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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Patents Expired
by dspark76 on Sun 2nd May 2010 15:40 UTC
dspark76
Member since:
2010-05-02

With so many of MPEG LA's patents expired as of last year or the begining of this year, their claims about being unable to make a decoder without their patents might not be as true as it once was. Remember patents only last about 20 years, so any technology ideas that was available in 1990 is now public domain...

See: http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/M2/Pages/PatentList.aspx

For a the MPEG 2 patent list...

Reply Score: 1

H.261 and MASCAM
by jrincayc on Mon 3rd May 2010 02:45 in reply to "Patents Expired"
jrincayc Member since:
2007-07-24

Yes, a usable version of H.261 came out in December 1990, so that counts as prior art for any US patent filed after December 1991. MASCAM, a subband audio coding system similar to MPEG-1 layer 2 audio came out in 1988. So if someone wanted, they could make a video and audio codec out of those, and probably be fairly safe. It would take more bandwidth than Ogg Theora and Vorbis, but would be better than Motion JPEG and PCM.

Reply Parent Score: 1