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[4]: Greed
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 09:06 UTC 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[6]: Greed
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 22:41 in reply to "RE[5]: Greed"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

" 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. "

Its pure greed.

It's a working system that the vast majority of economists support it.


Pfft. I've never heard any economist supporting the idea that large software companies should get paid a 500% ROI ongoing year-over-year ... for essentially doing nothing.

Any economist who does support such a notion is probably being paid by the people who are perpetrating the rip-off.

For many types of intellectual property there is no natural incentive to create it if unlimited duplication is allowed. Capital will go elsewhere.


Good. h.264 has made its money a thousand times over by now. It is about time now that the money was invested elsewhere in the economy, where it might do some good.

" 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. "

Geeting more back than you paid out is reasonable, it is called ROI. One might reasonably hope for a 20%, 30%, 40% ROI.

MPEG ROI for h.264 in their first years was probably in the region of 1000%. Now they want an ongoing take of hundreds of millions per year for no ongoing outlay at all.

" 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. "

It NO LONGER provides any benefit at all. It is merely an ongiong cost, a pure drain on the economy, and an unearned tax-like income for MPEG LA.

Edited 2010-03-02 22:43 UTC

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[6]: Greed
by lemur2 on Wed 3rd Mar 2010 02:16 in reply to "RE[5]: Greed"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"...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. "

If we step away from deluded "economic thinking" mumbo-jumbo for a second, and examine exactly what circumstances it can possibly benefit society to pay back year-after-year many times the amount being invested in something ... we would come up blank.

What you are trying to say actually makes no sense at all in the light of day.

Also, in the normal situation with IP and ROI, there is a small extra cost imposed on the initial purchase of something. Take a digital TV as an example, which may well have patented technology embedded in it. No-one is charged every time they watch the TV, once the TV is purchased, it is purchased.

So how come producers of codecs get to charge per use, and society pays hundreds of millions year upon year?

Edited 2010-03-03 02:17 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2