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

Bjoern Hoehrmann derhoermi at gmx.net
Fri Jan 17 13:18:27 UTC 2014

* Tim Starling wrote:
>On 17/01/14 01:14, Todd Allen 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). 
>I don't really understand this argument. It's not like there are video
>cameras that record directly to Theora. So presumably, most videos
>uploaded to Commons start life as H.264 or some other proprietary
>format, and are transcoded to Theora before they are uploaded to Commons.
>The proposal is to make it possible to upload the source file and have
>the server do the transcode, whereas currently, the source file is
>private and thus not distributed under a free license. Currently, if
>you want to reuse an H.264 source file, you have to somehow contact
>the author, beg for a copy of the file, and hope that they haven't
>deleted it. With this proposal, if you want to reuse an H.264 file
>without a patent license, you can just download the Theora transcode
>from the server.
>I am having trouble thinking of a scenario where the current situation
>would be better for reuse than the proposed situation. If you can
>think of one, please tell me.

It seems to me that we all agree it would be nice if people could upload
H.264 video to Wikimedia Foundation servers and if people could download
H.264 video from Wikimedia servers and possibly even reuse such video.
There are efforts underway to try and make some H.264 profile available
on a royality-free basis that the Foundation probably should study and
possibly support. This RFC however is not going to give people a license
to upload or reuse H.264 video by the looks of it. The "download Theora"
approach is already supported, so there is no difference there either.

If there is some legal theory by which "most people" either already have
or do not need to be given a license to upload or reuse H.264 video (in-
cluding considerations with respect to how such video came to be) then
by all means make that part of the RfC and then we could say whether the
proposal would actually improve anything.
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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