H.264 List of Shame: all the patent holders

May 18, 2010

The following organizations hold one or more patents in the H.264/AVC patent pool:

(Source: Wikipedia MPEG LA)

Apple Inc.
DAEWOO
Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation
Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute
France Télécom, société anonyme
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.
Fujitsu Limited
Hitachi, Ltd.
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
LG Electronics Inc.
Microsoft Corporation
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
NTT docomo
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation
Panasonic Corporation
Robert Bosch GmbH GmbH
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Scientific-Atlanta Vancouver Company
Sedna Patent Services, LLC
Sharp Corporation
Siemens AG
Sony Corporation
Ericsson
The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
Toshiba Corporation
Victor Company of Japan, Limited

Further reading

Why Our Civilization’s Video Art and Culture is Threatened by the MPEG-LA

No, you can’t do that with H.264


Is H.264 a legal minefield for video pros?

Why this list…?

It’s a reminder for myself when it comes to spending money or investing in equipement. And yes, I like to share this list with everyone who cares about free artistic expression and who thinks that the moving image is too important and precious and should not be controlled by anyone and surely not by corporations or patent pools. (Software) patents are the cancer of this economy: they encourage greed, create monopolies, discourage innovation and as we are now seeing with the H.264 licensing fiasco they can seriously harm your video business, specially smaller ones.


H.264 licensing explained: it’s like “Schwarzer Peter” (“Old Maid”)

May 6, 2010

H.264 = last one pays (= gets the looser card)

As explained on engadget:

“…the person who sells the encoder and the person who sells the content are the ones who have to pay.”

So this here (also quoted from engadget) is *not* good:

“Yes, but it’s not as bad as it seems. First off, we’ve directly asked MPEG-LA whether or not using an H.264 camera simply to shoot video for a commercial purpose requires a license, and the answer is no.”

They are lawyers! R-e-f-r-a-s-e your question…!!!

“We’ve also asked whether an end user watching H.264 videos would ever have to pay or be licensed, and the answer to that question is also no. Yes, the license terms are worded poorly, but those are the answers straight from the patent horse’s mouth. Everyone can breathe again, ‘kay?”

Someone down the line will have to pay: “…the person who sells the content are the ones who have to pay”.

And what do you think will hold up in court? The written agreement you bought with the camera or what a clever lawyer says who obviously was sent to this H.264 PR event…? Those a l-a-w-y-e-r-s!!! Make them sign their own statements and be very careful with your wording…!!!

H.264 based video business = lock-in as soon as you push that record button

So if you are having a video business licensing fees for your H.264 recorded footage will be due down the line!

Basically your business will be *disadvantaged* over the business that avoids the H.264 lock-in!

H.264 licensing = the last one in the distribution chain pays, he gets the “Schwarzer Peter” (= the looser card – an old children’s card game here in Europe).

So what are my clients going to say when I sell them footage that they will need to pay licensing fees for…?! My guess is the bill will land on my table, at least it will weaken my position when it comes to selling/licensing my own video clip/3D footage!

I’m not so stupid and will build my business upon that model, pass on the “Schwarzer Peter” card (= looser card) to my clients!

As a film and video maker I like to 100% own my work.

What a lock-in business model it is that Apple, MS, the MPEG LA and all those companies that hold H.264 patents have built!

H.264 is the appropriation of your work from the moment you press that record button on your H.264 camera.

Why on earth is this legal? I can see the word m-o-n-o-p-o-l-y written all over this, specially when thinking of Steve Jobs/Apple (quoted from Open Letter to Steve Jobs): “All video codecs are covered by patents. A patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other “open source” codecs now.”

I guess it comes down to this:

All video codecs are equal, but some codecs are more equal than others.

Hello FCC…, hello EU commission…, hello consumer rights advocates…, hello film and video makers of this world:

This is our wake-up call…!!!


Steve Jobs, MS, MPEG LA: keep H.264, I’ll use VP8…

May 1, 2010

…since H.264 is patent encumbered. I’ll never use H.264 again and will re-encode all my online videos with VP8 (once open-sourced and usable).

Steve Jobs (quoted from Open Letter to Steve Jobs): “All video codecs are covered by patents. A patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other “open source” codecs now.”

And as it seems there is “a patent for everything”: MPEG LA

Good analysis: Jobs: Patent Pool Being Assembled To Go After Theora

Very interesting read, from the Theora mailing list: Mutually assured minefields

This is not only about video codecs, this is about the future of (free) video/moving images distribution (including post production) across a variety of devices and services. And it’s about (corporate) control over media content (via licensing fees, that you need to be able to afford, as e.g. big media always would…).


Issue 21 of BlenderArt Magazine with “Editing a Music Video in Blender” and video post presets

May 5, 2009

blenderart_mag_21Issue 21 of BlenderArt Magazine is just out and there you can find “Editing a Music Video in Blender”, a slightly modified version of my previous blog post from earlier this year (“Editing with Blender, Ubuntu…”). If you’ve read the article in BlenderArt Magazine and e.g. want to have a closer look at the node setup see the blog version of the article and click the screenshots to see the details.

