Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 11th Feb 2011 16:00 UTC, submitted by aa
Multimedia, AV Well, well, well. The MPEG-LA is showing its true colours. After a decade of threatening to patent troll the living heck out of Theora, the company led by a patent troll has now finally put its money where its mouth is. Well, sort of. They don't actually have any patents yet, they're asking people to submit patents they believe are essential to the VP8 specification. Update: MPEG (so not the MPEG-LA) has announced its intent to develop a new video compression standard for the web which will be royalty-free. "The new standard is intended to achieve substantially better compression performance than that offered by MPEG-2 and possibly comparable to that offered by the AVC Baseline Profile. MPEG will issue a call for proposals on video compression technology at the end of its upcoming meeting in March 2011 that is expected to lead to a standard falling under ISO/IEC 'Type-1 licensing', i.e. intended to be 'royalty free'."
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About time.
by RichterKuato on Fri 11th Feb 2011 16:13 UTC
RichterKuato
Member since:
2010-05-14

I was beginning to think they were just going to stick to FUDing.

Reply Score: 1

RE: About time.
by qbast on Fri 11th Feb 2011 16:48 UTC in reply to "About time."
qbast Member since:
2010-02-08

They are still FUDing.

Reply Score: 8

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Fri 11th Feb 2011 16:18 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

"Prediction: MPEG-LA will sue someone before the year is out. They’re sitting pretty atm. But they have everyone’s arse on a collecting plate"--Kroc--13th Jan.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Kroc
by elsewhere on Sat 12th Feb 2011 04:28 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

"Prediction: MPEG-LA will sue someone before the year is out. They’re sitting pretty atm. But they have everyone’s arse on a collecting plate"--Kroc--13th Jan.


They can't sue anyone, though, because they have no patents to assert. They have non-exclusive rights to license patents on behalf of the patent holders, but it would have to be those individual companies that sue.

MPEG-LA is just strongly "suggesting" they may want to do so.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Sat 12th Feb 2011 08:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

The MPEG-LAs licencing is set up so that they could cherry pick just about any individual or organisation and sue them. They are no better than the RIAA who want to extract money every time a song gets played.

At the moment they don’t need to go about litigating, despite a massive number of individuals and organisations not correctly paying their H.264 fees, they are earning enough steady income from television transmissions, cameras / camcorders / DVD & Blu-Ray players and the content industry; it would be expensive and messy to start suing people to try extract a small percentage more.

But everything is moving to the web. It won’t be long before every TV is Internet connected and video capable. And if those TVs support royalty-free WebM—which gives a price advantage to equipment manufacturers—then in 10 years time, the MPEG-LA could see their sweet little taxation on the populous completely dry up.

WebM is the biggest threat that faces them, and they will not go quietly. This is an organisation whose CEO trolls his own customers with patent litigation. Expect litigation against VP8 decoder manufacturers or service broadcasters. It is their only response when things get desperate.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by pafipe on Sat 12th Feb 2011 22:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
pafipe Member since:
2010-03-22

"It won’t be long before every TV is Internet connected and video capable".

Where can I get a "video incapable" TV? I really really want one. Even if its not internet connected.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Kroc
by daedalus on Mon 14th Feb 2011 08:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Kroc"
daedalus Member since:
2011-01-14


Where can I get a "video incapable" TV? I really really want one. Even if its not internet connected.


I have one, it used to be video capable until someone disabled that feature by pouring beer into it. It's yours for the modest price of €1,499.95.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by westlake on Mon 14th Feb 2011 18:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
westlake Member since:
2010-01-07

And if those TVs support royalty-free WebM—which gives a price advantage to equipment manufacturers—then in 10 years time, the MPEG-LA could see their sweet little taxation on the populous completely dry up.


The H.264 licensors include Fujitsu, Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubushi, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba.

H.264 support is baked in to every digital television set sold on this planet.

If you are in the business of supplying hardware for any link in the chain from the studio camera to the tv set, you are licensing H.264.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by Kroc
by TheGZeus on Mon 14th Feb 2011 19:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Kroc"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

Who keeps a TV for 10 years these days?

That's the point. It could be phased out.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Kroc
by kaiwai on Sat 12th Feb 2011 23:06 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

"Prediction: MPEG-LA will sue someone before the year is out. They’re sitting pretty atm. But they have everyone’s arse on a collecting plate"--Kroc--13th Jan.


But at the end of the day the direction of MPEG-LA is decided by the members who make up the h264 patent portfolio:

Apple Inc.
Cisco Systems Canada IP Holdings Company
DAEWOO Electronics Corporation
Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation
Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute
France Télécom, société anonyme*
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.
Fujitsu Limited
Hewlett-Packard Company
Hitachi, Ltd.
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
LG Electronics Inc.
Microsoft Corporation
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
NTT DOCOMO, INC.
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation
Panasonic Corporation
Polycom, Inc.
Robert Bosch GmbH*
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Sedna Patent Services, LLC
Sharp Corporation
Siemens AG
Sony Corporation
Tandberg Telecom AS
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson
The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
Toshiba Corporation
Victor Company of Japan, Limited


Maybe instead of putting the pressure on MPEG-LA who are merely a front organisation that maybe it is better to put the pressure on the above organisations instead.

