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: Greed
by vivainio on Mon 1st Mar 2010 22:34 UTC in reply to "Greed"
Member since:

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 Parent Score: 6

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

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 Parent Score: 1

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

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 Parent Score: 9

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

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 Parent Score: 1

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

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 Parent Score: 1

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

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 Parent Score: 2