Apple-supported H.264 standard gains free license for Internet video use

2

Comments

  • Reply 21 of 53
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    In a nutshell: The codec is still ours, but you can borrow it without paying rent for a while longer (just so that you don't try to find alternatives).
  • Reply 22 of 53
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shadash View Post


    You're playing with words. Kind of like what the meaning of the word "is" is. They'd have some pretty pissed off people if said this and then later charged.



    "not clearly defined or determined; not precise or exact:"



    Thats taken right from the definition you quoted and it works for me...
  • Reply 23 of 53
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pwj View Post


    As happy as I am to see to see MPEGLA licensing H.264 for free, it really doesn't matter, since H.264 will remain closed source.



    Nonsense. The market doesn't care about open source - and never has. The only time Free (as in free speech) products have done well is when they're also Free (as in free beer). Consumers care about the cost, not abut silly pedantic arguments.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post


    Define Indefinitely:



    indefinitely |inˈdefənitlē|

    adverb For an unlimited or unspecified period of time : talks cannot go on indefinitely.

    ? [as submodifier ] to an unlimited or unspecified degree or extent : an indefinitely large number of channels.



    Or maybe you could simply go to the source:

    "MPEG LA announced today that its AVC Patent Portfolio License will continue not to charge royalties for Internet Video that is free to end users (known as "Internet Broadcast AVC Video") during the entire life of this License. MPEG LA previously announced it would not charge royalties for such video through December 31, 2015, and today's announcement makes clear that royalties will continue not to be charged for such video beyond that time."

    {from MacRumors}



    Free for the life of the license (which is essentially the life of the patents).
  • Reply 24 of 53
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NormM View Post


    Since patents only last for 20 years, indefinitely means that MPEGLA won't charge for any free internet broadcast using h264 for that long. After that, they can't charge.



    Look, on 9/11/2001 air travel was HALTED INDEFINITELY, because at the time they simply couldn't say exactly WHEN they'd be resumed. Air travel was of course resumed and it certainly didn't take 20 years to do it.



    Look if they REALLY meant it. they would have said "h.264 will be unencumbered when used in conjunction with free internet based video (or whatever their terms are) for the life of the patents involved in the h.264 technology." they didn't and all I'm pointing out is the h.264 group HAS WIGGLE ROOM if they want to use it. People arguing with me... are you REALLY saying they don't?
  • Reply 25 of 53
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Free for the life of the license (which is essentially the life of the patents).



    Okay... but I'd just like to see what the 'life of this license' is... Since the PREVIOUS h.264 license expires in 2015. If the next license expires some 10 years later and CANT be terminated early then YES I certainly agree it's effectively 'forever'. However if the life of the next license term is 1 year or 5 years long or as stated above they can terminate the next license term at any time then they can simply go back to their initial plans and this PR is really meaningless.



    Okay I found it myself...



    "The license terms are updated in 5-year blocks."



    So, it's free until 2020 now and maybe thats good enough but if the patents still have another 5 years of life we're back to square one....



    And from the source:





    Q: What is the Term of the AVC Patent Portfolio License?

    A: The initial term runs through December 31, 2010. The License is renewable for successive five year periods for the useful life of any Portfolio patent on reasonable terms and conditions.



    So it would seem that the initial license term was 2005 and was good thru 2010 the 2nd term was/is 2010-2015, the 3rd term 2015-2020 which leaves just 5 years for most of the initial patents that went into the initial patent pool.



    So all we really have is a 5 year extension beyond 2015... 2020 the license expires and a new 5 year term is negotiated.
  • Reply 26 of 53
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,658member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post


    Google had nothing in mind for firefix, it's mozilla's product. They prefer everyone would be using chrome.



    Well, yes, precisely, which is exactly what they have in mind for Firefox: that everyone switch to Chrome.
  • Reply 27 of 53
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post


    Sounds like this answers some people's concerns about video with HTML5.

    Now what are the complainers going to come up with to complain about?



    I?d wager that Mozilla will argue that it?s not just about the end user?s streaming being free, but the encoder and decoder licensing not being free, even though I think the encoder has been reverese-engineered and all modern chips are coming with H.264 decoders as standard, something that the codecs Mozilla is pushing can?t compete with.



    Ultimately Mozilla will have to add H.264 or there will be an easy install option for the browser by some clever developer. In any case, H.264 is the codecs of choice for many years to come and until we start seeing HW decoders in devices we shouldn?t expect that to change.
  • Reply 28 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I’d wager that Mozilla will argue that it’s not just about the end user’s streaming being free, but the encoder and decoder licensing not being free



    That's actually been Mozilla's chiefs' argument all along, notwithstanding all the noise that had been generated from outside sources.



