not the same thing. I own a gold mine, I sell gold to a company that makes watches. I get my money, end of story. The watchmaker goes on to sell their watches through whatever distribution chain they decide, maybe directly to stores, maybe through wholesalers, whatever. Somebody buys the watch, and maybe it becomes a family heirloom that they pass down, or maybe it becomes something that they need to pawn one day for cash. None of this matters to me, because my part of the equation ended when I sold the gold to the watchmaker.

Under the MPEG-LA model, I will sell the gold to the watchmaker. And then I will expect a payment when the watch is sold. And if the watch is sold through a wholesaler, I'll want a piece of that too. I may even want a payment every time the owner looks at the watch to tell the time, and I'll certainly want a payment if they transfer the watch to anyone else. I may even want a payment every time the watch owner tells someone the time, but I'm going to wait until there are enough watches out there with my gold that I can get away with that, so for now, I'll let them do that for "free", and reserve the right to change my mind and start charging down the road.

This is what is wrong with codec licensing (or, frankly, anything related to IP). When I buy a laptop from HP or Dell, regardless of price, I expect that I'll be able to use it without Intel or AMD knocking on my door and demanding royalties. Among the many problems that IP licensing presents, it often tries to sidestep the concept of transfer, and tries to grab payment out of anyone that touches it. Not so much of an issue in hardware, where this is mostly worked out between the manufacturers and IP holders, to ensure that rights are transferred, but it's a clusterfsck when it comes to software or processes.

That all said, I do agree mostly with your point, but as to customers being suckered into thinking it's a commodity, there's the rub. I don't think customers understand the issue at all, and that's what MPEG-LA is banking on. They're building the world's biggest botnet, and just waiting to pull the trigger, as far as licensing revenue goes.

Just my two pennies...

Reply Score: 9

RE[3]: Greed
by nt_jerkface on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 07:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Greed"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

The problem with that analogy is that gold watches can't be duplicated infinitely at zero cost. Their value is tied to their production. Even if you have the plans to make a gold watch there is still a significant cost in the reproduction. However for something like h.264 once it is created it can be duplicated at zero cost.

Thus we have intellectual property laws that place limits on what you can do with software as a way of rewarding the creators.

If you don't like the terms of the license then don't use it. As the previous poster said it is no more greedy than selling a gold watch at what the market will bare. For many companies h.264 is useful and they are willing to pay for it just as some people are willing to pay 10k for a gold watch and walk happily out of the store. I would further add that h.264 provides tangible benefits like bandwidth savings while a gold watch is really just purchased for vanity.

Edited 2010-03-02 07:52 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Greed
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 09:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Greed"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

The problem with that analogy is that gold watches can't be duplicated infinitely at zero cost. Their value is tied to their production. Even if you have the plans to make a gold watch there is still a significant cost in the reproduction. However for something like h.264 once it is created it can be duplicated at zero cost.

Thus we have intellectual property laws that place limits on what you can do with software as a way of rewarding the creators.


This is the precise logical disconnect with IP laws. How exactly does artificially restricting and penalising users create value or reward anyone? The fact that there is no value added for users in the first place is the precise reason why there needs to be more and more draconian laws. Once the initial investment in research effort has been paid for, under what perverse moral code is it still valid to fleece users thereafter? (Consider this: Once I have purchased a TV, I don't have to pay a fee to the TV's makers every time that I watch it thereafter).

If you don't like the terms of the license then don't use it.


This is precisely what I would advocate. Use something else that performs effectively just as well, has had far less cost to develop, its development is already fully paid for and is now offered to you to for your unlimited use for no cost.

As the previous poster said it is no more greedy than selling a gold watch at what the market will bare.


Au contraire, that would come close to a perfect definition of greed.

For many companies h.264 is useful and they are willing to pay for it just as some people are willing to pay 10k for a gold watch and walk happily out of the store. I would further add that h.264 provides tangible benefits like bandwidth savings while a gold watch is really just purchased for vanity.


h.264 no longer provides said tangible benefits. It is only that this changed fact seems to be very hard to get across to people in the face of many powerful vested interests telling them otherwise.

PS: ... that and the fact that some other hyper-gullible types seem to unwaveringly believe everything that powerful vested interests put to them.

Edited 2010-03-02 09:22 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE[5]: Greed
by nt_jerkface on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 17:37 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Greed"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

This is the precise logical disconnect with IP laws. How exactly does artificially restricting and penalising users create value or reward anyone?


