[theora-dev] Re: [libdv-dev] DV format patent status

Arc Riley arc at xiph.org
Tue Feb 10 15:32:22 PST 2004

On Tue, Feb 10, 2004 at 12:49:32PM -0800, Jay Sprenkle wrote:
> I was thinking of a third party claiming they
> had prior art. IE. Al Gore claims he invented it
> before the consortium. You check with them,
> they claim no patent. You develop. Al sues
> and shows a patent application at the US patent
> office. You made Al a lot of money.

With DV in Ogg, I don't think this is an issue.  Mainly because if such 
a case existed for DV they'd go after the big guys.  The megacorps who 
are selling videocameras by the millions to everyone under the sun.

The reason for putting DV into Ogg is to make editing easier.  An app 
could have a number of Ogg bitstreams and work with them on the Ogg 
level very efficiently while not having to work with uncompressed data.  
If you were to input from DV, you could (with such an app) do a bunch of 
edits and export back to DV without transcoding.  That's a pretty cool 
feature to strive towards.  It would also help tremendously to be able 
to compress the audio layer of DV with Flac vs storing it uncompressed 
(if my interpretations of the spec are accurate as far as how DV stores 

So since the reason to put DV into Ogg is based purely on the fact that 
a majority of consumer cameras use DV, if someone sued the big guys for 
using DV our reason for continuing support for it would drop as quickly 
as commercial use of it in cameras would.  That is, if the big guys were 
to tolerate this.  My guess is they'd send their high-salary lawyers 
after the company claiming patent infringement and bury them.

In reality, also, if Panasonic does have a patent it's in their best 
interests to license it freely.  They have a huge investement in DV and 
continuing to allow royalty-free use of DV format in software means a 
greater body of software would support their standard.  I don't think 
anyone in the free software community really *wants* to begin promoting 
an alternative (free) digital camcorder format just to enable free 
software video editing tools to be available, nor does Panasonic want 
Linux users to not buy their products because they're not supported.
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