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LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 23, 2013
An "enum" for Python 3
An unexpected perf feature
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
From a press release at http://mpeg.chiariglione.org/meetings/daegu11/daegu_press..., they seem to be planning to release a "royalty free" video standard.
The site where I found this (http://www.robglidden.com/2011/02/mpeg-envisages-royalty-...) mentions, in another post (http://www.robglidden.com/2010/08/mpeg-moves-forward-with...), that what they mean by "royalty free" is "[t]he Patent Holder is prepared to grant a free of charge license to an unrestricted number of applicants on a worldwide, non-discriminatory basis and under other reasonable terms and conditions to make, use, and sell implementations of the above document."
And their motivation seems to be helping "video distribution over the Internet" (see http://www.robglidden.com/2010/04/mpeg-resolution-on-roya... for the full quote).
In other news - "MPEG envisages royalty-free MPEG video coding standard"
Posted Feb 13, 2011 16:07 UTC (Sun) by tialaramex (subscriber, #21167)
Standards work is only fulfilling if you are able to change the world. Preferably for the better, but sometimes it feels like making things worse would at least be an improvement on being ignored.
So when you tell a standards body "nobody uses these standards because..." that is really important feedback which they will try to react to. Right now the message is "patent encumbrance is a problem". They don't hear this from you or me, we're too small for the committee to notice. But Mozilla and Google are not too small.
Traditionally, outfits like MPEG felt that RAND was good enough. They visualised the implementer as a medium sized company, able to afford a lawyer, at least on a part time basis, to sort out the paperwork, and able to afford RAND license fees from their income doing... whatever they did. But in Free Software obviously the implementer is sometimes a 14 year old in his bedroom. He doesn't have a lawyer, and he can't afford any fees, and if he is important (even if only symbolically) then RAND is not good enough any more.
So participation in MPEG requires RAND. But they could easily change that, for a subcommittee, for the whole of MPEG or for the entire Joint Technical Committee (the ISO IEC collaboration that is responsible for MPEG) and it seems they are in the process of trying just that.
Notice that on its own this fixes very little, though it's an encouraging sign. It doesn't fix much because the patent terms apply only to those who contribute to the specific standard. Any patent troll will skip the "royalty free" work, and they then remain free to demand any terms they like. This problem affects the RAND standards too - a previously unknown company could pop up at any moment and announce that it has a relevant patent and it wants $5Bn in license fees or damages from say, Apple.
Posted Feb 15, 2011 3:34 UTC (Tue) by butlerm (subscriber, #13312)
Patents are evil - there is not much you can do about that except repeal the patent laws.
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