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 -APT- on Sun 2nd May 2010 01:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: So..."
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So what can they do? Spread FUD. Scare everyone but without ever actually starting a war. Just threatening with it again and again.

And what can WE do? Use Free codecs and believe that they are really Free. If we start to get scared that they might not be Free after all, they win. If they think that those codecs are not Free, let them take that to court. We'll see what happens.

What can we do?

Spread FUD regarding h.264. So far h.264 has had such an easy ride from people who merely look at it from the technical point of view. Yes, it's probably a better codec than the alternatives - but if it's close to impossible to use a product which uses h.264 for business use without another license then it becomes a useless format.

Remind businesses that any h.264 camera they've got is potentially illegal usage. Remind people who export h.264 video that they can't use it in any slightly commercial way.

It's amazing how some people are getting slightly scared of the potential Ogg Theora minefield when h.264 is a confirmed legal minefield.

Edited 2010-05-02 01:11 UTC

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