[theora-dev] Re: [libdv-dev] DV format patent status
arc at xiph.org
Tue Feb 10 17:48:35 PST 2004
On Tue, Feb 10, 2004 at 03:57:17PM -0800, Ralph Giles wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 10, 2004 at 06:32:22PM -0500, Arc Riley wrote:
> > 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.
> Just like with GIF?
Ah, but with GIF unisys wasn't trying to sell consumer products which
required that GIF encoders/decoders were compatable. AFAIR, they
realised only later that they owned the patent and that everyone was
using it. Then they were like, "oh, how can we profit from this?".
Panasonic, JVC, Sony, etc are not selling software, they're selling
cameras, and they have a large amount of investment in the technology
behind these cameras. If the conclusion of this investigation leads to
there being one or more patents held by these companies, and they won't
give us a royalty-free unlimited license to it (basically what On2 did),
the ripple effect from this will lead to not only their cameras not
being purchased by Linux users, but very likely a competing standard
using a more modern set of codecs making it not just technologically
superior, but free to implement everywhere. They know this, and I'm
sure they don't want this.
The DV standard is roughly a decade old now. If we really had to start
advocating an alternative it would be worth the change for purely
technical reasons. Imagine a VIA C3 processor, the same as used on
mini-itx boards, being tossed a case with a low-end ($20) CCD and laptop
HD ($150). VIA would love this, of course, a new market for their CPUs
and other chipsets. Using a modern video codec that HD can store
several days of video, is less fault-prone than tape, store higher
quality video (because intraframe codecs suck for compression), and the
best of all; it'd be non-linear. So no more sitting and waiting for
tape to transfer, or seeking through the tape to find the capture point.
... and it'd probobally be less expensive than even the low-end cams JVC
puts out. It'd use Ogg + patent-free codecs, so it'd be royalty free
and easy for anyone to implement in their existing software. It'd help
Ogg's adoption in the digital video market and VIA (or whoever) would
sell more chips so they'd be happy. And the software on the cameras
could be Free Software, running Linux and be openly hackable, making the
video hacker guys happy. It'd be higher quality so the professional
video market would buy into it, it could even include stuff like WiFi or
wired ethernet support so the cameras could stream live over the 'net.
So you see why it's in their best interest to license it freely to
everyone. They aren't in the business of selling licenses, they're in
the business of selling consumer/professional products. And by not
licensing it freely they could, in the process, be creating the need
which brings about an alternative.
After getting inspired by the above, I think I'm going to investigate
the costs and logistics of this. It'd be damned cool if VIA (or
someone) were to partner with Xiph to build a better camera. If the
results of this investigation find that patents DO cover DV, and the
company(ies) who hold them are not interested in freely licensing the
use of DV, a new market for free cameras would be born.
--- >8 ----
List archives: http://www.xiph.org/archives/
Ogg project homepage: http://www.xiph.org/ogg/
To unsubscribe from this list, send a message to 'theora-dev-request at xiph.org'
containing only the word 'unsubscribe' in the body. No subject is needed.
Unsubscribe messages sent to the list will be ignored/filtered.
More information about the Theora-dev