MPEG-2 License Question

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    • #40281

      I saw that a similar question was discussed about a year ago here without a real answerand I have posted this in the Amature video editing forum on yahoo and Thought this may be a more appropriate place to post this question.

      I bought a Sony HVR-HD1000u camera which is marketed as an entry level pro camera. In the manual under specifications it had this text under the header NOTES ON LICENSE.

      How does this apply to the camera use?

      <span style=”font-size: x-small; font-family: Arial;”>ANY USE OF THIS PRODUCT OTHER THAN CONSUMER PERSONAL USE IN ANY MANNER
      COLORADO 80206</span>



    • #173061


      Going Once….

      Going Twice…..

      Going 3 times….

      seems nobody knows, and I don’t think we want to know…. 🙁

      I hope it isn’t what it sounds like, which is usually the casewith instances like this…..

      I’ve noticed similar license notes like this for other cameras as well…

    • #173062

      So I googled that text and found it is attached to EULAs for all sorts of hardware and software including the common editing programs used here. There are similar worded for MPEG-4 and H.264/AVC formats as well.

      I visited the MPEG LA website and they were just as cryptic (legal-eeze is always written in such baffling terms). But reading their “In the News” section, a couple of DVD manufacturers have been approached for infringements. Allthough most of the judgements appear to be against those selling products using hardware, it is very hard to tell if this applies onlyto the material used to create (hardware, software, media) or if it covers the created product as well.

    • #173063

      I have been to the MPEGLA site and found the infovery confusing also. I have started an email conversation with MPEG LA I did not fully understand the first email they sent and I sent follow up questions. I will post more info when I get a response from them. I have also sent an email to Sony. It certainly is very confusing when you buy a camera that is marketed as profesional and the manual says you can only use this for personal use.

    • #173064

      So I posted a similar question on another forum ( andaresponse that explains it in pretty clear english iscopied at the end of this post.

      Why it is not simplypublished in a fashion anyone can understand (other than ignorance of the law is no excuse) is beyond my logic.

      I am hoping we can get some form of confirmation from VideoMaker about this since they sell training DVDs to the public. Or from anyone that has an established business doing the same.

      According to MPEG-LA, any commercial use of any of their patented codecs requires a sub-license and royalty payments.

      In order to legally sell DVDs in the US, for example, you must pay a royalty to MPEG-LA of approx 3cents per disc (depending on which path you choose — see

      I’m not a laywer either, but I have done a great deal of research on this, and to my knowledge, no prosumer video editing or DVD authoring software comes with the patent licenses needed to produce and distribute your video using patent-encumbered formats for commercial purposes.

      Tony Lovasco
      President, Twisted Lincoln, Inc.

    • #173065

      Do you think that by being a wedding videographer, I could get around this should it ever come up by stating that I was charging for the services of video and not of the DVD? Or would this be too obviously looking for a loophole?

    • #173066

      Some more Info.

      I am not portaying a lawyer, real or fictional. After furhter research I have gathered the following.
      These are excerpts form license portfolios and are left to the interpritation of others.

      Let the further discussions begin.

      To make it easier for MPEG LAs customers to account for their MPEG-2 Packaged Medium royalties, effective September 1, 2005, Licensees may elect a simplified option for reporting MPEG-2 Packaged Medium royalties under which they pay US $0.03 for each MPEG-2 video disc regardless of its specific content or playing time (except where the playing time is 12 minutes or less in which case the royalty would continue to be $0.01).

      Title-by-Title – 12 minutes or less = no royalty; >12 minutes in length = lower of (a) 2% of first Arms-Length Sale or (b) $0.02 per title. Licensees are (a) replicators of physical media and (b) direct sellers of other media. (Definition of first Arm’s-Length Sale “a<span style=”color: #ffffff;”> transaction between two otherwise unrelated or affiliated parties?)</span>

      For (b) (1) where an end user pays directly for video services on a title-by-title basis (e.g.,
      where viewer determines titles to be viewed or number of viewable titles are otherwise
      limited), royalties for video greater than 12 minutes (there is no royalty for a title 12
      minutes or less) are (beginning January 1, 2006) the lower of 2% of the price paid to the
      Licensee (on first arms length sale of the video) or $0.02 per title (categories of licensees
      include legal entities that are (i) replicators of physical media, and (ii) service/content
      providers (e.g., cable, satellite, video DSL, internet and mobile) of VOD, PPV and
      electronic downloads to end users)