Reply Score: 2

v RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by 1c3d0g on Sun 13th Feb 2011 01:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by TheGZeus on Sun 13th Feb 2011 01:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

How would that day be different from today?
;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by kaiwai on Sun 13th Feb 2011 04:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

When you have scum like Apple on the top of the list, no wonder these fuckers think about nothing but suing everyone and their dog. Those damned lawyers sure know how to piss people off!

I swear I will laugh my ass off the day WebM becomes the dominant codec for the Internet. Go Google Go!


They're at the top of the list because it is in alphabetical order and not because of how much money they get out of it or how much evilness they gain from being part of said organisation.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by kristoph on Sun 13th Feb 2011 05:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

Why would that be funny in any way?

No major company makes money from their H.264 patents. If webM were to become a dominant royalty free codec everyone would just switch and carry on with their life.

I personally think this MPEG-LA action is all for the best. Either they find no tangible patents which will strengthen webM or they find some patents and that can be dealt with in some predictable manner so webM can be deployed without FUD.

K

Reply Score: 3

Adurbe
Member since:
2005-07-06

any chance you could do all the hard work and track down all relevant patents so I can buy them/ persuade the owner to sue?

Would save me a lot of time and I still make millions. You get... umm.. you beat Pirates! Well done you!

Reply Score: 8

Praxis Member since:
2009-09-17

It reads more like a call to find out who all wants to sue, or form a patent pool in their language. Its saying 'hey if you feel you have a patent that you can stick to vp8 join in we are gonna start a party'. Its less desperate than you make it sound.

Reply Score: 3

Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

I am sure your analysis is more factually based than mine ;)

Reply Score: 2

segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Yer. Probably what they would ideally want to do is stick a set of patents against VP8 so anyone using it will end up having to 'license' them through a bit of well worked FUD (worked for MP3), so making VP8 not free in practice. The MPEG-LA at least then gets a cut.

Reply Score: 2

A Good Sign in a Way
by segedunum on Fri 11th Feb 2011 16:41 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

I can't say any of us will be surprised, but it shows the MPEG-LA feels they have to do something and they're feeling a bit desperate.

If they do nothing then VP8 will end up encroaching outwards from the web and the whole h.264 house of cards will start falling.

Edited 2011-02-11 16:41 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: A Good Sign in a Way
by westlake on Sat 12th Feb 2011 07:07 UTC in reply to "A Good Sign in a Way"
westlake Member since:
2010-01-07

If they do nothing then VP8 will end up encroaching outwards from the web and the whole h.264 house of cards will start falling.


Get a grip.

H.264 is a broadcast, cable and sattelite distribution standard.

Freeview in the U.K. DirecTV and the Dish Network in the states.

The ATSC tuner in your North American HD set or media PC can decode H.264.

H.264 is a home video standard. The pocket HD camcorder. The Blu-Ray video.

The odds that all the HD video hardware you own was built by an H.264 licensor are probably no worse than 3 in 5.

H.264 is a CCTV video standard. Video conferencing. Video security.

Medical, industrial and military applications.

H.264 is Flash, Silverlight and Neflix.

20% of peak hour download traffic in the states was a Netflix stream before Netflix offered a streaming only service.

The content protected H.264 video "app" like Netflix is only a firmware upgrade away from integration into your "Internet-enabled" HDTV, video game console or set top box.

The "app" doesn't need a browser. It doesn't need to be buzzword-compliant.

It's the "app" that is encroaching on the geek's open web - not the other way around.

The content provider makes these decisions. The hardware manufactuer. Mitsubishi. Panasonic. Samsung. Vizio.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: A Good Sign in a Way
by Lennie on Sat 12th Feb 2011 17:44 UTC in reply to "RE: A Good Sign in a Way"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

It is not only about what is supported now, it is also about what will be supported in the near future.

If all manufacturers start shipping hardware which has support then things will soon change.

I wonder what Google TV will (also) support.

Also that doesn't mean it will be all DRM-free, even Spotify uses Ogg Vorbis but it is encrypted as I understand it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: A Good Sign in a Way
by segedunum on Wed 16th Feb 2011 12:20 UTC in reply to "RE: A Good Sign in a Way"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Get a grip.

H.264 is a broadcast, cable and sattelite distribution standard.

I've got a very firm grip and we've seen it all before. You can proclaim anything you like a standard, but the web has got a lot of 'standards' unstuck before. Especially those in specific industries where there is little sharing as there is with the web.

H.264 is not Flash, no matter how many people proclaim otherwise. Silverlight? Netflix? It's a small proportion of all the videos you see on the web.

The content protected H.264 video "app" like Netflix is only a firmware upgrade away from integration into your "Internet-enabled" HDTV

No it isn't. That's a pipe dream I'm afraid.

It's the "app" that is encroaching on the geek's open web - not the other way around.

I'm afraid history has taught us otherwise, and H.264 has no way in now. The sharing all happens on the web, and the format that makes sharing the easiest wins.

Reply Score: 2

M(umblety)Peg
by fretinator on Fri 11th Feb 2011 16:50 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

Eventually, the whole software patent system is going to come crumbling down. This might be the one to push it over the top.
We have foisted on the rest of the world one naked greed maintenance system. Assuming there is even a shred of decency left anywhere, the whole insane thing will be chucked over the side. "The times they are a-changing". It's time for the "content corps" to adapt or move out of the way.

