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Old May 15th, 2010, 09:43 AM   #1
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Is it Legal ...?

Just read a thread on another forum discussing the use of various flavors of mpeg codecs for "professional commercial use".

I had no idea there were limitations on the commercial use of these codecs and it got me wondering about the license for the Sony codec used in the nano and FlashXDR.

Are we users ok with the commercial use - for profit projects with these recorders?
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Old May 15th, 2010, 10:34 AM   #2
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I believe they only govern the use of the MPEG codecs when it is used as a delivery format, not a capturing format. So you should have no problems using your nanoFlash or FlashXDR for commercial use.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 08:30 AM   #3
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Dear John,

The nanoFlash is a professional piece of equipment, just the same as the Sony PDW-700 and PDW-F800 cameras which use the same codec.

As I understand this complex subject:

1. The nanoFlash and Flash XDR use of MPEG-2 is licensed.

2. You may produce and video for consumer or professional purposes (see 3 below).

3. You are in good legal standing to use the footage from the nanoFlash and Flash XDR in any "Packaged Product", provided you use a DVD duplicator licensed and in good standing with MPEG LA.

MPEG LA maintains it is just a easy to used an MPEG LA licensed DVD duplicator (for "Packaged Products", intended for consumer use), than it is to use a non-licensed duplicator.

Here are their words:

Q: How do I know if my DVD disc replicator or duplicator is licensed for use of MPEG-2 technology under essential MPEG-2 patents?

A: Content providers and others that contract for DVD Video disc replication and duplication services have liability for patent infringement when they deal with unlicensed replicators and duplicators. But since most DVD disc replicators and duplicators are licensed, it is not difficult to do business with those who are meeting their obligations. For a list of DVD Video disc replicators and duplicators who are meeting their patent licensing obligations, please go to the current list of MPEG-2 Licensees in Good Standing located here.

MPEG LA - The Standard for Standards - MPEG-2 Licensees

The following is from the Sony PDW-700 and PDW-F800 Operator manual:

ANY USE OF THIS PRODUCT OTHER THAN
CONSUMER PERSONAL USE IN ANY
MANNER THAT COMPLIES WITH THE
MPEG-2 STANDARD FOR ENCODING
VIDEO INFORMATION FOR PACKAGED
MEDIA IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED
WITHOUT A LICENSE UNDER
APPLICABLE PATENTS IN THE MPEG-2
PATENT PORTFOLIO, WHICH LICENSE IS
AVAILABLE FROM MPEG LA, L.L.C., 250
STEELE STREET, SUITE 300, DENVER,
COLORADO 80206.

“PACKAGED MEDIA” means any storage media
storing MPEG-2 video information such as DVD movie
which are sold/distributed to general consumers. Disc
replicators or sellers of the PACKAGED MEDIA need
to obtain licenses for their own business from MPEG
LA. Please contact MPEG LA for any further
information. MPEG LA, L.L.C., 250 STEELE STREET,
SUITE 300, DENVER, COLORADO 80206

Their website: MPEG LA

I hope this helps.
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Last edited by Dan Keaton; May 16th, 2010 at 10:51 AM.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 10:08 AM   #4
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Sorry, Dan, but what is a LA? (Since you are talking about MPEG LA.)
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Old May 16th, 2010, 10:51 AM   #5
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Dear Adam,

It appears that the proper name of the company that licesnses MPEG-2 is MPEG LA.

I just scoured their website and they did not explain their name.

However, I beleve it stands for MPEG Licensing Authority.

Here is there website: MPEG LA
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Old May 16th, 2010, 01:47 PM   #6
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Oh, the name of the company. Thanks for the explanation.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 08:38 AM   #7
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I did email MPEG LA regarding the licencing for AVCHD and H.264. Much to my surprise someone rang me back, unfortunately it was at 2AM in my part of the planet so my brain wasn't working too well.

Reason for my email was the license that comes with the cameras and most NLEs for the use of these codecs state they do not cover commercial use which at first reading would severly limit the use of the camera and software. If I understood this gents reply their meaning of "commercial" is very different to what most would take it to mean. The content encoded can be used for any purpose. The encoder licence itself can not be i.e. you cannot use that licence to cover encoding for commercial broadcast to an audience of over 100,000. If I recall correctly even YouTube don't pay any fees. MPEG LA seem to get their money from licencing the decoders.. Pretty certain the same works for mpeg-2 and that you only need to start paying a fee for quite large volumes of DVDs, burning a few hundred wedding DVDs on your own duplicator is fine.

I did suggest to this gent they could perhaps make the wording of their FAQs a bit clearer on their website but I think it's the product of legal minds whose definition of plain English is something unique.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 08:45 AM   #8
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Dear Bob,

Thank you for the information.
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Old May 17th, 2010, 09:09 AM   #9
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The licensing cost for professional use is collected on the distribution end, and amounts to two cents (USD $0.02) per disc. It is collected only for quantities above 100,000 units. There is no charge for delivering to the web. This is a complete non-issue for most everyone on this site. Thanks all,
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