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

Holger Waechtler holger at convergence.de
Wed Feb 11 04:40:51 PST 2004

Arc Riley wrote:
> 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.

ounds good.

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