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

Andrew Lih andrew.lih at gmail.com
Fri Jan 17 19:04:05 UTC 2014

On Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 12:05 PM, Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi at gmx.net>wrote:

> * Andrew Lih wrote:
> >BTW, Luis from WMF has put a very lengthy and detailed analysis of the
> >legal issues that does help quite a bit, at the end of the RFC:
> >
> >
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Requests_for_comment/MP4_Video#Commercial_use_and_h264
> I note that the Wikimedia Foundation does not really have to obtain a
> license to use H.264 encoders and decoders, users could do the format
> conversions elsewhere and the Wikimedia Foundation could then "merely
> distribute" the files. As the RfC notes, "Merely distributing MP4 files
> never requires a patent license." That would spare us problems like the
> "secret contract" issue.

That would be the status quo. But that's also the problem -- the conversion
tools are lacking and serve as a choke point for contributions. Right now
the most ubiquitous MP4 creation devices (your mobile phone) cannot
directly upload to Commons because of this issue. (Disappointingly, this is
a reason for some Commons users to cheer/vote who simply don't like ease of
video contribution.)

Requiring users to do format conversion on their side also it makes it
extremely hard for remixing, since popular video editors don't ingest Ogg
or WebM as downloaded from Commons. You would have a situation of
MP4->Ogg/WebM conversion; upload to Commons; next user downloads Commons
Ogg/WebM; Ogg/WebM->MP4 conversion; ingest to video editor. That means
there's undesirable generation loss.

> Why does the proposal, instead, suggest the Foundation should engage in
> the practise of, not just mere distribution, but Internet Broadcasting?
> That apparently requires a patent license. For that matter, would users
> who download video automatically obtain Internet Re-Broadcasting rights?

Read the details and you'll see that free (as in beer) Internet Broadcast
video doesn't need a license.


"In the case of Internet Broadcast AVC Video (AVC Video that is delivered
via the Worldwide Internet to an End User for which the End User does not
pay remuneration for the right to receive or view, i.e., neither
Title-by-Title nor Subscription), there will be no royalty for the life of
the License."

> I do note that according to MPEG LA there are only about 1300 entities
> with relevant license agreements, if putting a H.264 video on my web
> site whether people can download it is Internet Broadcasting and I do
> not obtain an Internet Broadcasting license by pressing the "record"
> button on my camera, or some other automatic process, then that figure
> is several orders of magnitude too small, or patent holders tolerate a
> lot of infringement (for the moment).

Yes, this is what's confusing about MPEG-LA's stance -- basically it wants
to rich entities with deep pockets near the end of the distribution chain
to pay.

This article might help, but it's still confusing:


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