[Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Bjoern Hoehrmann derhoermi at gmx.net
Thu Jan 16 10:28:11 UTC 2014

* Fabrice Florin wrote:
>The Wikimedia Foundation's multimedia team (1) seeks your guidance on a 
>proposal to support the MP4 video format. As you know, this digital 
>video standard is used widely around the world to record, edit and watch 
>videos on mobile phones, desktop computers and home video devices. It is 
>also known as H.264/MPEG-4 or AVC. (2)

Actually, "MP4" is a container format and H.264 a video codec, and it is
quite normal to use variants of H.264 with other container formats like
AVI. Likewise, "MP4" does not imply using AAC as audio codec, MP3 could
be used instead, for instance. An analysis why AAC is being proposed may
be useful here.

>However, MP4 is a patent-encumbered format, and using a proprietary 
>format would be a departure from our current practice of only supporting 
>open formats on our sites -- even though the licenses appear to have 
>acceptable legal terms, with only a small fee required. 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=114053933 notes "Though
the full license agreements cannot be disclosed in public". That is not
very helpful in analysing claims later on like "Merely distributing MP4
files never requires a patent license."

What is the exact language to be used to inform anyone handling H.264
video downloaded from Wikimedia Foundation servers of their rights and
restrictions, specifically with regards to the relevant patent porfolio?
Making it abundantly clear what users can and cannot do with such files
should be considered a pre-condition for considering such a proposal.
Björn Höhrmann · mailto:bjoern at hoehrmann.de · http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
Am Badedeich 7 · Telefon: +49(0)160/4415681 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
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