paulslocum
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MPEG2 patents expiring

Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:28 pm

I'm wondering how will MPEG2 decoding be handled now that the MPEG2 patents are finally expiring? Will the codec be unlocked automatically with new versions of Raspbian?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U ... -2_patents

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DougieLawson
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:42 pm

I think you'll have to wait until 15th Feb and see what happens.
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paulslocum
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:03 pm

Any predictions? I'm working on a project where we'll need up to 1000 RPi's with Omxplayer MPEG2 capability, and it's a pretty complicated undertaking to unlock them since there's no way to fully automate the task due to the way the license purchasing works. It would be a huge relief and save a lot of money in production time, software development, and licensing fees if we could avoid all that.


mikerr
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:40 pm

Making the mpeg2 codec free would be a nice "pi birthday" gift to all pi owners later this month ...
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Heater
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:11 pm

I don't see how having the patent expire necessarily, magically, makes anything free.

Vendor s of patented software can still continue to charge a license fee for it even if the patents expire. We can't just start using it, copying it and distributing it will nilly. It's covered by copyrights. Protected by the DMCA and so on. Then there are NDA's and such to worry about.

It does mean, however, that we are free to create new implementations of the patented idea if we like. I nice little project for somebody.

fanoush
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:53 pm

It is mentioned also here http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/M2/ ... tList.aspx
Please note that the last US patent expired February 13, 2018, and patents remain active in Philippines and Malaysia after that date.
And there is also link to 24 pages long pdf with word 'expired' on almost all lines except few first named MYxxx and PHxxx.

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Paul Webster
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:32 pm

This is the list that mpeg-la sent me

Code: Select all

Patent Number	Licensor	Expiration Date
PH 1-1993-47458	GE Technology Development, Inc.	7/17/2019
MY 118172-A	GE Technology Development, Inc.	9/30/2019
MY 118444	Sony Corporation	11/30/2019
MY 118734-A	Thomson Licensing	1/31/2020
PH 1-1995-50216	Thomson Licensing	2/13/2020
MY 128994	GE Technology Development, Inc.	3/30/2022
MY 141626-A	GE Technology Development, Inc.	5/31/2025

paulslocum
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:38 pm

Unfortunately in another thread, somebody from the Raspberry Pi foundation said that they will not make any change until the patent expires in every country (2025)

RichardS
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Sun May 20, 2018 8:00 pm

I have been patient, in the past when I pointed out that ALL the RELEVANT MPEG 2 patents had expired a year ago (I.e. all those that involved technology that the Pi actually needed to decode MPEG2 program streams) - but was told then that due to the intricacies of how patent royalty agreements work, we would have to wait until ALL the legally applicable patents in the pool have expired - AND NOW THEY HAVE.

Just to be absolutly unambiguously crystal clear, the MPEG2 patents HAVE expired in the US, Europe, and UK where 99.99999 percent of the Raspberry Pi's are sold - which makes misrepresenting this LICENSE FEE you are charging as required by a patent licensing a blatant case of consumer FRAUD.

Broadcom sued Qualcom over their claim that Qualcom had missrepresented whether something was covered by a by a patent - i.e. something is either covered by a patent or it's NOT so misrepresenting the status and collecting a fraudulent "licensing fee" is a REALLY BAD IDEA.

If Broadcom wants to come clean and admit that the "MPEG2 License Fee" is really a direct payment to them to license the MPEG2 hardware decoder firmware GPU driver, then that's fine - but I wouldn't recommend this for a number of reasons.

First, it will reignite the whole debate about the closed source nature of this firmware and whether it violates the Linux open source licensing provisions, because given a choice, I would prefer a free open source GPU video driver, but that is not possible because of Broadcom does not make enough information available to allow the development of open source drivers.

Second, even if it's perfectly legal for Broadcom to charge a fee for licensing of their GPU accelerated MPEG2 driver, it's still going to give folks a really really good reason to hate on Broadcom, when they feel RIPPED OFF by being forced to pay a premium for 25 year old dinosaur MPEG2 tech, just so they can watch DVD''s or use their OTA TV tuner with thier Raspberry Pi.

If the Broadcom is really interested in promoting good will with the Raspberry Pi - UNLOCK THE MPEG2 DRIVER.

If they are interested in pissing people off, and instead maximizing BAD WILL, then by all means, continue to collect this scam little fee.

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RaTTuS
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Sun May 20, 2018 8:42 pm

How To ask Questions :- http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
WARNING - some parts of this post may be erroneous YMMV

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Z80 Refugee
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Mon May 21, 2018 6:41 am

The various remarks above are misleading. Do not confuse patents with the right to licence.

