Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Aug 2010 13:22 UTC
Multimedia, AV We haven't talked about this one for a while, but now there's news from the MPEg-LA camp. The MPEG-LA, known patent troll and chief supplier of FUD for well over ten years, is apparently feeling the pressure from Google's WebM project, and has done a complete 180. While promising earlier this year not to charge royalties for internet video that is free to end users until the end of 2015, they've now extended this promise to eternity. This may sound like a big deal, but it changes nothing - H264 is still a legal minefield even lawyers and the MPEG-LA itself have trouble understanding.
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by Mr.Manatane on Thu 26th Aug 2010 14:06 UTC
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Where are all those saying that MPEG-LA was evil and will sue everybody if the H264 where the standard of the web ?

It's funny how Thom's turned this article, just as MPEG-LA cares about Google's WebM format when H264 is already the chosen format by all the industry.


Reply Score: -4

RE: So
by jptros on Thu 26th Aug 2010 14:25 in reply to "So"
jptros Member since:

Yeah, I doubt WebM and Google's defense attorneys had anything to do with MPEG-LA's change in attitude.

Edited 2010-08-26 14:25 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: So
by kaiwai on Thu 26th Aug 2010 14:35 in reply to "RE: So"
kaiwai Member since:

Yeah, I doubt WebM and Google's defense attorneys had anything to do with MPEG-LA's change in attitude.

Agreed; MPEG-LA is merely a holding company - two of the biggest holders are Apple and Microsoft plus a few others. I'm sure that the holders came the conclusion that it is best to allay fears regarding patent fee's than having a festering sore that results in fragmentation of half a dozen different formats which pushes end users back to square one - who benefits from fragmentation? Adobe pushing Flash as the 'swiss army knife' that will solve all of the online media's problems.

Edited 2010-08-26 14:35 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: So
by Neolander on Thu 26th Aug 2010 15:26 in reply to "So"
Neolander Member since:

No, you ;)

First because the MPEG-LA still may proceed to act in an Unisys-like fashion if H.264 catches up on the web. As Thom points out a simple ad already is "commercial use of H.264". (This is probably why Google currently helps us to get rid of H.264 by the way).

Second because the H.264 format isn't as tightly coupled with the computer world as you may think. Last time a friend told me about getting H.264 video from a mid-end camcorder in AfterEffects and Premiere, it was still a nightmare. Flash video is partly VP6 content, not always H.264. Most videos found on the web use things like DivX, XviD in an MKV container, or WMV.

H.264 has won the war in a few areas, like camcorders, video discs, and Apple devices. But in the PC world, video encoding still is a mess with no dominant standard. In the mobile world, there is more or less a de facto standard, but if I remember well it's H.263 (probably because of how much it hogs a poor low-end cellphone CPU to decode H.264 video).

The MPEG-LA can fear about WebM, despite what you may think, because it's backed by Google. Google, who own Youtube, so... say... 85% of the videos seen on the web everyday. And Android, too. They have some serious firepower, more than enough to banish the MPEG-LA's profitable baby from the profitable PC world and a growing part of the mobile world if they want to. What they will do with this power, however, still remains to be seen...

Edited 2010-08-26 15:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

by jrincayc on Fri 27th Aug 2010 03:54 in reply to "RE: So"
jrincayc Member since:

I would rather H.263 becomes entrenched rather than H.264, since it is getting old enough that any patents will start expiring in the next five or so years.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: So
by sorpigal on Thu 26th Aug 2010 16:31 in reply to "So"
sorpigal Member since:

I'm one and I'm right here.

This changes nothing. All this does is permit the use of h264 for cases when the video is being delivered "free to end users"--which covers a fraction of potential uses. And, I must remind you, it only covers web video besides.

None of the arguments against h264 *relied* on them eventually beginning to charge for all video used on the internet. It certainly was one of the more nightmarish scenarios, but even without that outcome the use of encumbered h264 is still unwise and unhealthy.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: So
by aaronb on Thu 26th Aug 2010 17:44 in reply to "So"
aaronb Member since:

MPEG LA’s AVC License Will Not Charge Royalties for Internet Video That Is Free to End Users Through Life of License

The above was quoted from ""

So what about BBC iPlayer videos?
Videos shipped with Video games?

If it is not internet videos, or a paid for service then we will still be hit by royalty fees.

What happens what with new licenses or renewal of licenses?

Reply Parent Score: 1