The value is in the intellectual property and through limited reproduction and usage you reward the creator. It's a working system that the vast majority of economists support it. For many types of intellectual property there is no natural incentive to create it if unlimited duplication is allowed. Capital will go elsewhere.


Once the initial investment in research effort has been paid for, under what perverse moral code is it still valid to fleece users thereafter?

It's not a non-profit system. They want more than an equal return on their investment. You can't have intellectual property development be less profitable than a CD or money market account.


h.264 no longer provides said tangible benefits. It is only that this changed fact seems to be very hard to get across to people in the face of many powerful vested interests telling them otherwise.


It does provide tangible benefits, namely bandwidth and storage savings which is why companies pay to use it. Also note that h.264 was completed in 2003 which is well before Theora became a competitive alternative.

I don't think the benefits of h.264 outweigh its costs in the area of HTML5 video however. I think this is a situation where "good enough tech" should be chosen for its flexibility.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Greed
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 22:41 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Greed"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

" This is the precise logical disconnect with IP laws. How exactly does artificially restricting and penalising users create value or reward anyone?
The value is in the intellectual property and through limited reproduction and usage you reward the creator. "

Its pure greed.

It's a working system that the vast majority of economists support it.


Pfft. I've never heard any economist supporting the idea that large software companies should get paid a 500% ROI ongoing year-over-year ... for essentially doing nothing.

Any economist who does support such a notion is probably being paid by the people who are perpetrating the rip-off.

For many types of intellectual property there is no natural incentive to create it if unlimited duplication is allowed. Capital will go elsewhere.


Good. h.264 has made its money a thousand times over by now. It is about time now that the money was invested elsewhere in the economy, where it might do some good.

" Once the initial investment in research effort has been paid for, under what perverse moral code is it still valid to fleece users thereafter?
It's not a non-profit system. They want more than an equal return on their investment. You can't have intellectual property development be less profitable than a CD or money market account. "

Geeting more back than you paid out is reasonable, it is called ROI. One might reasonably hope for a 20%, 30%, 40% ROI.

MPEG ROI for h.264 in their first years was probably in the region of 1000%. Now they want an ongoing take of hundreds of millions per year for no ongoing outlay at all.

" h.264 no longer provides said tangible benefits. It is only that this changed fact seems to be very hard to get across to people in the face of many powerful vested interests telling them otherwise.
It does provide tangible benefits, namely bandwidth and storage savings which is why companies pay to use it. Also note that h.264 was completed in 2003 which is well before Theora became a competitive alternative. I don't think the benefits of h.264 outweigh its costs in the area of HTML5 video however. I think this is a situation where "good enough tech" should be chosen for its flexibility. "

It NO LONGER provides any benefit at all. It is merely an ongiong cost, a pure drain on the economy, and an unearned tax-like income for MPEG LA.

Edited 2010-03-02 22:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Greed
by mkone on Wed 3rd Mar 2010 00:14 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Greed"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

...This is the precise logical disconnect with IP laws. How exactly does artificially restricting and penalising users create value or reward anyone? The fact that there is no value added for users in the first place is the precise reason why there needs to be more and more draconian laws. Once the initial investment in research effort has been paid for, under what perverse moral code is it still valid to fleece users thereafter?...


You are making the mistake of equating value with price. The two are not the same. Not by a long shot. The value of a copy of software differs for different people. Think of the value of a copy of software as the maximum amount one would pay for it if that was the only way one could acquire the software. The price is normally set at the level at which profits are maximised.

Now, in economic theory, you have a downward sloping demand curve because at lower prices, more people will purchase the product because the perceived value of the product equals or exceeds the price.

In economic terms again, those who value the software highly get a larger benefit because the value far exceeds the price. This is known in economics as the consumer surplus. What the artificial scarcity does is allow the producer of the software to capture more of the consumer surplus, and this is a valid way to encourage creation of such software works. This is the thinking behind copyright laws in general.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Greed
by lemur2 on Wed 3rd Mar 2010 02:16 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Greed"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"...This is the precise logical disconnect with IP laws. How exactly does artificially restricting and penalising users create value or reward anyone? The fact that there is no value added for users in the first place is the precise reason why there needs to be more and more draconian laws. Once the initial investment in research effort has been paid for, under what perverse moral code is it still valid to fleece users thereafter?...
You are making the mistake of equating value with price. The two are not the same. Not by a long shot. The value of a copy of software differs for different people. Think of the value of a copy of software as the maximum amount one would pay for it if that was the only way one could acquire the software. The price is normally set at the level at which profits are maximised. Now, in economic theory, you have a downward sloping demand curve because at lower prices, more people will purchase the product because the perceived value of the product equals or exceeds the price. In economic terms again, those who value the software highly get a larger benefit because the value far exceeds the price. This is known in economics as the consumer surplus. What the artificial scarcity does is allow the producer of the software to capture more of the consumer surplus, and this is a valid way to encourage creation of such software works. This is the thinking behind copyright laws in general. "

If we step away from deluded "economic thinking" mumbo-jumbo for a second, and examine exactly what circumstances it can possibly benefit society to pay back year-after-year many times the amount being invested in something ... we would come up blank.

