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?

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RE[7]: Hmmm...
by jared_wilkes on Thu 31st Oct 2013 21:01 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Hmmm..."
jared_wilkes
Member since:
2011-04-25

And the answer is: If this "loophole" creates an opportunity for such non-licensees to start undercutting your products and you start losing sales, why would you continue paying for the licensing? Licensing only works at the OEM level when your competition has to do it too...


You really have a logic and/or reading comprehension problem. You've said these OEMs aren't licensing it. So if they aren't licensing it, by your own words, they aren't competing with those who are licensing it? Or rather, you are wrong that licensing only works when your competition is doing so? Take your pick, your own logic doesn't work with your own statements.

The notion that Apple, Microsoft, and hundreds of others are going to be threatened by OSS projects forced to use this or shady Asian OEMs willing to use unlicensed codecs in cheap products and thus they will switch to it as well is a laughable claim.

Edited 2013-10-31 21:05 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[8]: Hmmm...
by galvanash on Thu 31st Oct 2013 21:30 in reply to "RE[7]: Hmmm..."
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

You really have a logic and/or reading comprehension problem. You've said these OEMs aren't licensing it.


They aren't.

So if they aren't licensing it, by your own words, they aren't competing with those who are licensing it?


They can't - there are import restrictions. They can only release the products in Asia because of the patents. Remove the patent problem and the import restriction goes away, i.e. they can sell in the states where most of the licensees are selling.

The notion that Apple, Microsoft, and hundreds of others are going to be threatened by OSS projects forced to use this or shady Asian OEMs willing to use unlicensed codecs in cheap products and thus they will switch to it as well is a laughable claim.


Im pretty sure Apple and Microsoft don't make cheap set top boxes... They are also h.264 patent holders, so yeah, Im pretty sure they are fine with the status quo. Somone like Roku isn't though, and if Cisco offers a version of the codec they can pull in over the internet to avoid paying MPEGLA licensing then yeah, why wouldn't they if all of a sudden they see cheap knockoffs popping up at Walmart doing that exact thing?

There are over 1200 MPEGLA licensees, the vast majority of them are small technology companies, not Microsofts or Apples...

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[9]: Hmmm...
by jared_wilkes on Thu 31st Oct 2013 22:11 in reply to "RE[8]: Hmmm..."
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Okay, so you're claim is they aren't competing yet but will. Fine. (There are in fact many cheap Asian devices that are getting unlicensed products through customs by the way... That still doesn't mean they are "competing" but nonetheless...)

I think this is a ludicrous theory that free software supporters need to perpetuate in order to delude themselves into believing that mpeg patent licensing is onerous. It is not.

Roku would be fools to give up usability for the sake of pennies saved. We can treat them as our test case of your theory if you'd like?

Edited 2013-10-31 22:13 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1