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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It is not so simple
by jrincayc on Sun 2nd May 2010 14:20 UTC 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[2]: It is not so simple
by jrincayc on Mon 3rd May 2010 12:23 in reply to "RE: It is not so simple"
jrincayc Member since:
2007-07-24

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


There is no requirement that they sue. I agree that not suing is evidence that their is no H.264 patents that read on VP3. However I think that this does not provide an iron clad guarantee of VP3's patent freeness. If there are patent lawsuits that involve the Doctrine of Laches, then maybe I am wrong.

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


True probably for decoding, but since Theora encoders continue to have improvements made on them, some of them may infringe even though it is possible to encode Theora patent free.

Edited 2010-05-03 12:24 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1