What you are trying to say actually makes no sense at all in the light of day.

Also, in the normal situation with IP and ROI, there is a small extra cost imposed on the initial purchase of something. Take a digital TV as an example, which may well have patented technology embedded in it. No-one is charged every time they watch the TV, once the TV is purchased, it is purchased.

So how come producers of codecs get to charge per use, and society pays hundreds of millions year upon year?

Edited 2010-03-03 02:17 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Greed
by mkone on Wed 3rd Mar 2010 23:44 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Greed"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

If we step away from deluded "economic thinking" mumbo-jumbo for a second, and examine exactly what circumstances it can possibly benefit society to pay back year-after-year many times the amount being invested in something ... we would come up blank.

What you are trying to say actually makes no sense at all in the light of day.

Also, in the normal situation with IP and ROI, there is a small extra cost imposed on the initial purchase of something. Take a digital TV as an example, which may well have patented technology embedded in it. No-one is charged every time they watch the TV, once the TV is purchased, it is purchased.

So how come producers of codecs get to charge per use, and society pays hundreds of millions year upon year?


Everything sounds like mumbo-jumbo if you do not understand it.

There are many valid reasons why something with a very small investment reaps huge rewards. One of these reasons is that the overall benefit to society far exceeds the initial investment. Another is that there is a huge chance of failure, so there is a good chance your invention will not find traction and therefore you will lose your investment.

Free markets say nothing about what the 'right' return for any given amount of investment should be. Free markets do not concern themselves with that.

Restricting availability of IP can encourage people to create works because the creators can be paid, and society benefits as a whole. In the case of codecs, if we can't restrict the codecs, then we can have a situation where one company licenses the codecs and maybe starts encoding video for content creators, thereby undercutting the original inventor who may not be able to afford to buy equipment for this purpose.

Allowing royalties is actually a good way of paying the creator. The more videos that are encoded, the more people watching, the more value society obtains therefore it is fair that the creator gets paid more. This argument is valid for patents, software and other creative works (music, etc).

Your TV analogy doesn't make sense. And even then, you will find a lot of IP in those TVs were someone or some company is paid per each TV sold. so the more useful the invention/creation, the more used it is, and the more money the creator makes.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Greed
by Soulbender on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 09:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Greed"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

However for something like h.264 once it is created it can be duplicated at zero cost.


Right but the thing is that it is not a codec that is being duplicated. It is the work created with help of the codec.
The codec in this case is a tool and perhaps a more fitting analogy is with a hammer.
If I buy a hammer from a store the hammer manufacturer does not get any proceedings from any work I create or any work derived from my work. I think most people would find it absurd if the manufacturer would insist on me paying them a certain amount for all my creatons that I sell.
It is almost funny what incredibly draconian terms the IT industry gets away with, all in the name of copyright and IP. Joseph McCarthy would be proud.

Reply Score: 6

RE[5]: Greed
by nt_jerkface on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 17:54 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Greed"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

If you sell HD video over the internet with h.264 you're incorporating that patent into your product. You're saving money through lower bandwidth costs. The MPEG-LA group wants to be compensated for this use.

MPEG-LA creates technology for media companies to use. They can't grant an unlimited license to Final Cut users since that would mean that movie companies who used it would have an unlimited license as well. Pay per blu-ray? No we edited our movie in Final Cut Pro so we don't owe you anything.

As I stated before the return they get from software is peanuts. They're in the movie business. They just allow h.264 use in Final Cut Pro for non-commercial use.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Greed
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 22:26 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Greed"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

If you sell HD video over the internet with h.264 you're incorporating that patent into your product. You're saving money through lower bandwidth costs. The MPEG-LA group wants to be compensated for this use.


My but you are a gullible one, aren't you?

MPEG LA have already seen a ROI of hundreds of times over their initial investment on h.264. They probably earned 200% markup profit in the first year alone. What they want is that income to continue for many, many years into the future, without them having to invest any more. What they want is to impose an un-earned ongoing tax on the rest of the economy.