Reply Score: 3

RE: M(umblety)Peg
by bryanv on Fri 11th Feb 2011 17:23 UTC in reply to "M(umblety)Peg"
bryanv Member since:
2005-08-26

Eventually, the whole software patent system is going to come crumbling down. This might be the one to push it over the top.


yeah, and this is the year of the linux desktop.

I've been hearing how software patents are going to collapse upon themselves for nearly 10 years now.

I've been hearing the same about the global economy.

The problem with this line of thought is that it presupposes that those in power will somehow stop doing what they've done all along -- create a new way to prop the crap up. Which is all that they do.

No changes that benefit the normal person are made.

Changes are made to protect the invested, the racketeers, the snake-oil-salesmen.

Get over it. Until you become one of those who are in power to change things, or until the normal masses revolt, this won't change.

And let's be realistic about the chances of the masses rising against these 'social injustices'. Who is really going to put their entire family and countrymen at odds with their military over a software patent? Are you willing to risk subjecting yourself to chemical or nuclear war because you thought software patents, fiat currency, or using Linux in governments? Think that's going to far? Have you seen what happens in some countries when their command and power structure is destabilized? Rape and pillage has a very different connotation when it's your kids being raped in front of you while a gun is jabbed in the back of your neck.

My point is, governments don't get overthrown because of patent policy or software freedom. The most likely situation is monetary policy, civil rights suppression (which you could argue software patents are part of), and tyranny. Software patent policy won't get overturned until those in power changes radically -- because keeping software patents in existence is 'big business' and 'good for business' -- at least for those in power.

So get over it. The house of cards will not crumble upon itself. It will take a lot of work from some -very- persuasive (and wealthy) companies and people to make this change.


Just like "Linux on the Desktop".

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: M(umblety)Peg
by fretinator on Fri 11th Feb 2011 18:00 UTC in reply to "RE: M(umblety)Peg"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

I know you're surprised, but I have to disagree on this one. I think the cat is already out of the bag, and the Internet (aka, Tubes) is responsible. Secrets are just too darn hard to keep, and the price of trying is not really worth it. Yes, the cart will keep on rolling down the street awhile, but the wheels are falling off. I don't think there will be a revolution, or massive law change. It just won't work. But I'm not saying daisies will suddenly sprout. The corps will find a new model, and they will still make massive amounts of money. I think the patent system will not be the way. I'm not sure what will, but a new one will arise. So this cart is falling apart, but there's a new one at the next stop.

And by the way, Linux IS a really good example. There was no year of the Linux desktop, and yet it is taking over the marketplace, it's everywhere. It's not on the desktop (much), but it's on the all the devices people are running out to buy. No one voted it in, there were no big transactions - it just kinda took over. Same thing here.

Edited 2011-02-11 18:04 UTC

Reply Score: 10

RE[3]: M(umblety)Peg
by silix on Sat 12th Feb 2011 16:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: M(umblety)Peg"
silix Member since:
2006-03-01

I know you're surprised, but I have to disagree on this one. I think the cat is already out of the bag, and the Internet (aka, Tubes) is responsible. Secrets are just too darn hard to keep, and the price of trying is not really worth it.

your post is made invalid by being based on a wrong assumption...
a patent is NOT made to keep a technology, a design/implementation detail or (in general) an "invention", secret - a patent is made and applied for, to make MONEY by binding those who need to reuse that same invention, and is DISCLOSED and PUBLISHED in order to do
thus a patent in the exact contrary of a secret...

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: M(umblety)Peg
by fretinator on Mon 14th Feb 2011 15:46 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: M(umblety)Peg"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

A few clarifications:

1. I realize the patent isn't secret, but until then, everything must be carefully guarded. In addition, having read patents, they seem to have a special "encryption" of their own, if you know what I mean.

2. In addition, I was also talking about the larger issues of IP, DRM and trade secrets. This applies to the super-duper key Sony has for the PS3.

3. Lastly, I also think the term secret can also apply to the process of hoarding, or "secreting away" something. The U.S. economy is based on hoarding, such as that done by the U.S. drug companies. They desperately need to keep others, especially around the world, from re-creating their process.

4. In the case of DRM, the content industry is desperately trying to keep something secret that allows them to control the content. This is certainly an area where the secrets do not last very long.

5. Back on topic, I think the real secret being hidden in regard to MPEG-LA and software patents in general, is that the processes involved are truly algorithms that have no business being patented in the first place. It is this landmine of "secrets" that is doing the most damage to innovation in technology.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: M(umblety)Peg
by amadensor on Fri 11th Feb 2011 21:24 UTC in reply to "RE: M(umblety)Peg"
amadensor Member since:
2006-04-10


So get over it. The house of cards will not crumble upon itself. It will take a lot of work from some -very- persuasive (and wealthy) companies and people to make this change.



You mean like Google?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: M(umblety)Peg
by DerGenosse on Sat 12th Feb 2011 20:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: M(umblety)Peg"
DerGenosse Member since:
2010-01-11

You mean like Google?

Yes, please, let's not forget Google! The good Samaritan! Champion of the people! ROFL.

