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RE: MP4 Player Available for Download

From: Rob Lanphier <robla@real.com>
Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2001 12:35:53 -0800
Message-Id: <5.0.0.25.0.20010331120339.079a0650@goobox.prognet.com>
To: Dave Singer <singer@apple.com>
Cc: olivier.avaro@francetelecom.com, "'Hari Kalva'" <hari@flavorsoftware.com>, rem-conf@es.net, discuss@apps.ietf.org
Hi Dave,

Replies inline....

At 06:28 PM 3/30/01 -0800, Dave Singer wrote:
>you may be right about the licensing of MPEG-4 in general;  but I believe 
>I have told this group already the best of my knowledge on the licensing 
>of the file format, so I am a little disappointed that you should end up 
>on that particular subject.

My parting shot wasn't intended for strictly the file format as you 
probably think of it, but in terms of a general interoperable blob of a/v 
data that includes audio, video, and the structure of the file format.  If 
.foo is an interoperable multimedia file format, and there are two .foo 
players, they should have all of the necessary components to interoperate.

For those of you not familiar with the distinction, in the multimedia world 
there's a pretty distinct separation between the codec used (such as H.261 
video, or G.711 audio), and the container its put in (such as Quicktime's 
.mov format, Microsoft's .asf, .avi, and .wav formats, RealNetworks .rm 
format, or the .mp4 format in the MPEG-4 v2 spec).  A minor additional 
complexity is that the codecs have to be inserted into the container file 
using the same conventions (same codec identifier, interoperable codec 
parameters, etc).  What Dave is referring to is the container itself.

Now Dave, since you are practically begging me to respond to your earlier 
mail....  :)

For the benefit of those not on the full thread, I've included the full 
email from Dave at the bottom of this message.  Here's the snippit I want 
to respond to, though:

At 10:00 AM 3/14/01 -0800, Dave Singer wrote:
>I hate to carry on an off-topic thread, but the MPEG-4 file format is not 
>heavily encumbered.  To my knowledge, we (Apple) are the only IPR owners 
>in the file format per se, and the license needed would be the same as for 
>the QT file format (i.e. it's the same IPR), for which we have plenty of 
>examples of licensees (including Real Networks).

Are you really willing to stand up and disclose the terms of the 
Apple/RealNetworks agreement?  I think it's entirely inappropriate to cite 
the Apple/RealNetworks agreement as an example of an MPEG-4 file format 
licensing success story, and entirely inappropriate to discuss the terms of 
any deal that go beyond the joint press release:

http://www.realnetworks.com/company/pressroom/pr/2000/apple.html

Besides that, I don't think it's at all reasonable that if RealNetworks and 
some other company/project want to interoperate, that that other 
company/project should have to go to Apple to get permission.  Do you?

Rob


>X-Sender: singer@mail.apple.com (Unverified)
>Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2001 10:00:03 -0800
>To: Rob Lanphier <robla@real.com>
>From: Dave Singer <singer@apple.com>
>Subject: Re: File formats (RE: MP4 Player Available for Download)
>Cc: "'rem-conf@es.net'" <rem-conf@es.net>
>
>At 9:35 AM -0800 3/14/01, Rob Lanphier wrote:
>>At 11:54 AM 3/13/01 -0800, Bill Nowicki wrote:
>>>We just tried the obvious experiment.
>>>
>>>The ".mp4" files on the "Flavor" site do not play with the
>>>Philips player, and the Philips ".mp4" files do not play with
>>>the Flavor player. Sounds like a litle inter-operability
>>>testing might have been in order before calling them the same
>>>name!
>>>
>>>(and of course file format standards are outside the charter
>>>of IETF, but are still useful)
>>
>>Not that I'm disagreeing with you here, but an honest question for 
>>you:  whose charter includes specifying file formats?  Clearly, ISO/MPEG 
>>have taken it on, but they've also created a situation where I think 
>>genuine interoperability is out of the question for anyone who either 
>>doesn't have a patent licensing agreement from 30 different companies, or 
>>who chooses to ignore the issue.
>>
>>Is there a standards group out there who does file formats who would 
>>actually work toward an unencumbered format?
>>
>>Rob
>
>I hate to carry on an off-topic thread, but the MPEG-4 file format is not 
>heavily encumbered.  To my knowledge, we (Apple) are the only IPR owners 
>in the file format per se, and the license needed would be the same as for 
>the QT file format (i.e. it's the same IPR), for which we have plenty of 
>examples of licensees (including Real Networks).
>
>ISMA will be testing interop very carefully, as Philippe says.  And there 
>have been interop tests done under the conformance group at MPEG-4.
>
>Now, the encumbrance of MPEG-4 in general is a different matter, as anyone 
>who follows m4if will attest....
>--
>David Singer
>Apple Computer/QuickTime
Received on Saturday, 31 March 2001 15:47:53 GMT

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