BTW, no longer is anyone saving bandwidth costs by using h.264 over the internet. An alternative has recently caught up, hadn't you heard?

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Greed
by Soulbender on Wed 3rd Mar 2010 09:11 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Greed"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

If you sell HD video over the internet with h.264 you're incorporating that patent into your product.


Questionable at best. What I am selling is data encoded in a certain way. It is not really that different from the hammer that allows me to create things in a certain way. What is patented, I would hope, is the algorithm used and that is not included in the encoded data created by Final Cut Pro.
You want to charge for your codec? Fine, I have no problem with that but charge the company making Final Cut Pro for every copy they sell since that actually include the codec. That would be reasonable. Expecting to get a cut of the price for the work created by the end user is not.
The software industry has been incredibly successful in making the world think that their products are special and need special protection and rules. That is nonsense. It's a product, no different from products in other industries. No, it really isn't.
The only way I can think of that software is special is in how incredibly low the general standard of the products is and how companies are completely without any responsibility for the quality and proper functioning of their products.

Edited 2010-03-03 09:20 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Greed
by phoudoin on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 09:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Greed"
phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

If you don't like the terms of the license then don't use it.


+1

Except that many h264 users don't actually knows the terms of the license. Why? Because MPEG-LA is playing the ticking bomb license strategy, by not telling once and for all what definitive terms of use are.

So, to refine your point, if you don't like license, don't use it. Period.

That why I'll never exchange lower quality for royalties-lock. But that's just my position.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Greed
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 10:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Greed"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"If you don't like the terms of the license then don't use it.


+1

Except that many h264 users don't actually knows the terms of the license. Why? Because MPEG-LA is playing the ticking bomb license strategy, by not telling once and for all what definitive terms of use are.

So, to refine your point, if you don't like license, don't use it. Period.

That why I'll never exchange lower quality for royalties-lock. But that's just my position.
"

There is another point to consider: if self-interested companies only provide source material in platform-lock-in formats such as Silverlight, and extortionist pay-us-forever-not-just-once formats such as h.264, then what choice do users have? If they don't comply with the no-choice terms of Silverlight (use Windows) and h.264 (pay royalties even though h.264 research has been paid for) ... then they won't be Internet users at all if the large companies get their way.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Greed
by vivainio on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 12:06 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Greed"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

There is another point to consider: if self-interested companies only provide source material in platform-lock-in formats such as Silverlight, and extortionist pay-us-forever-not-just-once formats such as h.264, then what choice do users have?


You have the choice not to use those sites.

If you happen to be working at company IT, you could consider blocking such sites in your firewall on the basis of "dubious legal status", if you are into that sort of thing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Greed
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 12:12 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Greed"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"There is another point to consider: if self-interested companies only provide source material in platform-lock-in formats such as Silverlight, and extortionist pay-us-forever-not-just-once formats such as h.264, then what choice do users have?


You have the choice not to use those sites.

If you happen to be working at company IT, you could consider blocking such sites in your firewall on the basis of "dubious legal status", if you are into that sort of thing.
"

So it is their way and get fleeced, or nothing?

Fortunately, web standards are still public standards. All it should require is accurate disclosure of exactly how non-standards such as Silverlight and h.264 are hyper-massive rip-offs, and how the Internet-using public is being royally fleeced, and government consumer protection agencies should be able to step in and stop big companies from running scams such as those any longer.

Meanwhile, the big business rip-off artists are apparently trying a new angle to stop adoption of FOSS alternatives, so that they can merrily continue perpetrating their hyper-scams:

http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/58042

Edited 2010-03-02 12:20 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Greed
by dusik on Wed 3rd Mar 2010 02:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Greed"
dusik Member since:
2007-01-25

They're building the world's biggest botnet, and just waiting to pull the trigger, as far as licensing revenue goes.


Well if they're sleeping on it on purpose, when they do pull the trigger can't the plaintiffs claim laches?

Because that means they are well aware that the damages awarded to them would be smaller if they moved to protect their rights right now, and so purposefully don't.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Greed
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 3rd Mar 2010 05:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Greed"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I own a gold mine ....
....
Just my two pennies...


F*&^ing cheap bastard. You own a gold mine! Just buy up all the H264 rights to end this stupid discussion.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Greed
by nt_jerkface on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 06:35 UTC in reply to "Greed"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

The Greed here is just so patently obvious. Not only do they want to license it to companies, but to everyone who uses it both actively and passively.