You know what really pushed democracy everywhere? When new elites finally realized that they basically could do what they wanted within a legitimized democratic framework.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: M(umblety)Peg
by TheGZeus on Sat 12th Feb 2011 20:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: M(umblety)Peg"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

Screaming sarcastically proves nothing.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: M(umblety)Peg
by amadensor on Mon 14th Feb 2011 18:23 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: M(umblety)Peg"
amadensor Member since:
2006-04-10

I may not trust Google to be a good Samaritan, but I do trust them to do what is their own best interest, and defending VP8 is in their best interest. They also have about a cubic ton of cash on hand to do this.

Reply Score: 2

RE: M(umblety)Peg
by atsureki on Sat 12th Feb 2011 06:14 UTC in reply to "M(umblety)Peg"
atsureki Member since:
2006-03-12

Eventually, the whole software patent system is going to come crumbling down. This might be the one to push it over the top.
We have foisted on the rest of the world one naked greed maintenance system. Assuming there is even a shred of decency left anywhere, the whole insane thing will be chucked over the side. "The times they are a-changing". It's time for the "content corps" to adapt or move out of the way.


Remember where software patents started. Apple licensed research tech from PARC and did real R&D work to turn it into a desirable, practical product. Microsoft partnered with them to deliver Office for Mac, gained intimate knowledge of the system, and ultimately used it to steal their business with a clone. Apple sued for copyright of "Look and Feel", which backfired by setting the precedent that you can't do that. Obviously there are disagreements about who all was and wasn't in the right in that story, but regardless, the entire industry watched Apple learn a lesson about how easy it is for development work to be taken and used against you.

From then on, software firms have been patenting every idea they come across as a deterrent to this kind of backstabbing and undermining. It never goes to trial because companies are afraid of exactly what OSNews readers keep cheering for - another Look and Feel precedent that will destroy the software patent system as well.

Patents, copyrights, and everything else that falls under the IP umbrella intentionally slow further innovation of new ideas. The tradeoff is that individuals and companies that make massive investments in creating new art or tech have a window of opportunity to reap all the profits their creation generates, thus making the outlay worthwhile. If the MAD theory behind software patents fizzles out into nothing, so does all the potential monetary value of platform development. This site's hivemind believes that all software should be free beer, that no one should be allowed to make a profit by selling a desirable product they own the rights to; but as someone who appreciates the finer points of Apple's work, I'm not so sure I'm willing to give up capitalism entirely.

Now that I've finished ruminating on so much nothing, there's an important point to be made about different kinds of patents. There are "obvious" patents as in so obvious and well-established that no one can ever call it their "invention", along the lines of "pressing a physical button to send a command to the system". Those are struck down, guaranteed. Then there are the "obvious" patents people here often conflate with the former group - i.e. obvious in retrospect, or "I see what you did there", functionality that can not be concealed in application. This would be stuff like a window in a desktop metaphor. You may ask with righteous indignation how you can patent something with no alternative, but really, do Android and iOS use windows? Are WebOS "cards" Macintosh-style windows? Alternative multitasking interfaces are finally starting to come along. I don't believe Apple should have run unopposed for 26 years, but what if their early competitors had been forced to come up with a different model, rather than a hasty copy with misconfigured keyboard shortcuts?

The final kind of software patent, and the one most relevant here, is real, non-obvious invention. These are the special algorithms and techniques that power state-of-the-art media codecs, compression algorithms, threading algorithms, and encryption. It is only because patents exist that these kinds of things can be licensed at all. x264 and LAME exist because h.264 and mp3 are open, patented standards that anyone can access and, for a price, provide implementations of. The aforementioned simply skip out on the bill by conveniently existing outside the legal sphere of the patents. The only alternative commercial development model is trade secret, which makes it extremely difficult to license out safely and impossible to sue imitators implementing the same methods.

Now, it needs to be said that this is not what Xiph and Google are. Vorbis, Theora, and VP8 are not trying to be sneaky; they're not trying to steal MPEG-LA patented methods to undermine their rightful owners, and therein lies the only valid good vs. evil painting of this whole affair. When a patent owner attacks unprovoked, that's evil, and that seems to be the direction this is headed. But to say that the ability to patent software in general is evil is to take a hard-line stance against capitalism itself.

In the post-Internet world, copyrights and patents simply last too long. Yearly and even quarterly tech profits frequently exceed affluent nations' GDPs, but the concept behind the system is solid. It protects the little guys, like those that Google keeps buying, as well as the big guys like Apple who keep their eyes on their own work, from immediate co-opting by big guys with a long history of NIH and me-too-ism like Microsoft. The patent system needs renovation, not demolition.

OT: Incidentally, RD recently made the point that Google was an early platform development partner on the iPhone, and has since turned around and released a broadly licensed clone to compete with its former host. The Android-Windows comparisons grow ever more poignant. Apple has patents they could use use to take action, but the lesson they learned in Look and Feel was twofold -- One, copyright is useless. Two, legal action is risky, and could end up legitimizing the imitator. Moreover, the Halloween documents and the whole SCO Group debacle have shown the industry that FUD backfires as well, so as long as the iPhone continues to lead in profits and customer satisfaction, Apple's only good choice is to ignore the imitators, no matter how sleazy.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: M(umblety)Peg
by unclefester on Sat 12th Feb 2011 06:58 UTC in reply to "RE: M(umblety)Peg"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Scientific research is open source. It has worked very effectively for hundreds of years.

