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

Todd Allen toddmallen at gmail.com
Thu Jan 16 15:54:45 UTC 2014

On Jan 16, 2014 8:41 AM, "David Gerard" <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 16 January 2014 15:36, Andrew Lih <andrew.lih at gmail.com> wrote:
> > On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 9:14 AM, Todd Allen <toddmallen at gmail.com>
> >> This proposal asks to move to a "free as in beer" model, where content
> >> be free to view, but not necessarily to reuse (and with the opaque
> >> it may not even be possible to tell). We could choose to make that
> >> but it is a major change to the founding principles of what we do.  As
> >> it should be discussed directly and across all projects as such a major
> >> change, and not backdoored through a vote that is on its surface a
> >> about format support.
> > As much as I hate how MPEG-LA and MPEG-4 creates a non-free climate for
> > video, it's unfair to use "backdoor" to characterize intent of either
> > community members or WMF employees in this area.
> I think it's quite fair to note, loudly and often, that *functionally*
> it creates a backdoor for nonfree content.
> This is a major, major change, being posited as allowing a format.
> Furthermore, this has been discussed before, and the proponents *are
> fully aware* that it is a major, major change that they are positing
> as allowing a format.
> So claiming that it's "assuming bad faith" to notice this and say so
> comes across as disingenuous.
> - d.
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That is exactly my intent. I don't mean to imply WMF is acting with malice
here. However, in this instance, a technological change would cause a
significant shift in the principles and ethics behind what we do. So rather
than focusing on technology, the question should be whether free content
should be removed as a fundamental principle of our movement. Functionally,
that is what this proposal, if implemented, would do.

Otherwise, exactly as David explained, corrosion to that principle slips in
by the back door, whether by accident or design. If we want to ask that
question, ask it directly.

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