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[5]: ...
by smitty on Sun 16th May 2010 22:08 UTC 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[6]: ...
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 17th May 2010 00:09 in reply to "RE[5]: ..."
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

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

Source?
"
You've got to be kidding me. The MPEG-LA website is the source. If you're incapable to visit the site and browse through the AVC licensing terms, you have to learn to use the internet first before you post here.

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.

You asked me for a source, you don't provide one for your claim? Hilarious.

Show me an actual press release by the MPEG-LA that states that non-distributing home users are about to be sued by the MPEG-LA and show me how that would be compatible the the licensing terms.

"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.
"

You're joking, right?
AVC licensing by the MPEG-LA solely centers around distribution: distribution of content and distribution of codecs.
Both kinds of distribution have the same terms: Free of charge under 100,000 copies per year.

Let's say I wanna give my 5 friends videos of my family vacation. When I do it, I'm still way below the 100,000 limit.


look at the MPAA and RIAA.


No. They have nothing to do with this topic.


They went after individual users to try to create a public example to deter others.


Copyrights and patents are even covered by entirely different laws.

Neither MPAA nor RIAA have actual licensing terms posted on their webites that grant free distribution of less than 100,000 copies per year.


Now that's just silly

Don't confuse your state of mind with mine.

Edited 2010-05-17 00:11 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: ...
by lemur2 on Mon 17th May 2010 00:27 in reply to "RE[6]: ..."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

You asked me for a source, you don't provide one for your claim? Hilarious.

Show me an actual press release by the MPEG-LA that states that non-distributing home users are about to be sued by the MPEG-LA and show me how that would be compatible the the licensing terms.


http://lwn.net/Articles/371751/
In response to your specific question, under the Licenses royalties are paid on all MPEG-4 Visual/AVC products of like functionality, and the Licenses do not make any distinction for products offered for free (whether open source or otherwise). But, I do note that the Licenses addresses this issue by including annual minimum thresholds below which no royalties are payable in order to encourage adoption and minimize the impact on lower volume users. In addition, the Licenses also include maximum annual royalty caps to provide more cost predictability for larger volume users.

I would also like to mention that while our Licenses are not concluded by End Users, anyone in the product chain has liability if an end product is unlicensed. Therefore, a royalty paid for an end product by the end product supplier would render the product licensed in the hands of the End User, but where a royalty has not been paid, such a product remains unlicensed and any downstream users/distributors would have liability.


My bold. This was discussed quite broadly at the time:

http://blog.christophersmart.com/2010/02/01/mpeg-la-confirms-h-264-...

http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/roc/archives/2010/01/h264_licensing....

http://www.osnews.com/story/22828/MPEG-LA_Will_Not_Change_h264_Lice...

Fortunately, there is a H.264 decoder embodied in the video card of a good number of systems in use today. Given that people have purchased their video cards, and that the supplier of the video card has paid the license fee, then end users have a license to use that h.264 decoder (embedded within their video card) even if they happen to run an open source OS.

Edited 2010-05-17 00:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[7]: ...
by lemur2 on Mon 17th May 2010 03:02 in reply to "RE[6]: ..."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

AVC licensing by the MPEG-LA solely centers around distribution: distribution of content and distribution of codecs.
Both kinds of distribution have the same terms: Free of charge under 100,000 copies per year.

Let's say I wanna give my 5 friends videos of my family vacation. When I do it, I'm still way below the 100,000 limit.


However, according to Allen Harkness, Director, Global Licensing, MPEG LA:
http://lwn.net/Articles/371751/
"Therefore, a royalty paid for an end product by the end product supplier would render the product licensed in the hands of the End User, but where a royalty has not been paid, such a product remains unlicensed and any downstream users/distributors would have liability."

This means that if the (perhaps Chinese) OEM of the digital camera or mobile smartphone which you used to take your family videos did not pay for a license, then you are liable.

It also means that if any of your friends watch your family video with decoder software where the author of the player has not paid a license (such as ffmpeg/gstreamer, which may be embedded say in an android mobile phone) then your friends are liable.

This type of liability, where the persons (end users) who end up being liable have absolutely no way to check if they are licensed or not, means that H.264 is in reality totally unsuitable for the very type of activity which you give as an example.

Edited 2010-05-17 03:11 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: ...
by smitty on Mon 17th May 2010 03:15 in reply to "RE[6]: ..."
smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

You asked me for a source, you don't provide one for your claim? Hilarious.

Show me an actual press release by the MPEG-LA that states that non-distributing home users are about to be sued by the MPEG-LA and show me how that would be compatible the the licensing terms.

OK, here you are: http://lwn.net/Articles/371751/

The important bit is at the end:
I would also like to mention that while our Licenses are not concluded
by End Users, anyone in the product chain has liability if an end
product is unlicensed. Therefore, a royalty paid for an end product by
the end product supplier would render the product licensed in the hands
of the End User, but where a royalty has not been paid, such a product
remains unlicensed and any downstream users/distributors would have
liability.

Therefore, we suggest that all End Users deal with products only from
licensed suppliers.


Care to show me your source now? That seems pretty darn ironclad to me.


You're joking, right?
AVC licensing by the MPEG-LA solely centers around distribution: distribution of content and distribution of codecs.
Both kinds of distribution have the same terms: Free of charge under 100,000 copies per year.

Let's say I wanna give my 5 friends videos of my family vacation. When I do it, I'm still way below the 100,000 limit

Yeah, but how did you give it to them? I hope you didn't put it up on a public website, because anyone could get to that and easily bump it over the limit. I guess we're back to using snail mail and sending people DVDs. And if you break that distribution rule, then everyone else who took advantage also suddenly broke the rule, without even realizing it. So if you're an innocent user, would you really trust putting your legal liability in the hands of whoever that distributer is?


No. They have nothing to do with this topic.

They stand in as examples of large litigious groups trying to protect IP. Sounds a lot like the MPEG-LA to me.



Copyrights and patents are even covered by entirely different laws.

Neither MPAA nor RIAA have actual licensing terms posted on their webites that grant free distribution of less than 100,000 copies per year.

Of course copyright law is different than patents. You're completely missing my point.


Don't confuse your state of mind with mine.

Dude, there's no reason to get nasty here. Do you really think a judge is going to throw a case out just because it's against a small end user rather than a larger target? Seriously?

Edited 2010-05-17 03:16 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4