I got an email back from MPEGLA

in Mac Software edited January 2014

Thanks for sharing your views with us regarding the reported MPEG-4

Visual licensing terms and your interest in using the MPEG-4 Visual

Standard. I know this email may sound like a canned response, but since

you took the time to write to us and others who wrote us raised similar

concerns, we wanted to get back to you (and the others) to explain the

situation. We understand that you have strong feelings about the MPEG-4

Visual licensing terms based on what you've heard, and we welcome your

feedback. The license agreement is still in the process of being worked

out, your views are important to us, and they will be taken into

consideration. Similarly, I hope you will allow us this opportunity to

clarify a few things that may have been misunderstood and to explain

where this goes from here.

First, we would like to clarify the role of MPEG LA. MPEG LA's business

is to make it possible for new technologies (like MPEG-4 Video) to enter

the marketplace by making the essential intellectual property rights

owned by many patent owners accessible to everyone on fair, reasonable,

nondiscriminatory terms under a single license. If there were no MPEG

LA, the essential patent rights that made the MPEG-4 Visual technology

possible would still have to be dealt with, but instead of having the

opportunity to deal with one company for a single license that includes

those rights, users' only option would be to deal with each patent

holder individually. With MPEG LA, the marketplace is assured of ready

access to MPEG-4 Visual essential patents owned by 18 different

companies (soon there will be more, but our goal is to include as many

essential patents as possible in one license; therefore, royalty rates

will not increase during the term of the agreement even as new patent

owners and more patents are included). What you've seen is the first

step in that process.

We understand that the success of a licensing program relies on the

success of the underlying technology. Therefore, our goal, like yours,

is to promote the widest possible use of the MPEG-4 Visual standard, and

we are sensitive to the need to structure a reasonable license that is

consistent with marketplace conditions. To that end, we continue to

work with the patent owners to assure that the license is responsive.

Everything is in a state of constant review. If something isn't right,

every effort is made to fix it. Because of MPEG LA's role, you have the

opportunity to discuss your concerns with us, and we in turn can

communicate them to the patent owners. We note that there are many

different views to be considered, however, and that ultimately the

marketplace will decide. We note also that there may be many reasons

(having nothing to do with licensing terms) why someone may delay a

product introduction or choose among competing alternatives. And, it

would be a mistake to assume that any alternative is or will be free of

patent licensing obligations or without additional charges of its own.

Finally, we understand that you do not agree with the implementation of

a use fee. Given the nature of MPEG-4 Visual technology and the

importance of encouraging the wide availability of MPEG-4 Visual

decoders and encoders in the market, the patent owners' intention was

that reasonable royalties should be shared among industry participants

across the entire product chain and applies equally to both wired and

wireless services (especially as the ability to distinguish between them

disappears). The philosophy underlying the use fee was intended to be

consistent with the expected flow of MPEG-4 video transactions so that

those who can pay will and those who can't aren't expected to: thus, the

use royalties to be paid by service providers are tied to remuneration -

if service providers or content providers are paid for offering or

providing MPEG-4 video, then patent holders are paid for the use of

their patents; if service providers or content providers are not paid

for offering or providing MPEG-4 video, then patent owners are not paid

for the use of their patents. The entire license including the use fee,

its application to broadcast/cablecast/multichannel environments, etc.,

is under study and will be the subject of further discussion.

This is just the beginning. The licensing terms were just announced on

January 31, and the details of the MPEG-4 Visual license agreement are

still being worked out. Because of the challenge posed by the effort to

produce a joint licensing program requiring a consensus among at least

18 different patent owners and the yet undetermined future

implementations and applications of the emerging MPEG-4 Visual

technology, this may take several months to complete. There will be

much discussion before all of this is sorted out, and changes may be

expected. Again, we appreciate your contribution to this process and

will keep you informed.


Larry Horn

Vice President, Licensing



  • Reply 1 of 9
    "several months to complete"?!

    MWSF 2003 : Quicktime 6
  • Reply 2 of 9
    if service providers or content providers are paid for offering or

    providing MPEG-4 video, then patent holders are paid for the use of

    their patents

    What absolute bullshit. The patent holders don't share any of the risk or costs of delivering the content, but expect compensation if the venture is successful? Microsoft wouldn't even have the balls to try to pull something like that.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Pure canned response basically saying "We don't care." I got it too.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    If they don't care, why bother explaining how the current scheme works? That e-mail cleared up a whole lot for me.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    Oh I think they care all right, their wallets are indeed involved. That email was just a sort of message stating for us to be patient and for us to stop complaining.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    [quote]Originally posted by the cool gut:

    <strong>Microsoft wouldn't even have the balls to try to pull something like that.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Actually, they are. Microsoft is one of the licensors of patents that is part of the MPEG LA licensing. It is really funny because in WM 8 encoder they have a codec called "Windows Media MPEG-4 Video V3" that does not fall under this license. So they can make money off of the license but not have to pay it because they'll have their own version (they do list an ISO MPEG-4 Video V1 but am unsure if this falls under the current license)

    <a href="http://www.mpegla.com/mpeg4/m4licensors.html"; target="_blank">List of Licensors</a>

    [ 02-22-2002: Message edited by: The Milkman ]</p>
  • Reply 7 of 9
    I'm not sure I agree with the 'total bs' statement. I thought the email cleared up the situation (not that I totally agree). There is a legitimate argument to be made for having a use fee for providers serving paid content. However, if they insist on that path, it will seriously hamper the adoption of the standard.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    Yep, got that too. I amhoping they truly DO review our statements though...
  • Reply 9 of 9
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    I thought the issue was clear as day when Schiller explained it and when Ars Technica had a blurb about it.

    It's still BS in light of our concerns since they're basically saying, "we understand your concern, but no you just don't understand the way it works."
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