Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 31st Jan 2010 14:20 UTC, submitted by lemur2
Internet & Networking Despite the recent interest in adopting HTML5's video tag, there is still one major problem: there is no mandated standard video codec for the video tag. The two main contestants are the proprietary and patended h264, and the open and free Theora. In a comment on an LWN.net article about this problematic situation, LWN reader Trelane posted an email exchange he had with MPEG-LA, which should further cement Theora as the obvious choice.
Thread beginning with comment 407337
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[5]: Patently absurd
by modmans2ndcoming on Tue 2nd Feb 2010 00:24 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Patently absurd"
modmans2ndcoming
Member since:
2005-11-09

as long as you view it with a licensed tool (WMP for instance) then you are covered.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Patently absurd
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Feb 2010 01:03 in reply to "RE[5]: Patently absurd"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

as long as you view it with a licensed tool (WMP for instance) then you are covered.


Not quite.

Here is what MPEG LA actually claimed:
"Our MPEG-4 Visual Patent Portfolio License includes 29 patent owners contributing more than 900 patents that are essential for use of the MPEG-4 Visual (Part 2) Standard. Our AVC Patent Portfolio License includes 25 patent owners contributing more than 1,000 patents that are essential for use of AVC/H.264 Standard ("MPEG-4 Part 10").

Under the Licenses, coverage is provided and rights are granted for (a) manufacturers to make and sell MPEG-4 Visual/AVC Products and (b) for such MPEG-4 Visual/AVC Products to be used to deliver MPEG-4 Visual/AVC Video content. The Licenses were set up this way so as to apportion the royalty at points in the product/service chain where value is received, and also to not place the full royalty burden on one party in the chain (e.g., an encoder maker).

In response to your specific question, under the Licenses royalties are paid on all MPEG-4 Visual/AVC products of like functionality, and the Licenses do not make any distinction for products offered for free (whether open source or otherwise). But, I do note that the Licenses addresses this issue by including annual minimum thresholds below which no royalties are payable in order to encourage adoption and minimize the impact on lower volume users. In addition, the Licenses also include maximum annual royalty caps to provide more cost predictability for larger volume users.

I would also like to mention that while our Licenses are not concluded by End Users, anyone in the product chain has liability if an end product is unlicensed. Therefore, a royalty paid for an end product by the end product supplier would render the product licensed in the hands of the End User, but where a royalty has not been paid, such a product remains unlicensed and any downstream users/distributors would have liability.

Therefore, we suggest that all End Users deal with products only from licensed suppliers."


The important bits are as follows: "anyone in the product chain has liability if an end product is unlicensed" and "but where a royalty has not been paid, such a product remains unlicensed and any downstream users/distributors would have liability", and finally "Under the Licenses, coverage is provided and rights are granted for (a) manufacturers to make and sell MPEG-4 Visual/AVC Products and (b) for such MPEG-4 Visual/AVC Products to be used to deliver MPEG-4 Visual/AVC Video content".

So, presumably, if you use a licensed tool (such as WMP as you suggest) then MPEG LA claim you have met their license requirements for (a) above. However, you still aren't guaranteed anything about (b) above. The people who made some h264-encoded video that you are watching, or the people who delivered it to you, may not have had a license from MPEG-LA to do so. According to MPEG-LA, you are liable.

Reply Parent Score: 2