[Foundation-l] Why don't we re-encode proprietary formats as Ogg?

Robert Rohde rarohde at gmail.com
Sun Jun 7 19:07:15 UTC 2009

On Sun, Jun 7, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Robert Rohde<rarohde at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Jun 7, 2009 at 8:26 AM, David Gerard<dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:
>> It would be a simple matter of programming to have something that
>> allows upload of encumbered video and audio formats and re-encode them
>> as Ogg Theora or Ogg Vorbis. It would greatly add to how much stuff we
>> get, as it would save the user the trouble of re-encoding, or
>> installing Firefogg, or whatever.
>> So why don't we do this? Has it been officially assessed as a legal
>> risk * (and I mean more than people saying it might be on a mailing
>> list **), has no-one really bothered, or what?
> Patent encumbered formats often have licensing fees when you perform
> encoding / decoding at commercial scale.  For example, the MPEG
> licensing association expects a fee from anyone distributing more than
> 100,000 MPEG encoded files per year, and those fees can run hundreds
> of thousands of dollars.  The WMF has a big enough budget that they
> could probably consider paying such fees (and enough clout they might
> negotiate a better than average rate), but even so it is still likely
> that paying the MPEG tax would require forgoing one or more staff
> hires.  It's not inconceivable, but such projects would require
> looking carefully at the trade-offs involved, and I think in many
> cases avoiding proprietary formats makes sense.

Just to be clear, there are potential fees along all the food chain,
i.e. encoding, decoding, and distribution.  I picked on distribution
because it was the one I knew off-hand.  Since David is talking about
decoding and re-encoding as Ogg, there would be a different set of
fees to consider which I haven't looked at.

-Robert Rohde

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