FFmpeg vs. MPEG-LA royalties
Posted Jan 29, 2010 12:07 UTC (Fri) by pboddie
In reply to: FFmpeg vs. MPEG-LA royalties
Parent article: Blizzard: HTML5 video and H.264 - what history tells us and why we're standing with the web
You cut this out in your reply which makes my point clear:
I would have a hard time obtaining a patent licence grant only for myself and then distributing Free Software affected by such a grant to others, but I guess my own standards of behaviour are different from those of others.
In case it isn't obvious to you, I'm putting myself in Google's position here.
Again: no problem for us. Apparently Google is not bound by such an agreement. And if they are, it's their problem.
The fact that this is Google's problem was my point four messages ago when I wrote:
Which brings us back to the patent licensing controversy where Google's licence covers Google, naturally, and Google's "evangelists" insist that they're not violating the licensing terms of FFmpeg even according to the spirit of those terms.
By "the spirit of those terms" take a look at the first quote above. And if the FSF's legal opinion were to stand on this matter, one would have to reassess Google's position beyond the mere spirit of those terms.
Naturally, the participants in the FFmpeg project, which I presume includes yourself, may not need to worry about being served with an injunction. After all, why would the cartel want to prevent the proliferation of software which is, according to them, subject to their licensing programme? It's a nice way of generating business.
Getting such technologies into an open standard is a bonus for the cartel (and a danger for everyone else), once everyone has convinced themselves that there's no risk in providing them to others (where "risk" includes unforeseen budget items related to patent licences that one was assured were not necessary), which was the caution given in the referenced article. It's distasteful to burden Free Software with such liabilities (see first quote, above, again) even if one's advice to people amounts to "it's cool" and "don't worry about it" (selective enforcement of patents is noted in the referenced article, by the way), but to burden open standards with them - noting the background of lobbying that goes on for "non-discriminatory licensing" in open standards (by patent holders) that would open the door for such inclusion - would push the boundaries of tastelessness still further. This is all covered adequately by the referenced article, of course.
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