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

Andrew Lih andrew.lih at gmail.com
Thu Jan 16 16:02:42 UTC 2014

You know I think you're awesome David, so I take your words to heart.
You're right about the magnitude of the decision.

I can see how "backdoored" was not meant to ascribe a motive or
underhandedness, but to alert the community that we're allowing a practice
we may not completely grasp in terms of a culture change.

Instead, I'd neutralize backdoored to something like, "unwittingly shifting
our cherished values for the worse."

I voted to go with MP4 but my skepticism is high -- I'm still not satisfied
we have deciphered all the legal aspects to our satisfaction:
- Confusing consumer electronics MPEG-4 AT&T license for "personal and
non-commercial activity" as brought up by User:Geni
- Secret non-public licenses WMF would need to purchase, and the community
wouldn't understand
- What happens after 2016 when the secret license fees could arbitrarily
- What happens with CC-BY-SA MPEG-4 content downloaded from Commons if it's
used in a commercial setting? Have we sprung a surprise gotcha on creators
of derivative works?

These are not easy, but I'd like to explore them, cautiously, even for a
limited trial.


On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 10:41 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>
> wrote:
> >> This proposal asks to move to a "free as in beer" model, where content
> will
> >> be free to view, but not necessarily to reuse (and with the opaque
> license,
> >> it may not even be possible to tell). We could choose to make that
> change,
> >> but it is a major change to the founding principles of what we do.  As
> such
> >> 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
> question
> >> about format support.
> > As much as I hate how MPEG-LA and MPEG-4 creates a non-free climate for
> our
> > 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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