MPEG-4 Licenses

arn

macrumors god
Original poster
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
14,502
1,785
This CNet article explores the licensing issues involved behind Apple and MPEG LA.

Apple would not say whether it might be willing to pay more to spare the content distributors from having to pay a per-stream fee. In an interview, Frank Casanova, director of QuickTime product marketing at Apple, said that although MPEG-4 is the best codec for Apple's needs it is not the only one. However, he would not put a time frame on when Apple might abandon MPEG-4 if licensing terms could not be worked out

Constructive feedback regarding these terms can be sent to licensing@mpegla.com
 

cryptochrome

macrumors regular
Jan 4, 2002
123
0
Well if the MPEG4 format is indeed based on Quicktime, it stands to reason that Apple must be directly responsible for much of the technology. In fact the only real advatage I was aware about of MPEG4 versus Quicktime was that it was an industry standard.

Apple could rework their software to "remove" MPEG 4 support, and rely on their own QT5 format and the improvements they have made since then. Or unofficially support MPEG4, even, until they get around to making a reasonable licensing agreement. Why waste time on such a prohibitive standard? I don't see why MPEG4 should be distributed as anything BUT free in the end, with the sponsor companies collectively footing the bill for development so they could have this nice, high quality, open standard in the first place.
 
T

TechLarry

Guest
There is a little guy in my head telling me that this is a conspiracy, and that some other company (cough cough) has talked MPEG LA into making the licensing so ridiculous as to kill off QuickTime 6.

Think about it.

Then, will someone PLEASE get rid of this little guy in my head...

:)

TL
 

Gelfin

macrumors 68020
Sep 18, 2001
2,166
4
Denver, CO
I wouldn't count on any comments, constructive or otherwise, affecting Apple's case with MPEG LA. A quick perusal of their site shows what kind of company this is. MPEG LA is not a technology company. MPEG LA is a new, almost inevitable breed of company which has gotten its first real foothold in the media industry.

MPEG LA is a parasite company. Run by lawyers pretending to be technologists, a parasite company exists not to provide products and services, but to obstruct others from doing so in a particular industry. They do this by collecting patents, charging royalties, and suing as many people as they can. Of course they couch this in language about how they provide convenience to their clients (by allowing them to funnel all their royalty dollars to one convenient location).

Observe also the website for 1394 LA. This is a totally separate company, staffed by the EXACT SAME PEOPLE, but for Firewire instead of MPEG. The language used in press releases makes it sound as if the technological innovators in an industry came together in a spirit of goodwill to form a company for licensing their respective intellectual property claims. If a group of MPEG patentholders formed a licensing consortium, and a group of Firewire patentholders independently formed their own similar consortium, you wouldn't expect them to be managed by the same company. But here you go. (Of course, Apple is one of the major IP holders in the IEEE 1394 arena).

On the contrary, what you have here is a company which paints itself to consumers as being a direct cooperative venture between the companies whose patents they manage, but has a very different face which they show to patentholders. To them, the company is a licensing (and litigation) service provider for a given technology. In an interview, one of MPEG LA's execs said that MPEG LA would not be heavy handed, and would not sue people who chose not to pay the royalties, though he could not guarantee that the patentholders themselves would not. What this actually means is, if you violate patents in MPEG LA's patent pool, the lawyers backing MPEG LA (not MPEG LA itself, mind you) will sue your pants off, "on behalf" of the patentholder.

To sum up, what you have are lawyers who position themselves directly in the cash stream between technology providers and consumers, and suck in cash from every direction while providing little real service. Restricting themselves to multiple little atomic front companies, each dedicated to its own technology, is a brilliant stroke, because generalized patent poolling is a violation of antitrust laws, at least until the lawyers successfully lobby to remove that restriction.
 

MasterX (OSiX)

macrumors 6502
Sep 3, 2001
310
0
I find it interesting that Apple practically invented MPEG4. Or at least "based on QuickTime technology", I would think that MPEG4 is therfor more or less a new flavor or Sorrenson. Anyway then how is it they have so little say in royalties? Amazing. Also is seems to me the MPEGLA agreement Apple wants is that they pay for everyone's copy of the full codec up front, and then every QT6 user can make and play MPEG4 movies. Please correct anythign I have wrong.

Secondly I want to know if someone can explain these two things:
1) When was a MPEG group branded MPEG-4 "player" (or codec for aplayer) available.

2) What (if any) connection does DivX have to MPEG4. And is there such a thign as a DivX VCD (or are they all MPEG1).

Yeah ok that was a lot. Read penny-arcade.com
 

MasterX (OSiX)

macrumors 6502
Sep 3, 2001
310
0
What "based on" really means

I talked to my most knowledgeable contact on computer information and had him explain what Apple and MPEG4 had to do in common. As you know when you open a QT5 movie you can view the size, codec, fps, sound format, ect. This information is stored in a format Apple invented for Quicktime. Likewise Apple programmed in more data so it can read universal standards, MPEG, MPEG2, MP3, and now MPEG4. But unlike MPEG 1/2, the new MP4 is actually written for the Quicktime wrapper. So Apple is simply going to be the #1 supporter of MP4, they didn't actually work on the codec. So what does this mean? Well all applications that take advantage of Quicktime will now get all the QT6 advantages. SO FCP3 will run a little faster and can now encode into MP4 or MP2. OmniWeb or Internet Explorer will now be able to play new web formats, especially MPEG4. If the idea is wrappers is confusing, think of it this way: a .mov can be one of around 30 formats, anything from Sorrenson to AAC Audio. Similarly a .avi can be opened in Quicktime but even though Quicktime can read the wrapper (avi) it might not be able to play the video (I get errors a lot off avi's). OK I think I explained that correctly, don't flame me if I messed up.
 

