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Re: Re: MPEG-4 patent license issues - libfaad* and libx264* and other codecs.

On Tue, May 02, 2006 at 01:13:02AM +0100, Matthew William Solloway Bell wrote:

> > On Sat, Apr 29, 2006 at 11:37:39PM +0100, Matthew William Solloway Bell wrote:
> > > The packages libxine1, ffmpeg,  include libfaad*, libx264* or another
> > > codec which implement the MPEG-4 Advanced Audio Coding and Advanced
> > > Video Coding standards. Unfortunately, these are patent encumbered in at
> > > least the USA, and many other countries. To distribute code implementing
> > > any of these patents, a license is required[1], assuming that the
> > > claimed patents are valid. This license requires signing an agreement
> > > and the payment of royalties, which hasn't been done AFAIK, and is
> > > contrary to policy. 
> > > There is evidence of prior attempts of enforcement, specifically against
> > > FAAD at AudioCoding.com[2].

> > This appears to refer to enforcement of patents covering encoding using the
> > codecs in question.  Do libxine1 and ffmpeg implement encoding of these, or
> > just decoding?  Is there a history of enforcement of patents on decoding of
> > the codecs in question?

> Hmmm, I think I have missed something; what makes you draw this
> conclusion? AudioCoding.com has removed all binaries including those
> related to decoding. I see no reference to encoding only in [2]. The
> licensing authorities in [1] have licenses that cover decoders. I did
> look at their patent portfolio, but is was brief and shallow. I'm having
> a closer look now.

Sorry, what I mean is that the AudioCoding.com case involved a work that
implemented both encoding and decoding, therefore we can't infer from it
that patents which apply only to decoders are being actively enforced.

> My apologies, that should read 'It does not appear to me that..." which
> is based on the conclusion of the previous sentence. I was rather hoping
> someone would be able to support or contradict this. Regarding my
> comments on 'prior art', I did not consider 'prior art' to be
> semantically identical to 'no inventive step'; however, I considered
> both to be sufficient condition to deem the patents invalid. Of course,
> I'm not a patent lawyer.

Yeah, they're not exactly semantically identical, but a claim that there is
no inventive step depends on showing that there is prior art, and the ffii
page makes assertions about specific prior art in existence.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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