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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RE[3]: So...
by bhtooefr on Sat 1st May 2010 23:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: So..."
bhtooefr
Member since:
2009-02-19

The other thing is, it's in Google's interest to see all these patents get destroyed, at least right now.

And Google owns VP3, which predates H.264, and which Apple is possibly assembling a patent pool to combat.

Time for a pre-emptive strike against H.264. Google, sue the hell out of the MPEG LA for infringing on On2's patents.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: So...
by shotsman on Sun 2nd May 2010 06:34 in reply to "RE[3]: So..."
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

All that will happen is that the various patent owners who have stuff in H.264 will sue Google. Google will countersue. Look at the antics around Touch Screens on Mobile Phones.

Then we will be into 7+ years of lawsuits, appeals, trials, appeals, trials and yet more appeals. And that is just in the USA. Look at the SCO case...

The ONLY winners will be the hordes of Lawyers employed by both sides.

The ONLY way for this to be resolved is for SCOTUS to rule on Bilski and outlaw software patents.
Then we will have a much more level playing field.
IANAL etc but all I can say to them all is
-
A plague on all of you.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: So...
by bhtooefr on Sun 2nd May 2010 11:00 in reply to "RE[4]: So..."
bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

Right, it would be everyone suing everyone with entire patent portfolios.

A lot of patents would get invalidated, so while the lawyers would win, I think the patent system would be band-aided in that way. In addition, it would cripple the economy, and companies would be desperate to get patent reform pushed through.

Reply Parent Score: 1

It is not so simple
by jrincayc on Sun 2nd May 2010 14:20 in reply to "RE[3]: So..."
jrincayc Member since:
2007-07-24

VP3 came after some of MPEG-LA's H.264 patents. Take a look at the complete list. Basically, there are H.264 patents that predate VP3. So it is possible that MPEG-LA does have patents that read on VP3.

It is possible that there are H.264 patents that VP3 would count as prior art for and are invalid. It is also possible that the H.264 patents that were filed after VP3 are on new techniques, and cannot be invalidated that way.

http://lists.whatwg.org/htdig.cgi/whatwg-whatwg.org/2009-July/02073...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: It is not so simple
by lemur2 on Mon 3rd May 2010 07:11 in reply to "It is not so simple"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

So it is possible that MPEG-LA does have patents that read on VP3.


How is it possible? If for ten years VP3 used technology for which someone had a valid prior patent, why didn't they sue On2?

It is possible that there are H.264 patents that VP3 would count as prior art for and are invalid.


True. However, if it was patentable, why didn't On2 include it in the patents that they DID get for VP3 (and which they subsequently gave Xiph.org permission to use in Theora). If a technology wasn't patentable by On2 at the time of release of VP3, then why would it be patentable for some other party later on?

It is also possible that the H.264 patents that were filed after VP3 are on new techniques, and cannot be invalidated that way.


If they are new techniques after VP3, then VP3 doesn't use them.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: So...
by wovel on Tue 4th May 2010 01:13 in reply to "RE[3]: So..."
wovel Member since:
2010-05-04

That might be a steep hill to climb since On2 is a licensee of MPEG-LA...So is google, but that is less relevant to your idea.

Microsoft, Apple, and Samsung (maybe even Sony) all would be better of if the patents were disolved (They pay more than they make from the pool). I am not sure who is actually making the lions share of the profits from the pool, but it would take a significant portion of the rest of the group to put pressure on them.

Reply Parent Score: 1