Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 16th May 2010 12:52 UTC, submitted by mrsteveman1
Internet & Networking Mozilla, sticking to its ideals of the open web, decided long ago that support for the patent-encumbered H264 codec would not be included in any of its products. Not only is H264 wholly incompatible with the open web and Free software, it is also incredibly expensive. Mozilla could use one of the open source implementations, but those are not licensed, and the MPEG-LA has been quite clear in that it will sue those who encode or decode H264 content without a license. Software patents, however, are only valid in some parts of the world, so an enterprising developer has started a project that was sure to come eventually: Firefox builds with H264 support.
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RE[3]: ...
by darknexus on Sun 16th May 2010 20:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

This is a common misconception. Using it is not illegal. Distributing unlicensed MPEG codecs from inside the US etc. is illegal under under the condition that more than 100,000 copies are distributed per year. (Distributing less than 100,000 is free according to the MPEG-LA's AVC licensing website.)


True, though best to keep in mind that MPEG-LA has threatened to go after anyone they find using an unlicensed decoder or encoder. That in and of itself doesn't make it illegal to use (that'd be for the courts to decide) but no doubt the legal fees to defend against the MPEG-LA would bankrupt your typical US citizen.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: ...
by KAMiKAZOW on Sun 16th May 2010 20:23 in reply to "RE[3]: ..."
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

MPEG-LA has threatened to go after anyone they find using an unlicensed decoder or encoder

That's a claim I've read often, but the actual MPEG-LA website says otherwise. In fact, the MPEG-LA does not even have a licensing program for users. They only have one for distributors and even distributors don't have to pay anything as long as they don't have more than 100,000 customers per year.

the legal fees to defend against the MPEG-LA would bankrupt your typical US citizen

Giving a free ride for anyone who distributes 99,999 copies per year, but suing individual users who don't have a license, because they can't even obtain one? That does not make sense.

Such a case won't even be accepted by courts.

Edited 2010-05-16 20:27 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: ...
by smitty on Sun 16th May 2010 22:08 in reply to "RE[4]: ..."
smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

That's a claim I've read often, but the actual MPEG-LA website says otherwise.

Source? They've made it clear that anyone using an unlicensed implementation is breaking the law, and that they reserve the right to sue in that case.

In fact, the MPEG-LA does not even have a licensing program for users.

But that doesn't matter. They have no obligation to provide you the means to license it, and can still sue anyone who uses it without a license.

Giving a free ride for anyone who distributes 99,999 copies per year, but suing individual users who don't have a license, because they can't even obtain one? That does not make sense.

Probably not, but look at the MPAA and RIAA. They went after individual users to try to create a public example to deter others. Sometimes it's easier to go after the little users than the larger groups distributing, which can always just move their servers somewhere else.

Such a case won't even be accepted by courts.

Now that's just silly, of course it would. You're trying to look at this using common sense, but that's something that has no place in a court of law.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: ...
by apoclypse on Mon 17th May 2010 02:06 in reply to "RE[3]: ..."
apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

If GStreamer or the native platform player is used then there would be no issues with legality. Ubuntu paid the licensing fees for h.264, both OSX and Win7 have h codec included in the OS on top of all the hardware that has licenses as well. They should be covered depending on how they implement it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: ...
by lemur2 on Mon 17th May 2010 02:17 in reply to "RE[4]: ..."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

If GStreamer or the native platform player is used then there would be no issues with legality. Ubuntu paid the licensing fees for h.264, both OSX and Win7 have h codec included in the OS on top of all the hardware that has licenses as well. They should be covered depending on how they implement it.


Ubuntu paid the h.264 licensing fees only for its enterprise customers.

Reply Parent Score: 3