Reply Score: 7

RE[3]: M(umblety)Peg
by atsureki on Sat 12th Feb 2011 17:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: M(umblety)Peg"
atsureki Member since:
2006-03-12

Scientific research is open source. It has worked very effectively for hundreds of years.


So you would have all software development funded by public research grants just to keep it out of the hands of profit-driven enterprises?

Science is better than open source. It's open collaboration, and like capitalism, it engenders competition. You publish your methods and findings for peer review, and then others get to build on your work.

H.264 was built in the open by multiple collaborators pooling together their previous efforts to come up with the best possible methods. Meanwhile, VP8 was created behind closed doors by a single company, and only the finished product released both as binaries and now as source. That's more akin to having the Roman Catholic Church, and then Google Luther comes along and distributes a common language copy of the Bible.

Obviously both specs ended up frozen, but you're right, scientific conventions produced the superior product here.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: M(umblety)Peg
by TheGZeus on Sat 12th Feb 2011 17:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: M(umblety)Peg"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

Someone's never looked into the open development process.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: M(umblety)Peg
by Radio on Sat 12th Feb 2011 19:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: M(umblety)Peg"
Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

Science is better than open source. It's open collaboration, and like capitalism, it engenders competition. You publish your methods and findings for peer review, and then others get to build on your work.
And then, you say h.264 is open? If you build on their work, they would sue you.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: M(umblety)Peg
by lemur2 on Sun 13th Feb 2011 01:44 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: M(umblety)Peg"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Scientific research is open source. It has worked very effectively for hundreds of years.


So you would have all software development funded by public research grants just to keep it out of the hands of profit-driven enterprises?

Science is better than open source. It's open collaboration, and like capitalism, it engenders competition. You publish your methods and findings for peer review, and then others get to build on your work.

H.264 was built in the open by multiple collaborators pooling together their previous efforts to come up with the best possible methods. Meanwhile, VP8 was created behind closed doors by a single company, and only the finished product released both as binaries and now as source. That's more akin to having the Roman Catholic Church, and then Google Luther comes along and distributes a common language copy of the Bible.

Obviously both specs ended up frozen, but you're right, scientific conventions produced the superior product here.
"

There are patents for VP8. Google owns them now. Given that they are patents, they disclose the technology. Therefore, the invention process of VP8 is just as open as h264.

Look, On2's business model, for years, was to develop codecs, and apply for patents. Some applications were granted, some applications were rejected bcause of prior art, and some were rejected because someone else already had a patent. On2 simply avoided the latter.

On2's business model for years was to develop codecs that avoided patents held by other parties. On2 would ofer their codec to the world as an alternative codec that did not need a patent license from MPEG LA. On2 undercut MPEG LA.

Other than the facts that On2's codecs were held (in the open like all patents must be) by On2, and MPEG LA's were held by a group; and that On2's price was much cheaper than MPEG LA's, there is absolutely nothing different between the way that h264 was developed and the way that VP8 was developed.

Now Google has bought out On2, and offers an even lower price (being zero) for anyone to use VP8.

For years, MPEG LA were unable to stop On2. I can't see why it should be any different now.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: M(umblety)Peg
by dnebdal on Sun 13th Feb 2011 12:14 UTC in reply to "RE: M(umblety)Peg"
dnebdal Member since:
2008-08-27

This site's hivemind believes that all software should be free beer, that no one should be allowed to make a profit by selling a desirable product they own the rights to; but as someone who appreciates the finer points of Apple's work, I'm not so sure I'm willing to give up capitalism entirely.


This, I think, is where you've crucially but subtly misunderstood something. I'm obviously not speaking for everyone, but I see signs that I'm at least not alone in my view:

Closed-source products are not in themselves a problem, and if someone has written something obviously better, I might pay for it. That, however, doesn't in any way depend on software patents: Even if they were completely invalidated tomorrow, that would hardly turn openoffice into office 2010 overnight, or tuxracer into NFS:Shift. It's not patents on underlying ideas that gives them a competitive edge, it's the labour and (arguably) design vision.

Another sort of separate thing is that many opensource apps steadily improve until they're good enough to compete with the for-profit alternatives - how many people pay for a C compiler today? It's a shame if you make a living providing those alternatives, but at the same time it's a benefit for the rest of the world, both directly (one less thing to pay for) and indirectly: It ought to drive those selling software to come up with steadily more compelling products to compete against the OSS "baseline".

Besides, it works better for some types of software than others; the opensource process is better at technical tools than creative efforts, so there's a huge niche left open.

Edited 2011-02-13 12:21 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: M(umblety)Peg
by atsureki on Sun 13th Feb 2011 22:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: M(umblety)Peg"
atsureki Member since:
2006-03-12

Closed-source products are not in themselves a problem, and if someone has written something obviously better, I might pay for it. That, however, doesn't in any way depend on software patents: Even if they were completely invalidated tomorrow, that would hardly turn openoffice into office 2010 overnight, or tuxracer into NFS:Shift. It's not patents on underlying ideas that gives them a competitive edge, it's the labour and (arguably) design vision.



Thank you, that was a good counterpoint that I enjoyed reading.

