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Compression has always been a patent minefield. Even for something as simple as gzip, it was a lot of legal work. For video compression, it is much worse. I am suprise that VLC does even exist despite such a minefield.



Usually, free software get a royalty free license. In the case of HEVC, software decoders are free as long as they are not bundled with hardware. They explicitly said that they are OK with VLC.

Worth noting that the patent conditions still apply. It may be a problem for some free software distribution, and as a result software like VLC isn't always available by default.


> Usually, free software get a royalty free license. In the case of HEVC, software decoders are free as long as they are not bundled with hardware.

The problem is that "bundling with hardware" is very vague. For example, if some OEM sells their PCs/laptops with preinstalled GNU/Linux (containing VLC), does this count as bundling. Or let us consider, say, a singleboard computer that can be both used as a PC and a set-top box just by installing a different firmware (think GNU/Linux distribution) that is provided for free (as beer) at the vendor's website - what is bundling then?


The PC is a bundle and the OEM (not VLC) needs to pay for the license. I think the second case is also a bundle: there are specific clauses to close such loopholes.

Worth noting that the license is less than a dollar per device and the manufacturer is only required to pay if he sells like 100k devices per year.


The PC is obviously a bundle.


In some countries, software patents are not enforceable.


And is codec development improving at a much more rapid pace there compared to the US?




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