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Re: OT: Media format patents and commercial installations

On Sat, May 27, 2006 at 12:38:06PM +1000, David Timms wrote:
> Axel Thimm wrote:
> >On Fri, May 26, 2006 at 08:00:47AM +1000, David Timms wrote:
> >>I am interested in building FC5 based installations for commercial sale. 
> >>One of the requirements is the capability to play back media of as many 
> >>types as possible (eg using mplayer/xine/vlc). While Fedora core/extras 
> >>can't contain patent encumbered nor non-open source software, in general 
> >>terms is there anything to stop me selling such a box ?
> >>
> >>eg. for mpeg2 / 4 playback I could use the various libraries available. 
> >>Does anyone know if other parties have been able to negotiate with the 
> >>patent holders (I guess MPEG) individual licenses for linux machines ? 
> >
> >Yes, I had been in contact with MPEGLA in a previous contract
> >assignment.
> >
> >>Is it hideously expensive ?
> >
> >The costs are minimal. The pain is in the burocracy.
> >
> Callum wrote:
> >> Linspire has done it. For their for-profit distribution. And yes, its
> >> hideously expensive.
> Perhaps the license for a OS product is looked at differently from small 
> runs (5-10) of OEM boxes (what I was anticipating).
> Axel, is the costs protected under contract ? If not are you willing to 
> state ball park figures eg per machine ? Was it like $1/2/5/10/20/50/100 
> per machine ?

No, no NDA, the standard prices are publicly available. The MPEG-2
royalties are 2.5$/unit for decoding, same for encoding. When the
prices were a bit higher there was a package price for both, maybe
there still is. But it sounds like you only need the decoding license

You'll probably need mp3/mpeg4 and sorensen codecs, too (mpeg4
decoding is free of charge up to the first 50000 units), so this may
add up, but you get the idea of licensing costs.

Note that if you use hardware like capture cards they very often have
a bundled software license for some mpeg products. Many OEMs don't
know that and pay double.

I was consulting a major capture card manufaturer in terms of Linux
until lately, unfortunately many OEMs are still (legally) scared of
Linux, they associate open source with patent infringment and teaching
them the opposite turns to be very difficult.
Axel.Thimm at ATrpms.net

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