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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Congratulations
by visconde_de_sabugosa on Sat 1st May 2010 23:01 UTC
visconde_de_sabugosa
Member since:
2005-11-14

Congratulations for your article, Eugenia. I agree entirely with your ideas.

I think that the root of the problem is that today in USA companies are patenting signal-processing algorithms ! It is like patenting mathematics !

Processing an unidimensional signal like sound or bidimensional signal like an image or a tridimensional signal like a video is a mathematical algorithm.

Imagine if in the past companies had patented the Fourier Transform

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourier_transform

and we had to pay royalties to use it. We simply would not have many communication and electronic products and services.

Reply Score: 9

RE: Congratulations
by Trenien on Sun 2nd May 2010 21:30 in reply to "Congratulations"
Trenien Member since:
2007-10-11

Which is exactly why this part of Eugenia's otherwise very insightful article is actually not true:
that they could make liable the whole EU/US population, and beyond

So far, the pro-patent lobbies haven't been able to have the software patents validated over here in Europe. So for now, European countries are safe from that nightmare mechanism.

Of course, it may not last as said the pro-patents (the Commission, among others) have used every loophole they could so that Parliament couldn't forbid them right out. But I think that may be one of the reason the MPEG-LA won't really try to flex its legal muscle too much in the US. Doing so would be too great an argument against to play in the EU Parliament (whose MPs have been renewed last year).
I guess the pro-patents are going to give it another try before 2015 (third or fourth, I can't remember)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Congratulations
by TemporalBeing on Mon 3rd May 2010 18:27 in reply to "RE: Congratulations"
TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

Which is exactly why this part of Eugenia's otherwise very insightful article is actually not true:
that they could make liable the whole EU/US population, and beyond

So far, the pro-patent lobbies haven't been able to have the software patents validated over here in Europe. So for now, European countries are safe from that nightmare mechanism.


And it looks like SCOTUS may invalidate software patents in the US with the Bilski ruling expected in June too; or at the very least make it a lot harder to obtain/enforce software patents.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Congratulations
by FunkyELF on Mon 3rd May 2010 21:06 in reply to "RE: Congratulations"
FunkyELF Member since:
2006-07-26

So far, the pro-patent lobbies haven't been able to have the software patents validated over here in Europe. So for now, European countries are safe from that nightmare mechanism.


"Safe, for now" is not the same as "Safe". Its rather uncertain (the U in FUD).

Reply Parent Score: 2