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

Todd Allen toddmallen at gmail.com
Fri Jan 17 14:16:25 UTC 2014

On Jan 16, 2014 11:05 PM, "Tim Starling" <tstarling at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> On 17/01/14 01:14, Todd Allen wrote:
> > 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).
> 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.
> -- Tim Starling
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If the server does the transcode and ultimately makes available only a
video file in a free format, and WMF doesn't have to pay the patent holders
to make that happen, then I would have no objection.

If, however, the nonfree format is made available for download, or WMF
funds would be supporting a software patent, those are clear negatives.

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