They couldn't sell per media unit encoding licenses to companies if those same companies could just claim to be exempt since their movies were made with Final Cut Pro.

Or another way of looking at this is just because I sell you a product that makes use of a patent doesn't mean that you can sell derivative products that also make use of the patent without paying me.

But it is my position that h.264 is too inflexible for HTML5 video. Web standards are supposed to be open for everyone to implement, including for-profit websites.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Greed
by deathshadow on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 08:33 UTC in reply to "Greed"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

Oh yes, greed. God forbid anyone get paid for any of this...

Rah rah, fight the power.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Greed
by r_a_trip on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 10:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Greed"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

Oh yes, greed. God forbid anyone get paid for any of this...

Well, if it is offered at inequitable terms this is exactly what should happen. The product should just wither away; unused and unpaid.

You are free to manufacture something and try to sell it at whatever terms you set to the market, but that is where it ends. If the market balks at your terms, you should not have the "right" to force a sale to someone who doesn't want it.

H.264 may be the best video codec in existence in the universe right now, but technical aspects aside, the licensing aspect makes a contract with the devil seem like a picnic. At least the devil does it on a per soul basis and keeps his sales voluntary. MPEG-LA owns (or tries to own) everybodies hide who has watched an H.264 encoded video.

The most funny thing about H.264 is that it is akin to a tin can. It is a container, not the stuff that people really want. We want to watch the video, not marvel in what tin can it is wrapped. I'd rather pay in time or bandwith or even in lower quality, before I'm criminalized by a fancy tin can.

MPEG-LA should choke in their codec. This is not about "fighting the power". This is telling an overbearing, soulless entity to just shove it.

Reply Score: 8

RE[3]: Greed
by nt_jerkface on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 18:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Greed"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26



The most funny thing about H.264 is that it is akin to a tin can. It is a container, not the stuff that people really want. We want to watch the video, not marvel in what tin can it is wrapped. I'd rather pay in time or bandwith or even in lower quality, before I'm criminalized by a fancy tin can.


It's a highly complex algorithm that saves companies money, period. If it were as simple to create as a tin can it would have died on the market years ago.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Greed
by r_a_trip on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 18:50 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Greed"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

It's a highly complex algorithm that saves companies money...

Yes it is a highly complex algorithm and it still is a tin can. H.264 itself doesn't contain anything one can watch. The real value of a video is not what container it is wrapped in, the value is in what it depicts.

So H.264 is a tin can that could potentially save money on bandwidth, but on the other hand one has to factor in the legal costs of possible non-compliance. There are other tin can designs that might cost a little more to ship around, but these cans come with a lot less legal hassle.

From the viewpoint of an end user H.264 is just a costly tin can, because at the end of the day, after all is said and done, Joe User foots the bill for it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Greed
by Anonymous Coward on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 11:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Greed"
Anonymous Coward Member since:
2005-07-06

Oh yes, greed. God forbid anyone get paid for any of this...

Rah rah, fight the power.


No problem with them getting paid for their codec, greed, etc. I'll just use a competing free product, and someone else can pay them. Fortunately, I don't have any need for h264.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Greed
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 11:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Greed"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Oh yes, greed. God forbid anyone get paid for any of this...

Rah rah, fight the power.


No problem with them getting paid for their codec, greed, etc. I'll just use a competing free product, and someone else can pay them. Fortunately, I don't have any need for h264.
"

It is already paid for. Mozilla gave just $100,000 to Xiph.org to fund the Thusnelda project that achieved considerable improvements in Theora:

http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/01/mozilla-contributes...

and x264 implements h.264 as a non-funded free software project:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X264

... so even with the most outlandish inefficiencies and incompetence the original development costs for h.264 couldn't be more than a few tens of millions.

Just a few licenses from large users (digital TV broadcast, for example) would have paid that back years ago.

http://www.streaminglearningcenter.com/articles/h264-royalties-what...
Under the terms of the agreement, you have two options: a one-time payment of $2,500 “per AVC transmission encoder” or an annual fee starting at “$2,500 per calendar year per Broadcast Markets of at least 100,000 but no more than 499,999 television households, $5,000 per calendar year per Broadcast Market which includes at least 500,000 but no more than 999,999 television households, and $10,000 per calendar year per Broadcast Market which includes at 1,000,000 or more television households.”


$10,000 per year from 10,000 digital TV stations (worldwide there would be far more than that) is $100,000 million per year right there. From just one market.

As the OP said ... greed. Pure greed.