Ensign Paris

macrumors 68000
Nov 4, 2001
1,781
0
Europe
I was wondering if Quicktime 6 will be OSX only? I bet it works on OS9 too.

Do you think I should change my name to commander paris?

Ensign
 

Gelfin

macrumors 68020
Sep 18, 2001
2,166
4
Denver, CO
Re: What is MPEG-4

Originally posted by stoid
What exactly is MPEG4??? I know its some new (or not so new) encoding format, but what are comparable file sizes, hardware requirements, and stuff like that??
In general, the contents of a 4.7GB DVD in MPEG-2 will fit onto a 650MB CD in MPEG-4. It's pretty nice.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
i get so annoyed by people thinking that apple makes everything and if apple uses it, they must have made it. apple doesn't make anything, anything! they buy it from others, they didn't even make quicktime, a company in europe did, which you should know because microsoft tried using the same company to help them make media player and apple sued them and won. apple had nothing, nothing to do with mpeg 4, why such the interest? divx on the pc has become so popular especially when using programs like morpheas or kazaa. divx on a mac won't work for alot of reasons, which hopefully will now be fixed. mpeg is a format, with many codecs. now divx, uses mp3 and quicktime can't read mp3 in avi files, please note in avi files. so you get picture but the audio struggles. second, there are about 20 divx or mpeg4 codecs. nobody uses just one, wish they did cause then it would be standard and alot easier. mpeg4 that apple is going to buy to use, will hopefully allow people to encode in that standard. it's all about shutting pc users up :) basically, apple is killing the list, which is: gaming on macs, now that should be completely fixed with the new geforce 4s, speed margin, idiots who think 1ghz mac equals 1 ghz pc, programs, there is just way more on a pc, good or bad, movies, divx especially, svcds, not just vcd, which are video cds, svcds can be many formats.
 

Gelfin

macrumors 68020
Sep 18, 2001
2,166
4
Denver, CO
Originally posted by Unregistered
apple doesn't make anything, anything!
Yeah, like those sunflower/lamp machines all the little Taiwanese computer shops downtown were selling before Apple bought them up, or the translucent candy-colored computers that were flooding the market before the original iMac showed up.

To sum up, nice troll, jackass.

(Seriously, though, I had never heard this whole "MPEG-4 is based on Quicktime" thing -- I was kind of curious. Can anyone offer some support for this?)
 

MasterX (OSiX)

macrumors 6502
Sep 3, 2001
310
0
Originally posted by Unregistered
i get so annoyed by people thinking that apple makes everything and if apple uses it, they must have made it. apple doesn't make anything, anything! they buy it from others, they didn't even make quicktime, a company in europe did, which you should know because microsoft tried using the same company to help them make media player and apple sued them and won. apple had nothing, nothing to do with mpeg 4, why such the interest? divx on the pc has become so popular especially when using programs like morpheas or kazaa. divx on a mac won't work for alot of reasons, which hopefully will now be fixed. mpeg is a format, with many codecs. now divx, uses mp3 and quicktime can't read mp3 in avi files, please note in avi files. so you get picture but the audio struggles. second, there are about 20 divx or mpeg4 codecs. nobody uses just one, wish they did cause then it would be standard and alot easier. mpeg4 that apple is going to buy to use, will hopefully allow people to encode in that standard. it's all about shutting pc users up :) basically, apple is killing the list, which is: gaming on macs, now that should be completely fixed with the new geforce 4s, speed margin, idiots who think 1ghz mac equals 1 ghz pc, programs, there is just way more on a pc, good or bad, movies, divx especially, svcds, not just vcd, which are video cds, svcds can be many formats.
Wow there are a lot of inaccuracies in there. If Apple simply wanted better Morpheus support they could simply pressure them to port it (which they are now). If they wanted to support illegal VCD/DivX sharing they would do that too. And MPEG4 is a codec, it's noy a wrapper like Quicktime or avi. I agree about one by one Apple destroying PC arguments (games and such). But as for Apple not making anything, rememebr what the apps were like before Apple got them. SoundJam to iTunes, well duh, but SJ had the worst sounding audio, and one of the weakest PC-ish interfaces ever. Now most Windows players are copying the beloved iTunes look (WMP is 1 window for like 20 funtions, eek).
 

Rower_CPU

Moderator emeritus
Oct 5, 2001
11,219
0
San Diego, CA
for those interested...

I've attached the response I got from the MPEG LA when I wrote in to express my opinion on the proposed licensing scheme.

I work for San Diego State University in a foreign language lab. We have several streaming video projects the would benefit greatly from the MPEG4 codec. From what I can tell of the response, it looks like they're going after people providing MPEG4 content for a fee. Since we're non-profit we shouldn't be affected...right?
 

Attachments