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> It’s not “extortion” to charge money for people to use technology you developed

They aren't charging for use of their technology, they're charging for use of their algorithms/patents.

The extortion part comes from making it an industry standard, we should never allow proprietary protocols to become (official or de-facto) standards.




MPEG-LA members built the algorithms, at great expense. These aren’t Amazon’s “one click shopping” patents. And what’s the alternative to bankrolling protocol development with patents? It has worked just fine for decades, including for really fundamental things like memory interfaces. What’s the alternative monetization model? The web? Where the pretense of standardization has been dropped and the “standard” is de facto driven by compatibility with a browser that is developed for the sole purpose of spying on people and peddling advertising?


The alternatives to patents are trade secrets, open source style collaboration and academic research. All 3 have been pursued quite successfully to develop compression algorithms. 20 year monopolies are not necessary.


Open source collaboration is usually bankrolled by something else. E.g. the top two corporate contributors to the Linux kernel each contribute more than all the independent contibutors together. Sometimes the something else is benign (Redhat funds Linux development by selling support), sometimes not (Google funds Blink development through advertising).[1] Trade secrets wouldn’t work for a video codec. Which leaves academic research, which is bankrolled by taxes and tuition. Should tax dollars be used to subsidize development of consumer products primarily used for entertainment? I think the 20 year monopoly is relatively innocuous in comparison, or at least the alternatives are not obviously less problematic.

[1] 802.11fb, now with opposition research acquisition at the MAC layer!


> Should tax dollars be used to subsidize development of consumer products primarily used for entertainment?

If this means abolishing patents: then yes.

By the way: video codecs have a lot more applications than entertainment. I just want to mention teleconferencing.


Exactly. VP9 development is funded by YouTube, mostly. Works great.


I mean I think this is just where we disagree. Its better to just buy a device and have a couple of bucks go to h.264 development than rely on something like Youtube which makes money, among other things, peddling advertising to children and teenagers, convincing them to buy crap they don’t need. When I was young I thought Microsoft dominating everything was bad, but at least they had a business model where you paid them money for a product. Buy a Pocket PC and Microsoft gets $15 or whatever. I think this new trend of everything being funded by ads and data mining is destroying computing. I’d love to go back to the “bad old days” of companies having to pay Symbian instead of getting Android “for free” or having to buy Office instead of getting Google Docs “for free,” or buy a Garmin instead of getting Google Maps “for free.” This is not how I saw computing turning out, I don’t think this ends well, and I certainly don’t want more of the that replacing models that worked perfectly well before. What’s next, Facebook bankrolling DDR5?


The problem with h.264 was, that it dictated the business model for everything that embedded it. In this regard, it was exactly the same "cancer" as Microsoft once said about GPL.

Today, purchasing Windows doesn't guarantee you ad- and data mininig free system, and soon it will be difficult to purchase Office at all, you will be renting. In this regard, I'm happy that there are different business models, not just one that would slowly pick the worst traits of everything else.


> The problem with h.264 was, that it dictated the business model for everything that embedded it. In this regard, it was exactly the same "cancer" as Microsoft once said about GPL.

To add on this argument: another huge problem is that the license terms made open source development/distribution really hard (i.e. a patent minefield). Similarly it could lead to legal trouble for people who just hosted their videos.


Exactly, as a consumer I don't mind paying $1 more for VVC technology. And that together is nearly $2B of patents fee yearly assuming no cap. From Mobile Phones, PC, Tablet, and many others.

The biggest problem is those companies within the group don't agree on the percentage spilt between them. Basically they are just being bloody greedy. And the reason why we have MPEG-LA, HEVC Advance, Velos Group and others.

The good things is that most companies realise how much of a poor job MPEG-LA did ( My guess is that they only cares about their commission any way ), they started MC-IF [1], which includes most of the original HEVC MPEG-LA Group members, HEVC Advance Members and one Velos members as well. They are basically most of the Japanese players... and ...... Qualcomm.

I really wish VVC succeed, and push the technical limits of Video Compression as well as replacement of JPEG, without all the dramas and patents problems.

[1] http://www.mc-if.org/our-members


The problem with patents is that it's not good enough to simply ignore other patents and build your own thing - you can still end up infringing, despite never having heard of the company with the patent, let alone the way they implemented something that's obvious.


> MPEG-LA members built the algorithms, at great expense.

At least MP3 was created partially with taxpayer money as a cooperation between the the Fraunhofer Institute and the Friedrich Alexander University at Nuremberg. The Fraunhofer Institute is largely funded by commercial research, but ~30% of its funding come from the German federal state and the individual German states.


MPEG-LA is not associated with the MPEG. It’s a company that holds patents which are crucial for implementing MPEG videos.


> What’s the alternative monetization model?

There's the heart of the issue, the belief that everything can and should have a monetization model. The fact that we had to invent a whole new artificial class of property to handle the existing model should set off some alarm bells here.

A lot of organisations make a lot of money from these algorithms, is having them chip into a non-profit to develop free and open standards too much? How about having some of that research from universities and government standards bodies chip in too?




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