    Quote:

    ...even though I think the encoder has been reverese-engineered and all modern chips are coming with H.264 decoders as standard, something that the codecs Mozilla is pushing can’t compete with.



    The trouble is, Mozilla is committed to using its own internally-managed decoding software for all <video> tag content. They justify this on a couple of grounds:



    1) Ensure the behaviour is consistent across all platforms that run Firefox, without needing to depend on the trustworthiness or consistency of the 3rd party video decoder software/hardware that happens to be installed in certain systems ("codec hell" as a parallel to the infamous Windows "DLL hell").



    2) Ensure that the content will play back even on older (but still-supported) operating systems (such as Windows XP), which may not have the necessary video codecs installed at all.



    Therefore, if Firefox was to support H.264 video, then it would have to ship a software codec implementing H.264 along with each copy of the browser, regardless of whether or not the target OS/platform already had built-in H.264 support. And they would have to purchase a license for each copy of such codec.



    (This, by the way, is one of the reasons why Google allows anybody to download Chrome directly from Google's servers, but users are prohibited from sharing the Chrome binary amongst themselves -- Google has taken the same strategy as Firefox regarding embedding the <video> tage codec software inside the browser itself, and Google has purchased a license for that codec... But the license Google purchased doesn't cover 3rd party redistribution of the codec. The open-source "Chromium" browser from which Chrome is derived, has the source code for H.264 video disabled by default.)
  • Reply 29 of 53
    WebM and Ogg have one big problem, it's not sure if there are any patents involved or not. No one has sued yet, but no company worth of sueing has used it yet. It's claimed they do not, but no know for sure, thus they're no real alternative to h.264. If companies with big enough pockets start to use them, somone with patents might emerge.
  • Reply 30 of 53
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    In July 2010 6,400 programmes were streamed from the BBC iPlayer to Android devices.



    In July 2010 there were 5,272,464 programmes requested via the BBC iPlayer from Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices.



    Why so striking a difference? Because Android users can only access iPlayer using Flash, Flash is only available on Android 2.2, and the overwhelming majority of Android handsets — even brand-new ones — are still running older versions of the OS.



    But, of course, there are no iOS users with Flash installed. That’s what I see as the main problem with Android’s official support for Flash: it gives providers like the BBC an easy way out. Would there exist a dedicated iPlayer app for the iPhone if iOS had supported Flash all along? Does Android’s support for Flash make it less likely that the BBC will develop a native iPlayer app for Android?




    daringfireball.net
  • Reply 31 of 53
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Mozilla continuing its FUD against H.264.



    "The MPEG-LA announcement doesn't change anything for the next four years, since this promise was already made through 2014...Given that IEC [International Electrotechnical Commission] has already started accepting submissions for patents in the replacement H.265 standard, and the rise of unencumbered formats like WebM, it is not clear if H.264 will still be relevant in 2014.



    Mozilla's Vice President of Engineering, Mike Shaver
  • Reply 32 of 53
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,837member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac_Keeper_Fan_Mod View Post


    WebM and Ogg have one big problem, it's not sure if there are any patents involved or not. No one has sued yet, but no company worth of sueing has used it yet. It's claimed they do not, but no know for sure, thus they're no real alternative to h.264. If companies with big enough pockets start to use them, somone with patents might emerge.



    Google sank 100 million into buying WebM, which is the only reason we got this bone thrown to us by MPEG-LA.



    I would hope Google uses WebM in a way that forces a lawsuit, so that the issue of patents can be decided. Google can afford the legal fees, and it's the only way we'll get reasonable terms from H.264 and the next-gen codec.
  • Reply 33 of 53
    pwjpwj Posts: 19member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    Mozilla continuing its FUD against H.264.



    "The MPEG-LA announcement doesn't change anything for the next four years, since this promise was already made through 2014...Given that IEC [International Electrotechnical Commission] has already started accepting submissions for patents in the replacement H.265 standard, and the rise of unencumbered formats like WebM, it is not clear if H.264 will still be relevant in 2014.



    Mozilla's Vice President of Engineering, Mike Shaver




    It's not FUD; Mozilla legally cannot include a H.264 decoder in Firefox and also distribute Firefox under a Gnu GPL.





    Trust me: I'd love it if H.264 was adopted as the video codec of choice for the internet. Since it's awesome.