The quote from my parent post you were more or less addressing directly was one of my (many) attempts to vent some frustration at this site's apparent hatred of all things Apple. Readers here seem to despise propriety above all else, from the curated garden to the hardware exclusivity to patented gestures, despite the fact that none of those things unfairly inhibits competition from companies that decide to do it differently. Meanwhile ruthlessness, dishonesty, and monopolistic force from Microsoft get a pass just because they broadly license their platform onto cheap hardware, and bald-faced cloning by F/LOSS is celebrated because, hey, free beer (and it is definitely about the beer, not the speech, or there wouldn't be so many recent threads siding with Flash). So while you make a good point about competition without patents, I didn't see any new explanations for the rest of the biases I've observed.

However, it should also be noted that your reasoning applies just as well against all patents, not just software. And indeed, knockoffs of mainstream tech force cutting-edge innovations and drive prices down across the market, so all that's good about the principle applies in the realm of physical inventions, but where we run into the biggest problem on both sides is where there is either a) a massive outlay of initial capital to design something relatively simple to reproduce and then undersell the inventor (think pharmaceuticals, which are not legally protected), or b) a brilliant invention from someone who's not well-established that can easily be stolen away by a big company with an engineering department, as happened when auto makers decided they didn't need to license the patent for intermittent windshield wipers but went ahead and installed them anyway.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: M(umblety)Peg
by TheGZeus on Mon 14th Feb 2011 00:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: M(umblety)Peg"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

No one lauds flash here, that I can see.
I see people saying "well, people on XP can use a good browser, or use flash" when talking about HTML5 video.
Or "flash as a fallback" for browsers that aren't HTML5 capable... etc. Same argument presented differently.
The point is, no one really likes flash. What they like is 'no h264 in standards' because of patent lawsuit threats.

So when people say "I want to serve h264! I hate <other standard/company/whatever>!" the response is often "then use flash, because only two browsers support h264".

I stated that idea 4 different ways, in hopes that one of them is understood.

Here's a 5th:
People don't like flash.
People hate h264 html5 video.
Some people like to flail about and sing the praises of anything they can do on their iFoo, and rail against anything that requires even a simple software installation.
"Then use flash and shut up" is the only thing one can say in response.
Present a stupid problem, get a stupid solution.

Plain enough for you?
Do I have flashplayer installed? Yeah. I'm on youtube a fair bit (vlogging, blah blah), and not everything is in webm yet, nor do I have a new enough xulrunner installed, and my browser isn't 100% working on 1.9.3 anyway.
I hate flash, I hate that it's proprietary software, I hate the way it works, I hate that it's a program running inside a program, and that it steals focus and interacts poorly when the browser wants it at the same time.
The 64-bit Linux version is awful.
Maybe one of the open implementations will meet/surpass it at some point, but right now I just say "ugh" and let it eat my cpu cycles.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: M(umblety)Peg
by Soulbender on Mon 14th Feb 2011 06:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: M(umblety)Peg"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Meanwhile ruthlessness, dishonesty, and monopolistic force from Microsoft get a pass just because they broadly license their platform onto cheap hardware, and bald-faced cloning by F/LOSS is celebrated because, hey, free beer (and it is definitely about the beer, not the speech, or there wouldn't be so many recent threads siding with Flash)


I don't know what site you've been reading but it can't be this one. MS is not given a free pass, quite the contrary. If anything they're even more scalded than Apple.
Also, what bald-faced OSS cloning supports Flash? That didnt even make sense.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: M(umblety)Peg
by nicholasj on Mon 14th Feb 2011 09:42 UTC in reply to "RE: M(umblety)Peg"
nicholasj Member since:
2008-12-10

There are some great points here, thanks for the post.

However, your final point about Google using their early access to the iPhone to build Android doesn't take account of the fact that Andy Rubin's Android Inc pre-dates (or at least is extremely contemporaneous with) what is publicly known about the start of the iPhone project.

http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phone...

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

Reply Score: 2

I agree, but
by Carewolf on Fri 11th Feb 2011 16:51 UTC
Carewolf
Member since:
2005-09-08

Thom, I agree with you, but still... Headlines like that bugs me, true of not. A little superficial journalist professionalism would make this site a lot easier to just pass off as the "absolute truth" ;)

Reply Score: 6

RE: I agree, but
by Bending Unit on Fri 11th Feb 2011 22:25 UTC in reply to "I agree, but"
Bending Unit Member since:
2005-07-06

Called OSNews but is really OSBlog and that is the way I like it!

Reply Score: 6

RE: I agree, but
by vodoomoth on Sat 12th Feb 2011 12:39 UTC in reply to "I agree, but"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

I understand you but I'm not sure I come here for "professional journalism" (no offense to the editors). Learning the language constructs, the contents of the news and especially the comments draw me here, not how good a journalist Thom is. Is Thom a journalist anyway? Rhetorical question; I don't care.

Edited 2011-02-12 12:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I agree, but
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 12th Feb 2011 13:05 UTC in reply to "RE: I agree, but"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I'm not. I'm an idiot.

Those might sound the same, but the difference is that a journalist gets paid, idiots do not.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: I agree, but
by vodoomoth on Sat 12th Feb 2011 19:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I agree, but"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

Just to make things clearer, I hope you don't feel insulted by my previous comment; it was meant to convey that your degrees don't matter to me given that (like I've told you before) I do appreciate the work editors do here.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I agree, but
by imaginant on Sun 13th Feb 2011 15:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I agree, but"
imaginant Member since:
2010-02-26

I've made OSNews a daily read for many years, long before I registered. It is one of the few sites that provide reasonable and well-considered analysis and points of view. The comments are similar and rarely outside the bounds of decency. Whatever you want to call yourself, I, for one, appreciate this site above all other technical news sites. Your and all other OSNews contributers are greatly appreciated. If you are an idiot, I can only wish I could join such an esteemed group. But, as a technical lightweight, I will be content with just having a source that helps me made sense of what is happening in the tech world. Así, usted tiene mi agradecimiento.

