Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sat 1st May 2010 22:17 UTC
Legal We've all heard how the h.264 is rolled over on patents and royalties. Even with these facts, I kept supporting the best-performing "delivery" codec in the market, which is h.264. "Let the best win", I kept thinking. But it wasn't until very recently when I was made aware that the problem is way deeper. No, my friends. It's not just a matter of just "picking Theora" to export a video to Youtube and be clear of any litigation. MPEG-LA's trick runs way deeper! The [street-smart] people at MPEG-LA have made sure that from the moment we use a camera or camcorder to shoot an mpeg2 (e.g. HDV cams) or h.264 video (e.g. digicams, HD dSLRs, AVCHD cams), we owe them royalties, even if the final video distributed was not encoded using their codecs! Let me show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

UPDATE: Engadget just wrote a reply to this article. The article says that you don't need an extra license to shoot commercial video with h.264 cameras, but I wonder why the license says otherwise, and Engadget's "quotes" of user/filmmaker indemnification by MPEG-LA are anonymous...

UPDATE 2: Engadget's editor replied to me. So according to him, the quotes are not anonymous, but organization-wide on purpose. If that's the case, I guess this concludes that. And I can take them on their word from now on.

UPDATE 3: And regarding royalties (as opposed to just licensing), one more reply by Engadget's editor.

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Arrogance at it's finest
by tyrione on Sat 1st May 2010 22:59 UTC
Member since:

You see, there is something VERY important, that the vast majority of both consumers and video professionals don't know: ALL modern video cameras and camcorders that shoot in h.264 or mpeg2, come with a license agreement that says that you can only use that camera to shoot video for "personal use and non-commercial" purposes (go on, read your manuals).

Truly ignorant.

Wake me up when you're shooting for National Geographic or on the next James Cameron film. According to you, the odds of them being non-ignorant are remote.

Reply Score: -11

RE: Arrogance at it's finest
by Kroc on Sat 1st May 2010 23:04 in reply to "Arrogance at it's finest"
Kroc Member since:

And I bet you, statistically speaking, the BBC, National Geographic, and James Cameron have slipped up a licence somewhere at least once; such that if the MPEG-LA had the powers to bust in and check everything with a fine-toothed comb they would find a violation. This has happened to companies before with software licences when FACT have busted down the door (which they have the legal authority to do) and someone in the business accidentally, and innocently installed something wrong on the wrong machine, and BLAMO—$20’000 fine.

Licencing is crazy complicated, and human beings don’t think and act in a common-sense fashion that matches with what licencing dictates. All it takes is one video engineer to copy one video to the wrong computer to just 'fix a problem'.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Arrogance at it's finest
by Eugenia on Sat 1st May 2010 23:04 in reply to "Arrogance at it's finest"
Eugenia Member since:

It is not arrogance, it's common sense and experience with the video community (where I'm very active at).

The kind of pros you're mentioning have lawyers, so they're probably covered.

But so many of these other videographers, who shoot weddings, and many indie filmmakers, I can assure you, they don't know of that license restriction. Most people don't read their license agreements. And let's not forget that these pro/semi-pros are making up the vast majority of all pro filmmakers anyway. So if I was going to make a guess and say that 99% of the video pros don't know about this restriction, I would probably not be too far off. Sure, it's still a number out of my ass, but I'm confident that it's not far off.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Arrogance at it's finest
by Soulbender on Sun 2nd May 2010 04:56 in reply to "Arrogance at it's finest"
Soulbender Member since:

Truly ignorant.

It takes one to know one.

Reply Parent Score: 4