Re: [rtcweb] Finishing up the Video Codec document, MTI (again, still, sorry)

David Singer <singer@apple.com> Thu, 04 December 2014 21:22 UTC

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From: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
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Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2014 13:22:02 -0800
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To: Roman Shpount <roman@telurix.com>
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Subject: Re: [rtcweb] Finishing up the Video Codec document, MTI (again, still, sorry)
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> On Dec 4, 2014, at 13:04 , Roman Shpount <roman@telurix.com> wrote:
> 
> On Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 3:43 PM, DRAGE, Keith (Keith) <keith.drage@alcatel-lucent.com> wrote:
> As a tangent to this discussion, I'd note that pretty much every codec implementor will be subject to additional IPR risk. This is because pretty much all the standards specifications of codecs only specify the decoder (VP8 included). Therefore any IPR claims and licences tied to the specification will only have relevance to the decoder.
> 
> Unless you have a viable application that only needs the decoder, you will have zero visibility in the standards IPR databases of what IPR claims might exist against your coder implementation.
> 
> Everyone who uses the term "codec" in association with "royalty free" or "IPR free" is misleading the world. What they mean is the decoder only.
> 
> 
> Actually Google does grant patent license to the implementation of WebM, which includes both encoder and decoder (http://www.webmproject.org/license/additional/). This is one of the reasons we think VP8 license is better then H.264. (The other two are reciprocity and no use restrictions on the produced media).

It doesn’t take long to find the word “encoder” in the MPEG-LA summary:

"SUMMARY OF AVC/H.264 LICENSE TERMS1

The AVC Patent Portfolio License is divided into two principal parts (see Diagram): (a) sublicenses granting the right to manufacture and sell AVC encoders and decoders…”

That the specification only specifies the decoding process does not mean that the license only applies to decoding. Those granting licenses appear to grant them also for encoding, to my read. (IANAL).

MPEG has taken the position that as long as you produce decodable, conformant, bitstreams, you can encode how you like.  Given that this has resulted in substantial (I have heard 2X) performance improvements in the life of codecs (MPEG-2 and I think AVC) this seems goodness to me.



David Singer
Manager, Software Standards, Apple Inc.