Reply Score: 2

Now, this is interesting
by Neolander on Fri 11th Feb 2011 17:07 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

Anyone wants some popcorns ? I've made them using a patented algorithm, but as long as you eat them before December 31, 2015, you'll probably be fine.

Edited 2011-02-11 17:08 UTC

Reply Score: 1

We want to sue, but can't.
by amadensor on Fri 11th Feb 2011 17:33 UTC
amadensor
Member since:
2006-04-10

We don't have any patents that this infringes on. Do you have some we could borrow?

Reply Score: 24

light in the tunnel
by fran on Fri 11th Feb 2011 18:54 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

I look forward to stuff like these coming to fruition.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9205898/Patent_reform_debate...

Reply Score: 2

This is actually good
by sukru on Fri 11th Feb 2011 19:55 UTC
sukru
Member since:
2006-11-19

This will be a great test for WebM. If MPEG-LA fails, it will be proven to be patent-free, even if they succeed, we'll know about the problems before head.

If would be much worse, if there were a submarine patent that's unearthed 5 years in the future, when everybody has already switched to WebM. That would be much like the GIF/MP3 disasters.

Edited 2011-02-11 19:55 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: This is actually good
by elsewhere on Sat 12th Feb 2011 04:39 UTC in reply to "This is actually good"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

This will be a great test for WebM. If MPEG-LA fails, it will be proven to be patent-free, even if they succeed, we'll know about the problems before head.

If would be much worse, if there were a submarine patent that's unearthed 5 years in the future, when everybody has already switched to WebM. That would be much like the GIF/MP3 disasters.


MPEG-LA isn't an authority though. They simply license the patents that are made available to them. It's entirely possible that a submarine patent is lying somewhere in wait for H.264. Unlikely, but MPEG-LA can't guarantee there isn't.

If you want to submarine webm, it wouldn't make sense to show your cards now, it could kill it before it takes off. Better to wait until it becomes more widespread.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: This is actually good
by vodoomoth on Sat 12th Feb 2011 12:37 UTC in reply to "RE: This is actually good"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

" If would be much worse, if there were a submarine patent that's unearthed 5 years in the future, when everybody has already switched to WebM. That would be much like the GIF/MP3 disasters.


If you want to submarine webm, it wouldn't make sense to show your cards now, it could kill it before it takes off. Better to wait until it becomes more widespread.
"
Guys, what are you saying? Wouldn't the judges dismiss the whole case with that obvious strategy?

Reply Score: 2

Comment by t3RRa
by t3RRa on Sat 12th Feb 2011 04:02 UTC
t3RRa
Member since:
2005-11-22

It means they could not find any infringements right? So its MPEG-LA the patent troll.

Reply Score: 2

WTF
by Tuishimi on Sat 12th Feb 2011 06:23 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

I know this comment does not contribute much, but my response to this is just that...

WTF?!

I don't swear much, but the word "*ssh*les" also came to mind. Man oh man. I'm going to go watch Fringe.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by smitty
by smitty on Sat 12th Feb 2011 06:50 UTC
smitty
Member since:
2005-10-13

So this basically means that they don't currently have any patents, right? They're basically asking everyone out there to see if anyone else does.

We'll see what happens. Best case scenario is that they can't find anything, and VP8 gets considered a lot safer. That would probably be enough for MS to include the codec into Windows/IE9. As well as give Apple a face-saving opportunity if they wish to stand down from their stance. Worst case, I guess we all find out that VP8 is heavily patented, but at least we all find out now and not 5 years from now when everything depends on it.

MPEG-LA is clearly seeing that VP8 is about to take off, this is their only chance to stop it.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by smitty
by pgeorgi on Sat 12th Feb 2011 08:55 UTC in reply to "Comment by smitty"
pgeorgi Member since:
2010-02-18

MPEG-LA is clearly seeing that VP8 is about to take off, this is their only chance to stop it.

I doubt their interest is in stopping VP8. They merely want to get their share

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by smitty
by lemur2 on Sat 12th Feb 2011 11:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by smitty"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"MPEG-LA is clearly seeing that VP8 is about to take off, this is their only chance to stop it.

I doubt their interest is in stopping VP8. They merely want to get their share
"

They don't have a share of WebM.

I'm not saying they don't want to take a share, I'm saying only that they don't have one.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by smitty
by steogede2 on Mon 14th Feb 2011 12:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by smitty"
steogede2 Member since:
2007-08-17

"MPEG-LA is clearly seeing that VP8 is about to take off, this is their only chance to stop it.