Licence fees are paid in return for the permission to use somebody's product - in this case, the MPEG2 software library. That "somebody" is whoever owns the copyright on the software. The fees the Pi Foundation collect are passed on to the copyright holders, not kept themselves.

A patent protects the idea behind the software. With the patent expired, you are free to exploit the idea behind the software, but the software itself remains copyright and the copyright holder remains free to impose conditions for its use.

If you don't want to pay to use the existing copyright MPEG2 library, you can exploit the patent expiry by writing your own MPEG2 software library... but you have to do that without cribbing from the copyright library - good luck with that!

Of course, we already have access to MPEG2 decoding for free - but it's a software implementation. What you are licensing for the RPi is Broadcom's specific implementation for on-board hardware acceleration. To implement that, Broadcom will have paid a licence fee for the use of the patented idea, and have invested time and effort to create the implementation. If they choose to continue to only permit its use on payment of a fee, that's their business (and it does not expire just because the patent has).

RichardS
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Mon May 21, 2018 7:47 am

The various remarks above are misleading.
Not to be contentious, but I did make the distinction - in fact I begged the Pi Foundation to clarify - because the past story has always been that the Pi Foundation (and by extension heroic lovely wonderful folks at Broadcom) had no choice but to pass along that fee because of those bad-ol-boyz at MPEG LA.

Now those annoying MPEG LA fees are no longer applicable, and because Broadcom's development cost of this firmware have been recouped a million times over with the literally MILLIONS of chips they have sold using this technology, if they CHOOSE to do this it's only because they CHOOSE to rip everyone off.

You are correct, they can set any damn price they want. If they choose to charge a million dollars for million year old technology, FINE - just PLEASE don't insult everyone's intelligence by dressing it up in officious BS language to make it sound like it's some kind of frigging law of nature - it's a CHOICE.

But before you buy some more bad will for Broadcom, you might want to Google "MPEG2 patents expire" and see how many hits you get, and the general celebratory tone.

So, when EVERYONE on the Planet Earth is celebrating the END of MPEG LA's stranglehold on MPEG2 technology, Broadcom and the Pi Foundation decide to figuratively kick everyone in the teeth and say "hold on there pardner, MPEG LA ain't the only thieves on the Planet you know" . . .

With the Pi 3b being such an underwhelming disappointment (No more RAM, No 4k video,marginally improved CPU, and 1/3 speed 1G Ethernet), unlocking the MPEG2 codec would have been a nice thank you to those who have continued to support the Raspberry Pi despite a LOT of competition from other more powerful boards.

But someone, somewhere has CHOSEN to flip everyone the collective bird on this instead, and come up with a series of lame excuses instead.

That's fine, as you stated, that's their right, but just SAY IT -"we believe that we should gouge everyone for 25 year old tech, BECAUSE WE CAN"

Not because they have to, but rather, because they WANT TO.

It's as simple as that.
Last edited by RichardS on Mon May 21, 2018 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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RaTTuS
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Mon May 21, 2018 7:53 am

RichardS wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 7:47 am
....rant rant rant

With the Pi 3b being such an underwhelming disappointment (No more RAM, No 4k video,marginally improved CPU, and 1/3 speed 1G Ethernet), unlocking the MPEG2 codec would have been a nice thank you to those who have continued to support the Raspberry Pi despite a LOT of competition from other more powerful boards.
what part of SOC don't you understand
it's the same
the VC4 cannot address more than 1GB so no ram will appear until a new SOC is used
same with 4K - the SOC is the same
it will do some 4K - not top end stuff
CPU is improved - this is a cheap way of doing it
what other boards are more powerful and same price with same [similar] support

edit also a Sunday evening rant will not get a swift response
How To ask Questions :- http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
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Z80 Refugee
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Mon May 21, 2018 8:48 am

What is it about people that they are unwilling for businesses to make an income? How would you get paid if your employer didn't make an income?

The choice is simple: if you want what a commercial enterprise has to offer, you pay for it or do without. Trying to find ways to have it for free destroys industry.

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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Mon May 21, 2018 9:04 am

RichardS wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 7:47 am
The various remarks above are misleading.
Not to be contentious, but I did make the distinction - in fact I begged the Pi Foundation to clarify - because the past story has always been that the Pi Foundation (and by extension heroic lovely wonderful folks at Broadcom) had no choice but to pass along that fee because of those bad-ol-boyz at MPEG LA.