What I’m really glad about is that my “Video Editing Preset” and “2D Titles Presets” .blends tutorials also get distributed with this edition of BlenderArt Magazine – if anyone ever needs them and/or can’t download them via my tutorial page simply also see the .blends that get distributed with Issue 21 of BlenderArt Magazine (“Editing a music video” > “video post blends presets from article.zip”)!


Open-source video editing for everyone: Blender VSE Quick Start updated (v0.1.1)!

November 15, 2008

What is new…?

Click the image to see a larger version.

new_in_quick_start_v011

The Quick Start guide (inside the .blend) now with “More” for “moving beyond the basics”. (Note that the layout has been arranged for this screenshot…)

Video Editing Preset (v0.1.1):

Download the .blend

*Update* This preset is meant to be used with the old/classic stable Blender 2.49b: get it here!

(Or get a recent version of Blender here.)

Next to the new selected shortcuts and tips that you can find under “More” a series of smaller additions has been made throughout the text (e.g. to “Snapping”, “Add Media” or the “Questions/Answers”) to further make sure that everything you need to get started with free and open-source video editing using Blender is there. The file now also works better as a preset as such: e.g. Scrub audio is now on but the text still shows you where to turn it on and off…

Why…?

Blender works on all major platforms and you can share .blends between e.g. Ubuntu, OS X and Windows. At the same time Blender is free and open-source and the Blender VSE also works on older hardware – e.g. recycled with Ubuntu (or the lightweight Xubuntu): if no other solution happens to be available you could still get some work done or discuss a project using an old PC…!

Whether you are a video artist and always curious about new tools, a production company specialised in (3D) short format video (even if you don’t do your 3D work with Blender) or a (non-profit) organisation with a tight budget: the Blender VSE brings high-end video post to virtually any PC at no cost. (See the official Blender Wiki for more (“Using VSE”) including current limitations and workarounds.)

text_size_changed_and_timeline_added_under_preview

Change the size of the tutorial text with one click (see image…) or add Blender’s actual Timeline (e.g. under the Preview window, see tutorial for details) that offers more features for Markers.

Missing features…?

Blender is very flexible and can be customised in ways that commercial and closed source NLEs simply can’t: e.g. you could add smaller features like (a currently missing) Time code display via Python script (or simply use the built in Stamp option (Render buttons) for overlaying time information…).

The Blender VSE is not Final Cut Pro or Avid, but in the long run you might find that Blender (which is a 3D programme after all) allows you to realise projects that you previously simply could not do without an extra investment in yet more proprietary (and possibly limiting) commercial solutions (see all the new VSE feature (“Sequencer changes”) since Blender 2.46).

Suggestions and feedback

…for improving the tutorial/preset welcome!

And special thanks

…for hosting the .blend to Paul from the final BUG blog!

*02.01.09* Ubuntu (8.04, 8.10) users who experience problems with sound playback in Blender, are looking for solutions for FireWire related issues or have problems with the windowed (= not fullscreen) Blender version see the second comment!  (And feel free to post solutions to other related problems as a comment…)


Blender Video Sequence Editor: Quick Start

July 25, 2008

Video Editing Preset: Quick Start Tutorial

Quick Start shows the very basics needed to quickly get started with the Blender Video Sequence Editor (VSE).

*Update* This preset is meant to be used with the old/classic stable Blender 2.49b: get it here! (Or get a recent version of Blender here.)

*link updated* (v0.1.1, 15th November 2008)

1) Download the Video Editing Preset .blendQuick Start tutorial included (works without extra video files!)

2) Download Blender (in case you don’t have the latest Blender 2.46)

3) Double-click the .blend

Since Blender works under FreeBSD, Linux, OS X, Solaris and Windows the Blender VSE offers free and open-source video editing for almost any platform that an editor, video artist or company might be using. This means you could start working on your old iMac, send the .blend to your co-editor who has a Windows PC and once you get it back you could finish the project on your new Ubuntu workstation – the same .blend can be opened and edited on all platforms!

See all the new features that the Blender VSE offers since Blender 2.46. For more information, including some current limitations and workarounds, see the Blender Wiki: Using VSE.

2D Title Presets: Updated

*Update* This preset is meant to be used with the old/classic stable Blender 2.49b: get it here! (Or get a recent version of Blender here.)

*link updated* (v0.1.1a, 15th November 2008)

1) Download the 2D Title Presets .blend – the tutorial (included) now begins with a few quick steps to get started in no time

2) Download Blender

3) Double-click the .blend

Tutorials = CC Licensed – Your Work = Yours!

Both .blends/tutorials are (now) distributed under a Creative Commons license (Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported) – however you may use these .blends as starting points for your own commercial Blender made projects! Simply remove the tutorial texts (and rename the .blend) before sharing your .blends with others. The license restrictions only apply to the tutorial text and the tutorial as such!

Your editing projects and titles are yours!

If you are an educator, teacher or trainer: you may use these .blends in your classes (e.g. film school, multimedia training etc.) as long as they are distributed in their original form (no changes made) and free of charge.

See the .blends and the CC license for details.

One reason for the restrictions: I plan to update the tutorials, maybe extend them and simply can not support multiple versions. Thanks for understanding.

Special Thanks

…to Paul from the final BUG for hosting the .blend files!


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