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"
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 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:
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 Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Greed
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 09:06 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 Parent Score: 6

RE[4]: Greed
by Soulbender on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 09:09 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 Parent Score: 6

RE[4]: Greed
by phoudoin on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 09:51 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 Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Greed
by dusik on Wed 3rd Mar 2010 02:15 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 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:
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 Parent Score: 2