|MPEG-LA Makes Free Internet Video Royalty Free Perpetually|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2010-08-26 13:22:14|
|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.|
|By spikeb on 2010-08-26 14:05:12|
|its not free but at least it doesn't cost money! </sarcasm>|
|- Score: 2|
|By nabil2199 on 2010-08-26 14:15:17|
...trust the mpeg-la just yet. |
What is preventing them from pulling a switcheroo?
What is the definition of internet video? as in: if I use a machine as a cache for videos which I then stream to a second one would it still be internet video?
|- Score: 3|
|By jptros on 2010-08-26 14:25:26|
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
|- Score: 3|
|will probably slow adoption|
|By google_ninja on 2010-08-26 14:25:54|
|Apple still hasn't said anything about webm. so it is basically mobile devices + safari, chrome, and IE, or supporting FF, chrome, and IE. If you take the whole royalty thing off the table, h264 is going to make more sense, at least until apple decides where they are going to go with webm.|
|- Score: 2|
|By kaiwai on 2010-08-26 14:35:16|
> 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
|- Score: 3|
|By mtzmtulivu on 2010-08-26 14:41:04|
There are two definitions of free and i think its important people identifying what "free" they are using when making arguments for or against h.264 and any other competing media technologies. |
definition 1: Free as does not have any patents and no royalties required for implementing the specification and no restrictions are imposed on how the implementor can distribute the implementation..
definition 2: Free as the technology is available in a non discriminatory way and anybody who care to implement the technology can do so after they pay for royalties if required and agree to licensing terms if present
both h,264 and vp8 are free by the second definition but only vp8 is free with the first.
|- Score: 3|
|By Neolander on 2010-08-26 15:26:04|
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
|- Score: 6|
|By RichterKuato on 2010-08-26 15:28:00|
I like the main definitions of free: |
Libre - With few or no restrictions.
Gratis - For zero price.
I don't think H.264 is free by either definition at least not yet anyway. Unless you're a viewer or (for now) hosts of free internet video.
|- Score: 5|
|By westlake on 2010-08-26 16:24:26|
MPEG-LA is merely a holding company - two of the biggest holders are Apple and Microsoft plus a few others. |
Those others are global giants in manufacturing.
Cisco. Ericsson. Fujitsu. JVC. Mitsubishi. Philips. NTT. Panasonic. Samsung. Siemans. Sony. Toshiba.
Microsoft is a bit player here - and Google microscopic when compared to the raw economic power of the 867 H.264 licensees.
H.264 is deeply entrenched outside the web.
In industrial, medical, security and military applications. Theatrical production. Home video. Broadcast, cable and satellite distribution.
The enterprise cap on H.264 licensing is $5 million a year.
If WebM fails to gain traction Google has nothing to lose but a few coins swept up off the washroom floors.
|- Score: 3|
|By sorpigal on 2010-08-26 16:31:29|
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.
|- Score: 4|