Re: [rtcweb] MTI Video Codec: a novel proposal

Ron <> Tue, 11 November 2014 19:46 UTC

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Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2014 06:16:03 +1030
From: Ron <>
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Subject: Re: [rtcweb] MTI Video Codec: a novel proposal
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On Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 02:16:17PM +0000, Andrew Allen wrote:
> Adam
> "In terms of what would constitute "compelling evidence", that's going to 
> have to be something that the working group (or some successor group, 
> depending on timing) comes to consensus around"
> If this compromise was to move forward I think any "compelling
> evidence", is likely to be many years down the road (things will
> likely need to play out in the courts first etc) which means that the
> RTCweb group likely doesn't exist anymore or is by then a rump group
> that doesn't have the broad industry participation that we have now.

I think Adam clarified this already too.  The shell game of IP law
effectively makes it impossible to consider questions of validity,
and that includes not just the IETF, but court rulings too (since
another court in another jurisdiction could rule differently and
both judgements could stand simultaneously).

So the only thing we can look at is the formal declarations that
have been made (and not withdrawn).  In that environment, the only
court ruling that might be relevant would be an injunction to
withdraw a blatantly false and anti-competitive declaration, and
I'm not aware of any such cases actually being prosecuted.

None of the court cases people have currently indicated would be
directly relevant to this question for us afaics.

> Would we really go through the process to constitute a new WG just in
> order to debate whether there is "compelling evidence"?
> I certainly would have a big concern if a much smaller group like IESG
> or a rump remnants of RTCweb were in the end to make such a
> determination without a full long (months) high profiled public
> discussion. Also a BoF would not in my view be appropriate to make
> this determination either.
> So if we go this approach aren't we effectively mandating both codecs
> for RTCweb 1.0 with the possibility that in any future RTCweb 2.0 we
> might revisit that decision?
> We need to be cast iron now about the process for revisiting this if
> this goes forward and also with some guidance as to what developments
> are appropriate to trigger revisiting it, as we can't have someone
> just propose at every IETF to reopen this discussion until they get
> the decision they want.

I thought about the question of what the window for triggering this
would be too, but it seemed like a relatively small yak to shave if
we had in-principle agreement on the other details of it (and quite
pointless to worry about if we didn't).

Given that the examples Adam elaborated on (H.264 becomes RF, VP8 is
certified RF by ISO) are possibly the only realistic triggers here
unless something Really surprising happens, we kind of have a natural
bound on this being decided anyway.

Either the H.264 cabal gets its shit together before the ISO process
is completed, and tips it in their favour, or we find out whether what
comes out of the ISO will do so or not.  It doesn't seem likely that
much will happen after that point until declared IPR expires, or the
IETF forms a video codec WG and gives us all an Opus for video.

Possibly the only outcome that would have our bowl of petunias thinking
"Oh no, not again" would be if team H.264 bottles it on the eve of an
RF announcement for VP8 by ISO and declares their codec to be also RF
at the same time.  Which might be good for the world in general, but
would leave us back at a stalemate again over our decision trigger.

Whether it's worth adding some "you acted in bad faith, so you lose"
clause to cover that outcome, or whether we just say "everybody has
already implemented both, and now they're both free so stuff it we
can keep both" I'm undecided on.  That would kind of depend on how
strongly someone might argue the cost of supporting both if both
were RF.  And maybe how much we think that might apply positive
pressure on the H.264 patent holders to act in a timely way if they
are going to ever act at all.

Either way, the natural bound would seem to be "This has to happen
before WGLC on the relevant documents" since after that they become
immutable unless we publish a superseding proposed standard.  It
will be this group that gets to decide if there is anything we
should wait before before taking that step.  What any future group
decides is a matter for them, we can't constrain them for all time
here and now.

Do you see some other way this might unexpectedly come unstuck?

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Adam Roach []
> Sent: Monday, November 10, 2014 02:42 PM Eastern Standard Time
> To: Ron <>rg>; <>
> Subject: Re: [rtcweb] MTI Video Codec: a novel proposal
> Ron:
> You are correct in that the IETF doesn't take a position on the validity 
> of IPR declarations, and I'd like to thank you for bringing the topic up 
> so that I could clarify the proposal. Rather than evaluating the 
> *validity* of declarations, we would be evaluating the licensing 
> statements associated with those declarations (where applicable).
> In terms of what would constitute "compelling evidence", that's going to 
> have to be something that the working group (or some successor group, 
> depending on timing) comes to consensus around. I believe that examples 
> of such situations would include things like "MPEG-LA announces 
> non-discriminatory, royalty-free H.264 licensing for WebRTC" or "ISO 
> publishes VP8 specification with only Type-1 IPR declarations".
> With regards to bad actors' impact on the process, I fear this is an 
> unfortunate consequence of international IPR law as it is currently 
> defined that we are not in a position to fix. The best we can hope for 
> is that the associated parties recognize the goodwill implications of 
> standing in the way of progress, and the potential implications of 
> developing bad blood between their company and the rest of the standards 
> community.
> It's not awesome, but it's better than anything else that I've seen 
> proposed so far.
> /a
> On 11/9/14 18:00, Ron wrote:
> > Hi Adam,
> >
> > I do need to say that I really appreciate the effort you've put into
> > trying to help guide this discussion, both previously and now.  You
> > speak an uncommon amount of good common sense.
> >
> > It's not clear to me exactly how you expect this part to work though:
> >
> > On Sun, Nov 09, 2014 at 04:08:25PM -1000, Adam Roach wrote:
> >> 2. WebRTC devices MUST implement both VP8 and H.264. If compelling
> >>     evidence arises that one of the codecs is available for use on a
> >>     royalty-free basis, such as all IPR declarations known for the codec
> >>     being of (IETF) Royalty-Free or (ISO) type 1, the IETF will change
> >>     this normative statement to indicate that only that codec is
> >>     required. For absolute, crystal clarity, this provision is only
> >>     applicable to WebRTC devices, and not to WebRTC User Agents.
> >
> > What would constitute "compelling evidence" in this context?
> >
> > Since the IETF doesn't take any position on the validity of IPR
> > declarations, I'm not seeing how the conditional clause here can
> > be anything but a no-op that would be essentially impossible to
> > trigger.
> >
> > There are plenty of proposed standards which have IPR declarations
> > made against them, which pretty much everyone who has analysed them
> > in any detail agree are utterly bogus and inapplicable, but for
> > which the organisation which declared them refuses to withdraw.
> >
> > What am I missing that would encourage different behaviour to that
> > in this case?
> >
> >    Cheers,
> >    Ron