Now those annoying MPEG LA fees are no longer applicable, and because Broadcom's development cost of this firmware have been recouped a million times over with the literally MILLIONS of chips they have sold using this technology, if they CHOOSE to do this it's only because they CHOOSE to rip everyone off.

You are correct, they can set any damn price they want. If they choose to charge a million dollars for million year old technology, FINE - just PLEASE don't insult everyone's intelligence by dressing it up in officious BS language to make it sound like it's some kind of frigging law of nature - it's a CHOICE.

But before you buy some more bad will for Broadcom, you might want to Google "MPEG2 patents expire" and see how many hits you get, and the general celebratory tone.

So, when EVERYONE on the Planet Earth is celebrating the END of MPEG LA's stranglehold on MPEG2 technology, Broadcom and the Pi Foundation decide to figuratively kick everyone in the teeth and say "hold on there pardner, MPEG LA ain't the only thieves on the Planet you know" . . .

With the Pi 3b being such an underwhelming disappointment (No more RAM, No 4k video,marginally improved CPU, and 1/3 speed 1G Ethernet), unlocking the MPEG2 codec would have been a nice thank you to those who have continued to support the Raspberry Pi despite a LOT of competition from other more powerful boards.

But someone, somewhere has CHOSEN to flip everyone the collective bird on this instead, and come up with a series of lame excuses instead.

That's fine, as you stated, that's their right, but just SAY IT -"we believe that we should gouge everyone for 25 year old tech, BECAUSE WE CAN"

Not because they have to, but rather, because they WANT TO.

It's as simple as that.
Nothing is ever "as simple as that".

We have clarified that we will not be changing the paid codec scheme until the patents expire WORLDWIDE, not just some subset. This is because the Pi is sold WORLDWIDE. To implement some scheme whereby we were able to track Pi and have licencing only for those countries that need it would cost a small fortune, if indeed it's even possible. We are also not gouging, once you take out the cost of the royalty, we hardly cover our expenses to run the scheme in the first place.

Sorry you are disappointed by the Pi3+. TBH, I'm disappointed in the number of times I've explained about how difficult and expensive it is to develops SoC's only to be completely ignored by people who clearly think they know better. And don't. Unless you have worked on SoC development, I'd suggest that ranting on about lack of features here and there is more likely to show your lack of knowledge about the subject, rather than anything else.

So kindly keep your ill informed rants to yourself. I've already had to delete one of your posts, due to offensive language, and basically being mostly incorrect nonsense, any more rants with that sort of content and you will be banned. Simple as that.
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6by9
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Mon May 21, 2018 9:08 am

This is an unofficial response as I am not directly involved in the codec licencing, but basically it is complicated.

There is an agreement between the RPT and MPEG-LA on licencing terms. Unless renegotiated then those terms remain in force.

There are still live patents on MPEG2 in the Philipines and Malaysia. Unless you can absolutely guarantee that no devices will ever be sold in those countries then there has to be some form of licence agreement in place. Get it wrong and their position would be to charge for every single Pi ever sold. They don't deal in grey areas of "but only 0.01% of devices are likely to be sold in those countries". Do you fancy handing over 20 million * around £2.40 per device? We'll gladly accept your cheque if you fancy paying it personally.

The ARM cores on a Pi2 or Pi3 are more than capabable of decoding all SD MPEG2 in software, so there is only a need for the codec licence key on a Pi0/1. Your claim therefore that unlocking the MPEG2 codec would have been a big gain on the 3B+ is a very flimsy strawman claim. (HD MPEG2 is pretty uncommon).
As it is only for Pi 0/1, the priority of renegotiating any agreement (a costly exercise in itself due to lawyers) is relatively low. It's not as if it's not widely known that the MPEG2 licence is not included in the base cost, so factor that cost in if that is critical to your use case. And please remember that the aims of the Raspberry Pi Foundation are for education, for which MPEG2 decode is not a requirement.
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bensimmo
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Re: MPEG2 patents expiring

Mon May 21, 2018 10:57 am

To whom is the 3B+ a huge disappointment*
It's a minor revision, a boost, hence the +. Hence it's still a 3B.

What do you expect?
It's exactly the same (hence 3B!) but with improved overall processing speed, and network throughput, hence the +.
Quite easy, even for me, to understand that.
3B plus an improvement equals 3B+


If you don't like them charging a few quid for their MPEG2 decoder, then use something else, simples.
Like you say, there are alternatives.

My PC happily plays DVDs, in Windows if I pay Microsoft a few quid or find another method that bundles an MPEG2 decoder.

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