Edited 2010-03-02 11:54 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Greed
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 12:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Greed"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17


$10,000 per year from 10,000 digital TV stations (worldwide there would be far more than that) is $100,000 million per year right there. From just one market.

As the OP said ... greed. Pure greed.


Sorry, a correction is required: ... $100 million per year from 10,000 digital TV stations.

$100,000 million per year is 10 million digital TV stations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_television_transition

That might be nearly all of them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_digital_television_deployments...

Edited 2010-03-02 12:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Greed
by nt_jerkface on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 18:31 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Greed"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Where did you get 10k stations from?

It's 10k per year if you have a market of over 1 million people. Very few HD markets are that large. Most Americans still don't have an HDTV.

They aren't going broke but you're speculating a bit much here.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Greed
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 22:19 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Greed"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Where did you get 10k stations from? It's 10k per year if you have a market of over 1 million people. Very few HD markets are that large. Most Americans still don't have an HDTV. They aren't going broke but you're speculating a bit much here.


There are 61 cities with population of over 3 million.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_proper_by_population#Se...

There would probably be over 500 cities with population of over a million. The small city where I live just makes it into this club, and there are 10 broadcast free-to-air stations and probably over 50 cable-tv stations that supply digital TV to that small market. The largest of the cities would have upwards of a few hundred stations supplying digital tv signal (in some form or another) into their market.

10k stations in all is a guess, but I'm sticking to my guns that the figure (from digital tv transmissions alone) is somewhere in the region of 10k stations worldwide. $100 million per year income for MPEG LA from this source alone is probably a conservative estimate.

Then there are, of course, digital TV receivers also requiring a license (pricing structure here is entirely different of course). Then there are video cards for computers, laptops, netbooks, tablets, handhelds and smartphones. I'm guessing that this source would out-strip the income from digital tv transmissions.

Lets call it a tax take of perhaps $300 million per year.

Not a bad yearly rip-off intake for something that cost you only a one-time investment of a few tens of millions some years ago. I don't imagine that there are too many areas of the economy left where you are allowed to siphon off a huge yearly intake for no ongoing outlay.

When I say not bad ... I of course mean not bad for MPEG LA members, who do nothing but sit back and rake it in, year after year. It is quite a drain on the rest of the economy, of course. Google for "deadweight loss" to find a bit more about this.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Greed
by theTSF on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 13:52 UTC in reply to "Greed"
theTSF Member since:
2005-09-27

I don't think it is greed really...

It is a basic idea. Ill give this software for free. However if you are going to make money from it then I want a piece of the action.

There is a lot of time and research that goes into such products, and they should be compensated for their work. However they are not greedy because they are going well you can use it if you are not making money off of it. If it was just pure greed they would ding us for every thing we produce as well there would be a ton of lawsuits against the guy who made a video and has ad-words on his page. Which I havn't heard much of that happening yet.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Greed
by kriston on Wed 3rd Mar 2010 14:10 UTC in reply to "Greed"
kriston Member since:
2007-04-11

Iskios gets the nod for best use of a pun ever on OSNews.

In other forums people say to use "xvid" because it's FOSS, but it's free as in beer, not free as in speech. The methods used for H.264 encoding and decoding are encumbered by patents and they are not free.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Greed
by apswartz on Thu 4th Mar 2010 01:21 UTC in reply to "Greed"
apswartz Member since:
2008-02-01

"patently obvious" -- I love it!

Reply Score: 1

Punitive measures
by vivainio on Mon 1st Mar 2010 22:32 UTC
vivainio
Member since:
2008-12-26

This might make for an interesting, if somewhat controversial pro-Theora campaign - scan the web for possibly infringing content and report the offenders to MPEG LA. A few high profile lawsuits should open some eyes...

Reply Score: 8

If only Vorbis/Theora was easier...
by CaptainN- on Mon 1st Mar 2010 22:55 UTC
CaptainN-
Member since:
2005-07-07

The problem for home users is that h.264 is easy (and most people who use it probably have no idea what h.264 is even if they use it). OGG Vorbis and Theora (or Dirac/Snow, etc.) needs a real focus on how to make using these codecs more usuable for home users. I thought FireFogg was a good attempt at this. Maybe Mozilla needs it's own social video site to go with it...

