Mobile video formats

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Wed Feb 26 16:26:16 EST 2020

Colin Holgate wrote:

> H.264 as the codec, and MP4 as the file format, ought to work on both.

An excellent choice for non-for-profit work, but for commercial's complicated:

    The MPEG LA, responsible for administering the patent pool governing
    the AVC/H.264 video codec, said it would not charge royalties for
    video delivered to the Internet without charge.

    The organization previously said that it would not charge royalties
    for free streams through the end of 2015; the new extension allows
    content creators to cut out the H.264 licensing costs from their

    However, companies that develop products and services that are used
    to encode and decode video, for example, would be forced to still pay
    royalties to the licensing body. MPEG LA's AVC Patent Portfolio
    License covers these devices, as well as AVC video sold to end users
    for a fee on a title or subscription basis and free television video
    services, MPEG LA said.

    The H.264 Licensing Labyrinth
    In conclusion, the MPEG LA aggregation of a patent bundle into a
    licensing portfolio is an attempt to make the licensing process
    easier for the user or manufacturer of an H.264 encoding or decoding
    system. While the process is not simple to understand, a complaint
    often lodged against the H.264 licensing process by competing codec
    solutions, it is much easier than trying to gather licenses from a
    large number of patent holders. While the process of figuring out
    which areas are applicable might be tricky, the fees themselves are
    easily calculable, with the exception of a few questions we’ve noted
    throughout this document.

    Another key point to remember is that a licensing portfolio can be
    modified at any moment, and the licensing structure is very much a
    "living document" in the sense that patent holders may opt to use
    a different approach or market forces may shift the terms of the
    licensing to meet economic or growth realities. As none of these
    participation fees for "free" television and internet delivery have
    been adjudicated, over time there may be a shift in licensing
    structures as someone may challenge the current structure of the dual
    royalty charges or even on the more nebulous definition of the
    "broadcast market" term. It is the responsibility of MPEG LA (and
    its patent holder pool) to better define several of these areas,
    especially when other codec options exist.

    In the meantime, two things will continue to occur. First,
    proprietary codec manufacturers will continue to market the fact that
    they charge no decoding license fee. Ignoring the fact that they do
    charge an encoding license fee that may or may not be equal to the
    total fee charged for encoding and decoding of H.264, the "no
    decoding license fee" marketing strategy has struck a chord that MPEG
    LA and its patent partners might need to further address.

Unfortunately I couldn't find anything newer than those and articles 
like them, and since the MPEG-LA consortium reserves the rights to 
modify its licensing terms at any time they may have changed.  Or not. 
Or in a different direction.  I'd be happy to read anything newer if 
anyone has a URL and the situation has changed.

Proprietary codecs are complicated, and h.264 licensing is among the 
most complex we've seen yet.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Systems

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