    • #173067

      I guess a wedding videogrpher could just mail 3 pennies to MPEG LA. Unless of course the content is less than 12 minutes and you would only have to send 1 penny. 🙂

      I will post any follow up info I get from an e-mail I sent to MPEG LA

    • #173068

      **MPEG License Update. Below this paragraph ispart of the response text I received from MPEG LA, LLC My emails with them began after reading about the MPEG license info in the manual for my SonyHVR-HD1000U camera. I believe that this is a very clear explanation of the license requirements and is something that all who areinvolved invideo on any professional level should be aware of. If you have any questions they encourage you to go to their website and you can send questions thru the site. They have been very responsive to everything that I have asked. It is apparently very easy to get licensed by them. I am currently reviewing the documentation that they have sent me.

      In short, the royalty paid by Sony for the manufacture and sale of the camera includes the rights for the camera to be used as you described (e.g., wedding videographers, small companies, universities). In addition, the royalty paid by Sony also includes the right for a consumer to create MPEG-2 Packaged Medium (e.g. DVD Video discs) for the consumers own personal use. But, when the camera is used to create MPEG-2 Packaged Medium for anything other than a consumers own personal use, then the party creating the Packaged Medium needs to be licensed and is responsible for paying a royalty per copy.
      For example, if you were to record your own family videos and create DVD Video discs for your own use, then the royalty paid by Sony would cover this use and no further royalties would be payable. On the other hand, if you use the camera to create promotional videos for small businesses and non-profit organizations as you suggest, then a per-disc royalty would be payable for each copy. In short, the current royalty for MPEG-2 Packaged Medium is $0.024

      I should also clarify that our License covers the party that creates the discs containing MPEG-2 video. Therefore, if you were to outsource the replication of the discs to a disc replication/duplication company, the royalty would normally be paid by that company.

    • #173069

      Hello, this is my first post to videomaker, and I discovered this web site while googling about this issue.

      I have just requested a copy of the licence, (I didn’t ask for fedex, though, I hope that bill is on the house, as it looks like they spent more than what I’ll end up paying them:)

      I do intend to register, but have concern about some hidden risks.

      Here is a letter I’d like to send mpgel-la. I thought I should post it here and get your thoughts first.

      To whom it may concerned, regarding the mpeg licence:

      What does this mean for the” garage band” or “backyard moviemaker”: Could the mpeg licence issue effectively criminalize them? A possible solution? How about charging the royalty to the company manufacturing the DVD-R and Blu-Ray-R discs, on the theory that they are likely to be used for mpeg video. That way the patent holders would make more money, and the local musician, political critic, or minister that distributes a few home-burned DVDR’s, for example, doesn’t have to run like a drug dealer. Most in that situation are not aware of the existence of mpeg patents, or assume it wouldn’t be enforced- e.g. who would want sue a group of teenagers for 30 cents? (for example, a patent holder catches a high school punk band with 10 copies of their performance video on DVD-R discs) If that really happened, it’s bad PR for the patent holders, and could trigger a congressional hearing on intelectual property being used in betrayal of its original purpose “to encourage useful science and arts…”

      Most “consumer personal use” of a video recorder is piracy, therefore illegal anyway. At least the major movie companies think so.

      In my opinion, the non-creative person who only uses his top of the line high definition video studio in the basement for mundane family picture types of uses, not that there is anything wrong with that, does not deserve to have that equipment MORE than a media artist does, and would have no grounds for complaint for paying a royalty hidden in the price of a DVD-R, RIAA already does this to music formatted CD-Rs.

      Another concern: any surprises in the deal such as four-figure minimum charges? That is, for example, if I intend to confess my mpeg-2 usage for five discs, and prepare my check for 30 cents, could I get hit with a surprise minimum charge that only a company could afford to deal with? That leads into the next punch line question, a sort of EITLR (Elephant In The Living Room that no one is talking about):

      The agreement looks like it’s written for companies. Can and/or should I register with mpeg-la from a private residence? I’m talking here about the artists who are utterly themselves. That is the role in which I make music and video. I would like to make them available in DVD, and all I want here is to make sure I am doing it safely.