Reply Score: 3

Tired of h.264 Stories
by TheBashar on Mon 1st Mar 2010 23:56 UTC
TheBashar
Member since:
2005-06-30

http://www.osnews.com/search?q=264

I'm getting really tired of all these anti-h.264 stories. Are you wrong? No. But come on mate, get a new topic to harp on for a while.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Tired of h.264 Stories
by WereCatf on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 00:43 UTC in reply to "Tired of h.264 Stories"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I'm getting really tired of all these anti-h.264 stories. Are you wrong? No. But come on mate, get a new topic to harp on for a while.

Try submitting your own stories then or be grateful to have anything to read at all. Besides, h.264 issues are VERY important and people should really understand what's at stake here. Having 2-3 stories a week regarding h.264 isn't that much anyway.

Reply Score: 7

Already debunked
by Wes Felter on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 00:59 UTC
Wes Felter
Member since:
2005-11-15

CNet investigated this and it's not as big a deal as it sounds: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20000101-264.html

Reply Score: 3

RE: Already debunked
by ba1l on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 01:42 UTC in reply to "Already debunked"
ba1l Member since:
2007-09-08

CNet investigated this and it's not as big a deal as it sounds: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20000101-264.html


Not really.

As that guy said, products like Final Cut Pro or Premiere may come with a licensed h.264 encoder, but you can not use it commercially unless you take out a separate h.264 license with the MPEG-LA.

Since there are a multitude of possible commercial uses, which come with different license requirements, it's not possible for a blanket commercial license to be included with any h.264 encoder.

That's kind of the point of the article - these programs make it easy to produce h.264 video, without even being aware of the license, or the fact that you may have to pay extra depending on how you use the resulting video.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Already debunked
by AlexandreAM on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 03:12 UTC in reply to "Already debunked"
AlexandreAM Member since:
2006-02-06

CNet investigated this and it's not as big a deal as it sounds: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20000101-264.html


I've read both articles and, while the attorney in the article you linked says all is well and there's nothing to fear there because the "intent" is not what we're thinking, it still scares me that the written text of the license seems to be exactly what we're thinking.

It's everything fine and dandy claiming that it's only there to "ensure the license doesn't cover commercial distribution" (emphasis mine) but as far as I can see the license clearly says that you're given the license to "DECODE AVC VIDEO THAT WAS ENCODED BY A CONSUMER ENGAGED IN A PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY AND/OR AVC VIDEO THAT WAS OBTAINED FROM A VIDEO PROVIDER LICENSED TO PROVIDE AVC VIDEO.".

Sure, English is not my primary language so I might be missing some subtlety here but, is there anywhere I can read in this license that states that "we're actually only trying to prevent you to distribute them videos commercially"?

It's even odder to think about the idea of those software packages "Pro" having only a license to encode for personal or non-commercial use.

I mean, I give it that since it's able to decode things encoded for personal use or anything published by anyone licensed to provide the videos, the decoding part can be lightened a lot, almost to being meaningless (considering that streaming for free already gives you a license to publish it, from what I read in the second link).

But when you can only ENCODE for personal or non-commercial use, it says absolutely nothing about distribution. So I'd really like to know how the attorney came to his conclusion other than from his own wishful thinking.

Edited 2010-03-02 03:15 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Really?
by sigzero on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 03:13 UTC
sigzero
Member since:
2006-01-03

"This leads a lot of people to believe that they can legally view and create H.264 videos for whatever purpose they like."

I have never heard that argument before. Everyone that deals with it in a technical sense *knows* it ain't free.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Really?
by AlexandreAM on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 03:18 UTC in reply to "Really?"
AlexandreAM Member since:
2006-02-06

Even when they do it from a product called "Final Cut Pro"?

I'm not on this field of work, so I'm really just blowing my opinion here but, it seems to me that if I buy a tool to make videos, I should be given the right to do as I see fit with my videos. I mean, I already paid for "the right to make them" once, having to pay for the right to distribute something I made is odd.

Edit: Just to make sure, I'm not saying the license for H.264 is wrong nor anything, but I'd be very annoyed at the publisher of Final Cut Pro (or the Adobe Premiere thing) if I bought their products only to figure out that I can't do as I please with the videos I make.

Edited 2010-03-02 03:19 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Really?
by WorknMan on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 03:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Really?"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Edit: Just to make sure, I'm not saying the license for H.264 is wrong nor anything, but I'd be very annoyed at the publisher of Final Cut Pro (or the Adobe Premiere thing) if I bought their products only to figure out that I can't do as I please with the videos I make.