I doubt their interest is in stopping VP8. They merely want to get their share
"

If VP8 really takes off, then the number of organisations willing to pay to licence h.264 is going to shrink drastically. They don't want a share of nothing (VP8 licencing revenue), they want to keep the market all to themselves. MPEG-LA might be a small threat to Google's profitability, but Google/VP8 could all but destroy MPEG-LA.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by smitty
by smitty on Mon 14th Feb 2011 18:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by smitty"
smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

If VP8 really takes off, then the number of organisations willing to pay to licence h.264 is going to shrink drastically. They don't want a share of nothing (VP8 licencing revenue), they want to keep the market all to themselves. MPEG-LA might be a small threat to Google's profitability, but Google/VP8 could all but destroy MPEG-LA.

I don't think VP8 could ever destroy the MPEG-LA, it's not designed for a lot of the uses the h264 is good at. They're going to make a lot of money of h264 no matter what.

What it could do is provide competition, instead of giving them a virtual monopoly. That's something they desperately don't want to happen, because it means they can't suddenly raise licensing fees 1000% one day and have everyone forced to pay up - they'll have to actually compete against VP8 which will restrain them.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by smitty
by vodoomoth on Sat 12th Feb 2011 12:37 UTC in reply to "Comment by smitty"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

So this basically means that they don't currently have any patents, right? They're basically asking everyone out there to see if anyone else does.

Yes. Which makes me wonder how this will play out in a court of law before the judge (and jury if applicable in this kind of cases). I know that if I were a member of that jury, knowing of this "call for patents in order to sue" would be enough for me to disregard the complaints even if they would have otherwise been perfectly legitimate. But I also know the judiciary system doesn't allow that kind of superficial assessment or reaction from a juror... does it?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by smitty
by lemur2 on Sat 12th Feb 2011 13:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by smitty"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"So this basically means that they don't currently have any patents, right? They're basically asking everyone out there to see if anyone else does.

Yes. Which makes me wonder how this will play out in a court of law before the judge (and jury if applicable in this kind of cases). I know that if I were a member of that jury, knowing of this "call for patents in order to sue" would be enough for me to disregard the complaints even if they would have otherwise been perfectly legitimate. But I also know the judiciary system doesn't allow that kind of superficial assessment or reaction from a juror... does it?
"

I think that there is a law that applies almost perfectly to what MPEG LA seem to be trying to do here:

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

Google does have a number of perfectly legal business relationships with this set of companies and organisations:
http://www.webmproject.org/about/supporters/

Google's relationship with those companies is based on the WebM technology being offered perpetually to everyone worldwide, no charge, irrevocably and royalty free.

It seems to be a slam dunk case that MPEG LA are trying to interfere with those relationships.

Reply Score: 2

.
by Icaria on Sat 12th Feb 2011 13:22 UTC
Icaria
Member since:
2010-06-19

Competing with free is one thing but it seems outright evil to try and hobble a free standard for your own personal gain - and not even that; if someone does look into their patent portfolio at the behest of MPEG-LA and finds something, there's no guarantee that MPEG-LA will see a dime of that. The headline should read '[Probable] Sore Loser Goes on Shooting Rampage'.

Reply Score: 5

Patens in VP8 ? I know VP2 was ok
by Lennie on Sat 12th Feb 2011 18:00 UTC
Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

EDIT: I made a mistake in the subject, should have been VP3

Have a look at the video it tells you the story about VP3 at http://videos.mozilla.org/serv/air_mozilla/video-codec-discussion.o... on this page:

http://air.mozilla.com/open-video-codec-discussion-at-mozilla/

On2 is the company Google bought and what got them VP8 (which is the codec in WebM).

On2 was also the company that create VP3, which they donated to Xiph who based Ogg Theora on VP3.

Now on the patents, I think VP3 is just fine in theory. I don't know enough about VP8 to judge about that.

But I do know patents in general suck and their are some really stupid patents which patent very general things like the if-statement in programming languages.

But those patents don't mean anything in real life if the defending party has enough money to fight it in court.

Edited 2011-02-12 18:14 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Abuse of Monopoly Power anyone?
by korpenkraxar on Sat 12th Feb 2011 19:29 UTC
korpenkraxar
Member since:
2005-09-10

If they go after every competing technology, shouldn't it be a pretty straightforward monopoly case for the courts?

Reply Score: 3

This is all for the best.
by kristoph on Sun 13th Feb 2011 05:27 UTC
kristoph
Member since:
2006-01-01

This MPEG-LA action is all for the best. Either they don't find any patents or they find some and those can be addressed (either by disputing their validity or by establishing some royalty regime).

Either way it will elimate the FUD that gets slung at webM.

K

Reply Score: 2

RE: This is all for the best.
by lemur2 on Sun 13th Feb 2011 07:18 UTC in reply to "This is all for the best."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

This MPEG-LA action is all for the best. Either they don't find any patents or they find some and those can be addressed (either by disputing their validity or by establishing some royalty regime).

Either way it will elimate the FUD that gets slung at webM.

K


Not at all. The great value in WebM is that no royalties apply.

As long as no royalties apply, there will be vested interests desperately trying to convince everyone that royalties should apply ... said royalties somehow magically being due to them, who did not invent or write WebM.

Reply Score: 3

lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

On WebM again: freedom, quality, patents

http://carlodaffara.conecta.it/on-webm-again-freedom-quality-patent...

This article is a very good read. It would seem that MPEG LA actually have no applicable non-expired patents against WebM in their own pool, hence this call to others.

Reply Score: 2

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chenyan66
Member since:
2011-02-16

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Reply Score: 1