    That said, if MPEGLA decides to change its licensing terms in five years (or even sooner; promises can be broken) and end free licensing of H.264, we're back to the Dark Ages of internet video where a single company / consortium (be it Adobe or MPEGLA) owns the video format of choice of the internet (be it Flash or H.264)





    All of us want to put the terrible era of Flash content behind us; the last thing we should be doing is potentially setting ourselves up for more of the same.
  • Reply 34 of 53
    nhtnht Posts: 4,522member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pwj View Post


    (Please pardon me in advance for this tirade)



    As happy as I am to see to see MPEGLA licensing H.264 for free, it really doesn't matter, since H.264 will remain closed source. That presents a huge problem for any distributor of open-source software (namely Mozilla), since the Gnu licensing families aren't compatible with licensed, closed-source software.



    1) Not all open source projects are incompatible with closed-source software.

    2) Not all open source projects are based on GPL or some variant of GPL (L-GPL, AGPL, etc)

    3) Mozilla uses MPL and they own their code and can combine it with whatever they want. Firefox and Thunderbird are released under MPL with a tri-license. Meaning you can release Firefox with your own close-source portions under MPL.



    Quote:

    (This might affect Chrome as well, though since Chrome integrates Flash I'm fairly certain that this won't be an issue)



    Chrome is a mixture of BSD open source code and Google proprietary closed source code.



    Quote:

    If Mozilla is left out in the cold on H.264, HTML5 video suffers since >90% of all browsers (remember, IE continues to drag its heels when it comes to internet video) won't be able to play back H.264 content



    IE9 will support HTML5 and H.264 playback.



    Quote:

    Now, rant time: if it weren't for those terrible things called software patents, we could standardize on H.264 and be done with this format war

    1. Software patents clearly are illegal under Supreme Court precedent: do some Wikipedia cruising and you'll see that software patents (or at least H.264) miserably fail the "machine or transformation test", since software patents aren't manifested in a specific physical machine nor do they effect a transformation in physical



    Yes, wikipedia is definitive source and should be trusted more than the mere opinions of Ip lawyers. Not.



    Quote:

    2. Software patents clearly do not retard technological progress!



    This is probably a true statement but probably also not what you meant to write. Abused software patents retard progress. Legitimate ones protect the IP of the inventor. The number of actual significant software inventions is probably fairly low.



    Quote:

    If you listen to groups like MPEGLA, you'd assume that software patents were required for progress to occur since innovation won't happen without monopolies. I beg to differ:

    a) the world's best mobile browsers (and desktop browsers) are ALL based on WebKit, an open-source project initiated by Apple from the KHTML code



    WebKit is protected by copyright and FSF has a tendency to act monopolistic in the open source world. Which is why Theo always amuses me.



    Quote:

    b) the underpinnings of the two most recently successful mobile platforms (Android and iOS) are both open-sourced (the entire Android software stack and the Darwin OS respectfully)



    iOS is largely closed source. Darwin is essentially a hacked FreeBSD variant with an oddball kernel nobody but Apple uses. Android has potential patent issues...because Google did some interesting things with Sun IP and lets just say that Ellison plays hardball.



    Quote:

    c) Linux (yeah, not successful on the desktop, but go check out any supercomputer or server and there's a pretty good chance it's Linux)



    The success of Linux is due largely IMHO in the desire for IBM to neuter Sun...which they managed fantastically. That HP joined in that fun was either really smart or idiocy.



    Quote:

    d) the entire notion of a browser that doesn't suck (Firefox v IE back in the dark ages)



    Back in the day it was Netscape and closed source. Mozilla is tied to the hip to Google because Google is it's only source of real funding. No Google = No Firefox.



    Quote:

    Seriously. Software patents clearly do not protect progress; all I see them do is retard it (this whol H.264 thing would go away if MPEGLA open-sourced it and everyone instantly adopted it!)



    I'll cut it here. Software-patents will give me an aneurysm one of these days



    You don't open source H.264. You provide a royalty free patent grant...which they did for free web use. You can open source H.264 implementations if you want...and now that there is a free patent grant you can.



    VP8 is open sourced but has potential patent issues. We'll see how that plays out but Apple and MS both have issues with Google. So essentially it's a fight between Google and Apple in another fight instigated by Google. Pushing VP8 vs H.264 was simply a way to take a cheap stab at Apple.



    I dunno, but Google hasn't been playing a very smart game IMHO. They're potentially going to get marginalized on both iOS and WP7 in terms of ad share and pissing off Apple for no good reason was stupid.
  • Reply 35 of 53
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pwj View Post


    It's not FUD; Mozilla legally cannot include a H.264 decoder in Firefox and also distribute Firefox under a Gnu GPL.



