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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RE[2]: Greed
by elsewhere on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 07:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Greed"
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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...

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