Yeah, that's like if I bought a copy of Microsoft Office, and then found out I had to pay a license fee to use some of the fonts that came with it if I were going to use it for commercial purposes. I would assume that any related license fees would be included with the purchase price of the product.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Really?
by nt_jerkface on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 07:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Really?"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

I'm not on this field of work, so I'm really just blowing my opinion here but, it seems to me that if I buy a tool to make videos, I should be given the right to do as I see fit with my videos. I mean, I already paid for "the right to make them" once, having to pay for the right to distribute something I made is odd.


The revenue they make from software like Final Cut Pro is peanuts compared to what they make from large companies that sell millions of videos. They're just allowing you to use h.264 in Final Cut Pro for non-commercial use.

If you want to sell video that is encoded with h.264 then you need to pay a license fee. You're making commercial use of the patent.

But the other side of this is that you'll only be sued if you are making a decent amount of money. They'd also send you a warning letter first and request that you purchase a license.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Really?
by r_a_trip on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 10:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Really?"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

But the other side of this is that you'll only be sued if you are making a decent amount of money. They'd also send you a warning letter first and request that you purchase a license.

Ooh, how nice and gracious. Only a lemon with juice will get squeezed.

I don't get it. The license conditions are murky and draconian. We know the licensing company is out to get their pound of flesh one way or the other. Yet we are all tied up in pro and contra blah blah over the use of H.264 on the web, over commercial and non-commercial use.

Shouldn't we just choose for our own safety and simply reject the H.264 codec together with the monster called H.264 licensing?

I can do without 5 pixels per kilobyte more (figuratively speaking) if I know that it will stop a juggernaut from legally mauling unsuspecting violators.

Probably not the viewpoint of a "modern capitalist". These days making something and getting rights to it also means the right to do anything and everything to force it down everybodies throat and fleece everybody for what they're worth. Preferably on a perpetual basis. "NO" is not an option.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Really?
by nt_jerkface on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 18:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Really?"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

I've stated numerous times that I don't think h.264 is a good choice for HTML5 Video. It's simply too inflexible.

MPEG-LA wants revenue from companies like Apple that continually benefit from h.264 through HD distribution. They don't care about Final Cut sales or even HTML5 Video.

It's Google and Apple that have been pushing h.264 to be the default codec. I still don't see how Google especially has gotten a break from the FOSS crowd in all this. They have the cash reserves to fund Theora or another alternative and yet they have been pushing h.264.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Really?
by andydread on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 16:32 UTC in reply to "Really?"
andydread Member since:
2009-02-02

"This leads a lot of people to believe that they can legally view and create H.264 videos for whatever purpose they like."

I have never heard that argument before. Everyone that deals with it in a technical sense *knows* it ain't free.


So are you saying that those who use Final Cut Pro and Premiere for commercial purposes all have separate licenses with the MPEG-LA? for using MPEG2-4 and H264 commercially? Really?

Reply Score: 1

PhD of what?
by Soulbender on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 04:34 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

If you send a video to a friend who uses a licensed decoder, and they watch it, you’ve caused them to violate their own software license, so they can be sued too.


And then they will die 7 days later....
Seriously though, that's not how the law works. Well, at least not in most countries.

Reply Score: 2

hilarious reference there
by nt_jerkface on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 07:25 UTC in reply to "PhD of what?"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Yea I think we have some sue paranoia here.

For starters you have to be making lots of money for them to even have an interest in suing you.

They are not going to sue Father Bob for selling his own personal travel guide to Jerusalem on his blog. They will only sue if you are making gobs of money and have refused requests to pay them. In that case I probably wouldn't pity you.

Reply Score: 1

RE: hilarious reference there
by Soulbender on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 08:53 UTC in reply to "hilarious reference there"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Indeed and in addition to that there's "good faith". As a viewer i have no way of knowing what software was used to create the video or if the creator was licensed to do what he did. Therefore I act in good faith when viewing the video and I am not an accomplice.

Reply Score: 2

RE: hilarious reference there
by supercompman on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 18:57 UTC in reply to "hilarious reference there"
supercompman Member since:
2008-09-14

Oh yeah... just like IRAA wouldn't want to sue individuals that have downloaded a couple of songs. Wait a second....

These companies don't need large targets to go after... if they feel that Father Bob should have a license, they can go after him. I'm not going to count on them not suing me just because I'm a small fry.

Reply Score: 1

H.264 is covered by 900 software patents!
by ciaran on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 17:15 UTC
ciaran
Member since:
2006-11-27

Audio-video is probably the biggest mess that software patents make, and H.264 wears the crown for "worst of the worst". Here's my collection of info on it:

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/MPEG_video_formats

Reply Score: 2