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: Umh, seriously?
by jrincayc on Sun 2nd May 2010 15:07 UTC in reply to "Umh, seriously?"
jrincayc
Member since:
2007-07-24

No, using x264 can't make you liable.


Why not? I am not a lawyer either, but as I understandi it patent infringement is includes using a patented technique. This is not copyright infringment.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Umh, seriously?
by Kuukunen on Sun 2nd May 2010 18:25 in reply to "RE: Umh, seriously?"
Kuukunen Member since:
2010-03-28

Why not? I am not a lawyer either, but as I understandi it patent infringement is includes using a patented technique. This is not copyright infringment.

Ok, I'll elaborate on it for a bit.
Yes, to be safe from litigation, whenever you do ANYTHING with H.264, in theory you need to make a license agreement with MPEG LA.

But in the case of encoders, it's more a problem of the Seller of the encoders. (Selling also includes providing a free download.)

I'd think the fact Youtube, Vimeo, Hulu and Facebook are using x264 says something.

Did I mention I hate software patents and they should just die.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Umh, seriously?
by jrincayc on Mon 3rd May 2010 02:28 in reply to "RE[2]: Umh, seriously?"
jrincayc Member since:
2007-07-24

Thank you for elaborating. I think for source code, it might be the case that the source code is not considered infringement, just the compiled version running. I could be wrong though. For example the ISO has freely downloadable implementations of MPEG-2.

I am guessing that Youtube, Vimeo, Hulu and Facebook had their lawyers talk to MPEG-LA's lawyers and banged out an agreement that let them use whatever encoding software they choose.

I think no software patents would be vastly preferable to the situation that we have today. Crosses fingers and hopes for a good ruling in Bilski.

Reply Parent Score: 1