      I understand the importance of intellectual property.

      I wish for any hope of success with mine.


      Glade A. Swope

    • #173070

      You guys have hit on a real pet peeve of mine. As a creative/business person I can see the points of both sides of this discussion. As an artist/creator you want fair compensation for the work you do. As a business person you want recurring revenue for existing work and control over the rights as to who, when and how others can use said work. I get that. As a consumer, you want to use the materials you paid for without an endless stream of restrictions. I get that too.

      Where I have beef with all of this is; consumers should be allowed to use purchased materials long as they don’t repackage it for sale without giving credit and fair royalty compensation to the right holder. I seriously don’t have a problem with people fooling around with stuff and putting it up on the ‘Tube and such long as they don’t try to sell it. I firmly believe that artists and creators should be able to put out clear conditions as to what can and cannot be done with their work.

      Where all the irritation comes from is a) the big corporations who hold many of the rights to written, visual and audio materials available to the public have recognized that the internet has this crazy ability to generate methods of drawing millions of potential paying customers to various points. However, they always realize it a day late and a dollar short. So once the cat’s out of the bag they make these mad dashes to try to get control of everything so they can successfully monetize ‘it’. With the ‘net however, that has been proving horrifically elusive.

      Now to your subject of licensing, the software companies a while back clued into the ‘drug dealer’ mentality when it comes to their products (i.e. sell the mark something and then constantly make them pay for it.) If you’ve ever gotten on the ‘software upgrade go-round’ you know exactly what I’m talking about. Back in the ’90’s there was a big case about this and the software companies argued that software was similar to books and needed the same ‘copy protection’ they had. You had to pay for each copy of a book or script in the case of students in a class setting or someone doing a play and the software companies argued successfully for the same protection.

      While I do see their point, I don’t fully agree with it. Not just because it’s a pain in the checkbook every time I have to upgrade or buy new software for my systems, but because there’s a flaw in their logic. Take for example an automotive tool kit. Granted you aren’t going to use the tools to cast new molds and duplicate the tools yourself, but with software you can. However, you can duplicate those tools all you want as long as you don’t sell them. Also, the same tool companies when they sell you the tools don’t sell you a license to use them. You purchase them, they’re yours. Period. The tool companies also aren’t going to hassle you because you use the same set to fix cars other than the ones you bought them for in first place.

      Software companies will give you grief when you’re legitimately moving old software from a decommissioned system to a new one to make sure you’re not pirating. Which is funny by the way, because if you were pirating software, you wouldn’t call them for tech support (at least I hope not.) You can also weld wrenches together and create a new and useful tool. Just don’t sell the original work as a prototype and make sure when you patent your new wrench that there is enough differences to show it’s an original work. Software is just like that which is why they have all of those stipulations about not altering the program, but hackers and ‘modder’s’ do it all the time and often better than the original. So in a vain attempt to counter pirates, software co’s load heaps and heaps of ‘legalese’ into their EULA’s to help their case claims if they ever get an infringer into court.

      So the only thing you can do is what you all have been doing. Take a hard look at your software’s EULA’s and check out that fine print. In addition go to those company websites and dig through their ‘white paper’s’ because that’s where all the clues and answers are going to be found. It all comes down to a control issue. Unfortunately, the more control the large companies try to garner, the less they have and it is the legitimate user who foots the bill.

    • #173071

      Kudos to composite1. My sentiments exactly. Besides having worked in film for the past five years, I am currently a law student. So… this is also a real “pet peeve” of mine.

    • #173072

      I just thought of something.

      It would be interesting to research whether a similar situation existed while the typewriter was under patent.

      Or, even the ball point pen. A long time ago, but might show evidence of an unprecedented concept.

      Back then, when you bought a typewriter, did the patent owner have any rights over the letters typed by writers that used the typewriter, or was the first sale of the typewriter itself the only thing they could charge for?

