And the fight continues. Only a few months after the desperate move by the MPEG-LA to get anyone - anyone - to submit patents to a possible WebM patent pool, Google and the WebM community have struck back. A whole slew of major companies have formed the WebM Community Cross-License initiative, basically a sort-of Open Invention Network for WebM.
Multimedia, AV Archive
"VP8 is an open source video compression format supported by a consortium of technology companies. This paper provides a technical overview of the format, with an emphasis on its unique features. The paper also discusses how these features benefit VP8 in achieving high compression efficiency and low decoding complexity at the same time."
The Linux Foundation has announced MeeGo TV working group ,the goal of which is to "help drive the evolution of MeeGo within the television ecosystem and provide an open framework for industry creativity and innovation".
"Addressing a major weakness its plan to build its WebM video technology into the Web, Google yesterday released a version of its VP8 video encoder and decoder designed to be baked into hardware. The hardware implementation of VP8 is called H1 and now Anthill, said Aki Kuusela, engineering manager of the WebM Project, in a blog post. It comes in the form of RTL, or Register Transfer Language, a very low-level description close to how processors actually perform their instructions, and it's available royalty free."
The WebM project Blog has announced an update release of the VP8 Codec SDK codenamed the "Bali" release. The Bali release was focused on making the encoder faster while continuing to improve its video quality.
Well, well, well. The MPEG-LA is showing its true colours. After a decade of threatening to patent troll the living heck out of Theora, the company led by a patent troll has now finally put its money where its mouth is. Well, sort of. They don't actually have any patents yet, they're asking people to submit patents they believe are essential to the VP8 specification. Update: MPEG (so not the MPEG-LA) has announced its intent to develop a new video compression standard for the web which will be royalty-free. "The new standard is intended to achieve substantially better compression performance than that offered by MPEG-2 and possibly comparable to that offered by the AVC Baseline Profile. MPEG will issue a call for proposals on video compression technology at the end of its upcoming meeting in March 2011 that is expected to lead to a standard falling under ISO/IEC 'Type-1 licensing', i.e. intended to be 'royalty free'."
Piracy hurts the content industry. This has been the common line of thought in the piracy and copyright debate for years now, and even though study after study highlight that this is simply not the case - or at least, not as clear-cut a case - the content industry and its avid fans continue to spread this party line. Well, yet another study, this time from the Japanese government, has concluded that piracy actually increases anime DVD sales.
Francis Ford Coppola is one of the most prestigious and critically acclaimed directors in cinematographic history. He directed, among others, the Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now, and has won so many awards it's hard to keep track. In an interview with 99%, he touched on the subject of art and making money, and his musings are fascinating, and yet another indication that the times are changing in the content industry. "Who says artists have to make money?" Coppola wonders.
"Previously, I demonstrated creating an animatic using Kino. That was an interesting exercise, but Kino is not really up to that kind of job. Blender, on the other hand, has a very nice "video sequence editor" built into it, and it turns out to be very well adapted for this kind of task."
"Even if you don't believe all the hype about HTML5, sooner or later, you'll need to start encoding some video to WebM format. Maybe for internal experimentation, for a pay-per-view or subscription project (where H.264 may incur royalties), because you've decided to jump into HTML5 video with both feet, or because Google announced yesterday that it's going to stop supporting H.264 in Chrome. Whatever the reason, you'll be sitting at your desk or poolside one day, and you'll be thinking 'I've got to encode some video to WebM format'. If and when that day comes, set a bookmark in your memory banks for this article, because it's all about encoding to WebM. I'll start by looking at how WebM compares to H.264 in terms of quality, just to set expectations, and then briefly review the quality and performance of several free and for-fee encoding tools."
I generally need a billion words to explain the problems inherit in the current copyright system. Joss Stone needs just one minute. "I don't care how you hear it - as long as you hear it." Can we please appoint Ms Stone as supreme overlord of the universe?
"A tightening of copyright rules means kindergartens now have to pay fees to Germany's music licensing agency, GEMA, to use songs that they reproduce and perform. The organization has begun notifying creches and other daycare facilities that if they reproduce music to be sung or performed, they must pay for a license. 'If a preschool wants to make its own copy of certain music - if the words of a song or the musical score is copied - then they need to buy a license,' GEMA spokesperson Peter Hempel told Deutsche Welle." Honestly. I wonder how those pro-RIAA/MPAA folk we have on OSNews feel about this. This is EXACTLY why I try to do my part (a small part, but still) in fighting big content. I wonder how much has to happen for our politicians to open their eyes, and see current copyright law for what it really is: pure venom. Poison of the most dangerous kind, which is destroying our very culture, which is stifling art and science. News like this SICKENS me. How anyone can defend something like this is beyond me.
The sweet smell of competition is lingering in the air. That sweet smell which indicates that somewhere in the vicinity a company is working on actually improving a product so we can all benefit. This time around, it's Adobe, delivering the first Flash 10.2 beta. Prime feature? Complete hardware acceleration of the entire video pipeline - fully cross platform, cross-form factor. Cross-platform! There's a catch, though.
"The Boxee Box is now making its way into consumers' hands, ready to take on the likes of Apple TV, Roku, and Google TV with wide source compatibility and coming support for Netflix and Hulu Plus." WANT.
My husband stopped trusting me with his PS3 after I burned three Netflix PS3 software disks (a known problem), so he asked me to get my Netflix kick with another device (that was before the disk-less PS3 solution). So I bought the $99 Roku XD|S, the highest Roku model, a Linux-based video streaming TV device.
Logitech just presented their first GoogleTV product, the Revue. I've written many times about how the TV is the next big device to get revolutionized. Unfortunately, I personally just don't think that the Revue is "it." Warning: an impulsive, reactionary, but also honest rant is following.
If the rumours are true, and if this Pastebin post (be sure to mirror the key if that won't get you in trouble with your authorities) is legitimate, then it looks like High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection has been cracked so hard its mother's mother felt it. HDCP is a copy protection mechanism which protects the audio and video streams sent over DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI.
Every so often we publish here at OSNews articles about copyright, about the war of the "old media" establishment against everyone else. Many, myself included, have argued that the way to get out of this mess -- short of changing the law -- is to have more artists release their work under a Creative Commons license. However, after a few years it became obvious to me that CC would never be able to change the industry all by itself. Offering a Free license, and having 30,000 albums released under it, was still not enough. Until the Summer of 2009, that is. Update: Added audio samples.
I don't think you'll find many people left in our western world who prefer an old-fashioned regular camera over a digital one. While I can still appreciate the charm of fiddling with actual film and the thrill of finding out what your photos looked like all developed, digital photography is easier in just about every possible way. Thanks to The New York Times, I found a story from 2007 on the Kodak blog, detailing the ceation of the very first digital camera. In 1975. An old story, but fascinating nonetheless.
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.