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[3]: Greed
by nt_jerkface on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 07:49 UTC 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[5]: Greed
by nt_jerkface on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 17:37 in reply to "RE[4]: Greed"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

This is the precise logical disconnect with IP laws. How exactly does artificially restricting and penalising users create value or reward anyone?


The value is in the intellectual property and through limited reproduction and usage you reward the creator. It's a working system that the vast majority of economists support it. For many types of intellectual property there is no natural incentive to create it if unlimited duplication is allowed. Capital will go elsewhere.


Once the initial investment in research effort has been paid for, under what perverse moral code is it still valid to fleece users thereafter?

It's not a non-profit system. They want more than an equal return on their investment. You can't have intellectual property development be less profitable than a CD or money market account.


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.


It does provide tangible benefits, namely bandwidth and storage savings which is why companies pay to use it. Also note that h.264 was completed in 2003 which is well before Theora became a competitive alternative.

I don't think the benefits of h.264 outweigh its costs in the area of HTML5 video however. I think this is a situation where "good enough tech" should be chosen for its flexibility.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Greed
by mkone on Wed 3rd Mar 2010 00:14 in reply to "RE[4]: Greed"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

...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?...


You are making the mistake of equating value with price. The two are not the same. Not by a long shot. The value of a copy of software differs for different people. Think of the value of a copy of software as the maximum amount one would pay for it if that was the only way one could acquire the software. The price is normally set at the level at which profits are maximised.

Now, in economic theory, you have a downward sloping demand curve because at lower prices, more people will purchase the product because the perceived value of the product equals or exceeds the price.

In economic terms again, those who value the software highly get a larger benefit because the value far exceeds the price. This is known in economics as the consumer surplus. What the artificial scarcity does is allow the producer of the software to capture more of the consumer surplus, and this is a valid way to encourage creation of such software works. This is the thinking behind copyright laws in general.

Reply Parent Score: 1

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[5]: Greed
by nt_jerkface on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 17:54 in reply to "RE[4]: Greed"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

If you sell HD video over the internet with h.264 you're incorporating that patent into your product. You're saving money through lower bandwidth costs. The MPEG-LA group wants to be compensated for this use.

MPEG-LA creates technology for media companies to use. They can't grant an unlimited license to Final Cut users since that would mean that movie companies who used it would have an unlimited license as well. Pay per blu-ray? No we edited our movie in Final Cut Pro so we don't owe you anything.

As I stated before the return they get from software is peanuts. They're in the movie business. They just allow h.264 use in Final Cut Pro for non-commercial use.

Reply Parent Score: 2

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[5]: Greed
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 10:08 in reply to "RE[4]: Greed"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"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.
"

There is another point to consider: if self-interested companies only provide source material in platform-lock-in formats such as Silverlight, and extortionist pay-us-forever-not-just-once formats such as h.264, then what choice do users have? If they don't comply with the no-choice terms of Silverlight (use Windows) and h.264 (pay royalties even though h.264 research has been paid for) ... then they won't be Internet users at all if the large companies get their way.

Reply Parent Score: 3