    • #173073

      No and no. Someone can only obtain a patent who “invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” For example, someone who manufactured a typewriter generally would only be able to patent the physical design of the typewriter itself and the process of creating letters on paper, but not he letters themselves. (Now, if he also invented the font that the typwriter typed in, he could copyright the font. But he could not obtain a patent on the letters, as they are not a “process” or aphysical entity.)

      However, the “typewriter inventor” could certainly charge for more than the sale of the first one. If he properly obtained a patent on it, The law states that a patent is designed “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a certain amount of time. So, he could prevent anyone from selling or producing the same typewriter.

    • #173074


      The description you give for the ‘typewriter’ inventor is correct. However, the inventor can grant licenses for those who wish to manufacture his design for sale which is more than reasonable. What I think is unreasonable, is trying to license each typewriter to the end consumer and trying to lay claim on the documents they create using the typewriter itself.

      On this topic I just saw on the news how some software company is bringing a lawsuit against The People’s Republic of China (yes, they’re suing an entire country) for a couple of billion over software piracy. Good luck getting that money.

    • #173075

      Absolutely, the “inventor” can grant others the right to use his design. I agree that for the inventor to try to lay claim on the documents created on the typewriter. However….hypthetical: someone types a libelous document with the typewriter, after which the libeled individual sues both the “typist” and the typewriter manufacturer etc. Seems like a stretch, butI can’t tell you how many cases I’ve read in which judge’s decisions are in favor of this kind of situation. Bascially it comes down to business, inventors, etc. “covering their backs” at every imaginable point. People’s willingness to bring outrageous and frivilous lawsuits is sadly very prevalent.

    • #173076

      ” However, the “typewriter inventor” could certainly charge for more than the sale of the first one. “

      I was not referring to the sale of the first typewriter as if you could buy one and self-manufacture more, but the first sale doctrine, applied to each typewriter that you have legitimately purchased; It’s that concept that allows resale of used LPs, books, CDs, whether the publisher likes it or not, as long as they are legal (“originals”) and not unauthorized copies.

      “Now, if he also invented the font that the typewriter typed in, he could copyright the font.”

      A few things I remember from books I have read on copyright history and computing ethics:

      Typeface-copyright is illegal. “Fonts,” when referring to digitizations that generate such typefaces, can be copyrighted as programs. You could blatantly imitate the typing style from a copyrighted font in your own program that draws characters as long as you don’t copy the binary images directly, and it’s not considered copying the font. We say “font” today usually meaning typeface. This issue pre-dated the typewriter. Behold the Press (the U.S. has a constitutional freedom named after this invention.) Boxes of little metal blocks with the shape of a character carved into the top were sold, called “typefaces.”

      “What I think is unreasonable, is trying to license each typewriter to the end consumer and trying to lay claim on the documents they create using the typewriter itself.” (typewriter-> You meant your dvd authoring equipment, right?)”

      You found what I was hinting at. Some historical research might show that the courts did not allow what’s quoted directly above to happen with typewriters – or film movie cameras – paint brushes – chalk boards – erasable marker boards – the ball point pen – musical instruments (except for keyboard demos based on copyrighted songs) – or numerous other patented tools pre-dating the computer age – I could imagine such examples brought up as evidence to challenge the format-royalty concept. I have heard a rumor recently that a major disc replication company is refusing to pay the royalty, and is threatening to do just that, let ’em sue, then make it backfire with evidence that all file-format-patents might be illegal.

      Anyone remember a recent “business method patent” dispute on the idea of – pouring milk onto a bowl of corn flakes?! Anyone who has been in a hospital, camp, or boarding school dining area for breakfast has seen more than enough prior art to bust that one. I think I will try pouring a glass of BEER on my bowl of cheery oes and file for a patent of my own. I always thought that something that does the same thing as what has gone before and just looks a little different, is not an invention. The EP/SLP mode on the VHS recorder might be prior art for “a method to compress video by differentially blending interlaced fields” for example. I have seen it do that!

      (I never knew writing impromptu essays could be such an enjoyment until this thing called the internet…)

    • #173077

      btw: I actually ended up signing with them (mpeg-la)… could make an amusing addition to my resume

    • #173078

      Let us know how it works out for you

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