Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Oct 2013 23:33 UTC, submitted by drcoldfoot
Multimedia, AV

Remember the whole H.264 thing? Cisco just solved it for us - more or less.

The industry has been divided on the choice of a common video codec for some time, namely because the industry standard - H.264 - requires royalty payments to MPEG LA. Today, I am pleased to announce Cisco is making a bold move to take concerns about these payments off the table.

We plan to open-source our H.264 codec, and to provide it as a binary module that can be downloaded for free from the Internet. Cisco will not pass on our MPEG LA licensing costs for this module, and based on the current licensing environment, this will effectively make H.264 free for use in WebRTC.

Cisco will release the code of its H.264 codec under the BSD license, and will also make binaries available for just about every possible platform. Cisco will pay all the licensing costs - over the coming decade, this will cost them a whopping $65 million, illustrating just how expensive H.264 is, and how unrealistic it was to expect it to become a standard without a free implementation being available for everyone to use. It has to be noted that both end users and developers can make use of this.

Mozilla has already announced it will implement this codec into Firefox. All this is great, but it doesn't really address the issue in the long term - the next generation of codecs is coming, and once they arrive, this whole process starts all over again. Will another sugar daddy step up by that time?

Thread beginning with comment 575844
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: Let's not forget
by lemur2 on Thu 31st Oct 2013 12:41 UTC in reply to "Let's not forget"
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

The only reason nobody's going after the so-called patent-free codecs right now is they're not a force to be bothered with. If Daala, VP( or any other codec really becomes a threat to the MPEG-LA and its licensing income, you can bet they'll find patents they can use against it. I wouldn't be surprised if they hold a patent along the lines of "a method for encoding and compressing video for distribution via digital devices." Vague patents are all they’d need to cause some real trouble and, as we all know, the head of the MPEG-LA is a known patent troll already.


In order to get a patent, one has to show that it is a new invention, that there is no prior art, and that this new invention is not obvious (it must actually be inventive). The title of a patent does not really count, what counts are the claims of the method description.

Daala is inventive, it is a new approach to video codecs, fundamentally different to the MPEG LA patent pool for h.264 and h.265.

Daala is therefore its own prior art. Daala as prior art is documented here:

http://wiki.xiph.org/Daala

Edited 2013-10-31 12:43 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Let's not forget
by darknexus on Thu 31st Oct 2013 13:11 in reply to "RE: Let's not forget"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

No, I said they most likely already *have* a vague patent to attack it with. They don't need to get a new one, and remember which country's patent office we're talking about here. The USPTO will grant a patent on pretty much anything and let the lawyers sort it out later, as long as they're paid.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[3]: Let's not forget
by lemur2 on Fri 1st Nov 2013 00:11 in reply to "RE[2]: Let's not forget"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

No, I said they most likely already *have* a vague patent to attack it with. They don't need to get a new one, and remember which country's patent office we're talking about here. The USPTO will grant a patent on pretty much anything and let the lawyers sort it out later, as long as they're paid.


Fortunately there are many trends these days, even in the insane environment that is the contemporary US, towards preventing patent trolls of this kind.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Let's not forget
by tylerdurden on Thu 31st Oct 2013 16:36 in reply to "RE: Let's not forget"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

In theory, practice and theory are the same, in practice they are not.

At least in the US the Patent Office is severely understaffed and over logged (by design), so their current policy is: grant the patent and let the lawyers sort it out afterwards. It's under such a climate that patent trolling can thrive as a viable business model.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Let's not forget
by dionicio on Thu 31st Oct 2013 17:02 in reply to "RE[2]: Let's not forget"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

By design...

Absolutely on the point.

;)

Reply Parent Score: 1