    But that's not the problem Shaver describes in his post. He feels the MPEG LA will make H.264 free forever because it will become irrelevant as they move on to H.265, the implication that the licensing terms will be entirely different.





    Quote:

    All of us want to put the terrible era of Flash content behind us; the last thing we should be doing is potentially setting ourselves up for more of the same.



    Its the constant questioning of the MPEG-LA future motives which leads to FUD. The implication that they are just waiting to pull a bait and switch. When their is no evidence to support it.
  • Reply 36 of 53
    nhtnht Posts: 4,522member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pwj View Post


    It's not FUD; Mozilla legally cannot include a H.264 decoder in Firefox and also distribute Firefox under a Gnu GPL.



    Sure they can. They own the code and they can distribute their code under MPL with a GPL exception with a proprietary H.264 plug in. The FSF position on linking = derivative work is not one that the FSF or FLSC is likely to want to take to court anytime soon.



    And Mozilla IS spreading FUD when they claim tit is not clear if "H.264 will still be relevant in 2014". Riiight. Pure FUD.
  • Reply 37 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nht View Post


    1) Not all open source projects are incompatible with closed-source software.

    2) Not all open source projects are based on GPL or some variant of GPL (L-GPL, AGPL, etc)

    3) Mozilla uses MPL and they own their code and can combine it with whatever they want. Firefox and Thunderbird are released under MPL with a tri-license. Meaning you can release Firefox with your own close-source portions under MPL.



    All very true. Firefox is not GPL.



    But the problem remains that if Firefox purchased a patent license for H.264, it would likely only cover copies of Firefox obtained directly from Mozilla. Third-party redistribution would not include conveyance of the necessary patent license (because Mozilla would not have permission to convey it) and therefore anybody who made use of a 3rd-party redistributed copy of Firefox would be in possession of the unlicensed H.264 codec contained therein. The copyright license (provided by Mozilla) really doesn't have anything to do with the patent license (provided by the MPEG-LA).



    Quote:

    Chrome is a mixture of BSD open source code and Google proprietary closed source code.



    Yep, and some of that proprietary stuff is Chrome's H.264 implementation.



    Quote:

    IE9 will support HTML5 and H.264 playback.



    IE9 will use whatever codecs are installed in the operating system to render its HTML5 video. If you install a WebM codec in your operating system, then IE9 will use the WebM codec to render HTML5 content as necessary.



    Quote:

    WebKit is protected by copyright



    And its copyright distribution license is open source. In other news, the sky is blue. So what?



    Quote:

    You don't open source H.264. You provide a royalty free patent grant...which they did for free web use. You can open source H.264 implementations if you want...and now that there is a free patent grant you can.



    The free patent grant is for content distribution only. Ie, it grants permission for people to use the codec to non-commercially distribute content that happens to be compressed using H.264 technology.



    It does not apply to the decoders and encoders themselves which were used to produce and display the content. Those two components are still very much not covered by the guise of a free patent grant.
  • Reply 38 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nht View Post


    Sure they can. They own the code and they can distribute their code under MPL with a GPL exception with a proprietary H.264 plug in.



    Trouble is, an open source distribution where a core feature is proprietary is really no different than a proprietary distribution -- anybody who tried to exercise their right of redistribution would be left without access to the proprietary core feature.
  • Reply 39 of 53
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,658member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lfmorrison View Post


    All very true. Firefox is not GPL.



    But the problem remains that if Firefox purchased a patent license for H.264, it would likely only cover copies of Firefox obtained directly from Mozilla. Third-party redistribution would not include conveyance of the necessary patent license (because Mozilla would not have permission to convey it) and therefore anybody who made use of a 3rd-party redistributed copy of Firefox would be in possession of the unlicensed H.264 codec contained therein. The copyright license (provided by Mozilla) really doesn't have anything to do with the patent license (provided by the MPEG-LA). ...



    This is such a non-issue, blown into an issue, just to justify Mozilla's ideology. Ideology is fine, but when it takes over the controls, you know you're in big trouble. The only one that's going to get burned by this ideological pureness is Mozilla, and that giant sucking sound you hear is Google vacuuming off Mozilla's user base.
  • Reply 40 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    This is such a non-issue, blown into an issue, just to justify Mozilla's ideology. Ideology is fine, but when it takes over the controls, you know you're in big trouble. The only one that's going to get burned by this ideological pureness is Mozilla, and that giant sucking sound you hear is Google vacuuming off Mozilla's user base.



    How, exactly, isn't it an issue? It their starting point is promoting openness, and this patent prevents them from achieving openness, then that seems like a pretty fundamental roadblock to me.
Sign In or Register to comment.