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Does MediaFoundation's H.264 encoding require royalty? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am using MediaFoundation's H.264 encoder for a commercial software. Does it need a royalty?

    Friday, November 20, 2009 9:03 AM

Answers

  • Microsoft codecs exposed through the public API are platform licensed by Microsoft, meaning they can be used by any applications running on the Windows platform.  There are codecs that are not platform licensed, but these codecs are set up to only be usable by certain Microsoft applications. 
    Monday, November 30, 2009 10:42 PM
  • Hi Matt,

    I am not an attorney, but what do you make of this in the Win7 EULA? (downloaded from microsoft.com, sorry about the use of all caps but that's how it appears in the PDF which I cut/pasted from):

    19. NOTICE ABOUT THE H.264/AVC VISUAL STANDARD, THE VC-1 VIDEO STANDARD, THE 
    MPEG-4 VISUAL STANDARD AND THE MPEG-2 VIDEO STANDARD. This software includes 
    H.264/AVC, VC-1, MPEG-4 Part 2, and MPEG-2 visual compression technology. MPEG LA, L.L.C. 
    requires this notice: 
    THIS PRODUCT IS LICENSED UNDER THE AVC, THE VC-1, THE MPEG-4 PART 2 VISUAL, AND THE 
    MPEG-2 VIDEO PATENT PORTFOLIO LICENSES FOR THE PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL USE OF 
    A CONSUMER TO (i) ENCODE VIDEO IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE ABOVE STANDARDS (“VIDEO 
    STANDARDS”) AND/OR (ii) DECODE AVC, VC-1, MPEG-4 PART 2 AND MPEG-2 VIDEO THAT WAS 
    ENCODED BY A CONSUMER ENGAGED IN A PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERICAL ACTIVITY AND/OR 
    WAS OBTAINED FROM A VIDEO PROVIDER LICENSED TO PROVIDE SUCH VIDEO. NO LICENSE IS 
    GRANTED OR SHALL BE IMPLIED FOR ANY OTHER USE. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION MAY BE
    OBTAINED FROM MPEG LA, L.L.C. SEE WWW.MPEGLA.COM


    I see this as more restrictive than what you wrote.  I am not giving legal advice to the OP for the reasons I stated in my earlier reply.


    Please use Vote As Helpful (green up arrow at top-left of posts) and Mark As Answer where appropriate.
    My dshow site is http://tmhare.mvps.org.
    Monday, November 30, 2009 11:17 PM

All replies

  • Media Foundation is core to the operating system so in a way, the site license is covered by the purchase of Windows 7. If you're looking at something like AVCHD however (H.264 video and AC3 audio derivatives) that's a different matter.
    Friday, November 20, 2009 1:59 PM
  • Hi, Nobby
    Thank you for your information.
    I use Windows 7's H.264 and AAC to encoder source to MP4 file, and syncing the file to mobile phone.
    Do you mean I don't need to warry out royalty as long as I use the above codec which provided by Windows 7?
    Tuesday, November 24, 2009 2:33 AM
  • IMO, it is a mistake to take legal advice from someone in a forum.

    IP laws are complex and vary from country to country.  If you end up in litigation over some IP issue related to these encoders, saying you were told it was okay to use them by someone in a forum is not going to have much impact.

    You need to read the license agreements for the SDK and for Windows 7.  You also need to understand the laws of the countries you distribute your software in.  If you don't understand them, then hire an attorney.

    This is one reason that Microsoft required at one time that all employee posts had this disclaimer:

    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. You assume all risk for your use.


    Please use Vote As Helpful (green up arrow at top-left of posts) and Mark As Answer where appropriate.
    My dshow site is http://tmhare.mvps.org.
    Tuesday, November 24, 2009 6:42 AM
  • Microsoft codecs exposed through the public API are platform licensed by Microsoft, meaning they can be used by any applications running on the Windows platform.  There are codecs that are not platform licensed, but these codecs are set up to only be usable by certain Microsoft applications. 
    Monday, November 30, 2009 10:42 PM
  • Hi Matt,

    I am not an attorney, but what do you make of this in the Win7 EULA? (downloaded from microsoft.com, sorry about the use of all caps but that's how it appears in the PDF which I cut/pasted from):

    19. NOTICE ABOUT THE H.264/AVC VISUAL STANDARD, THE VC-1 VIDEO STANDARD, THE 
    MPEG-4 VISUAL STANDARD AND THE MPEG-2 VIDEO STANDARD. This software includes 
    H.264/AVC, VC-1, MPEG-4 Part 2, and MPEG-2 visual compression technology. MPEG LA, L.L.C. 
    requires this notice: 
    THIS PRODUCT IS LICENSED UNDER THE AVC, THE VC-1, THE MPEG-4 PART 2 VISUAL, AND THE 
    MPEG-2 VIDEO PATENT PORTFOLIO LICENSES FOR THE PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL USE OF 
    A CONSUMER TO (i) ENCODE VIDEO IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE ABOVE STANDARDS (“VIDEO 
    STANDARDS”) AND/OR (ii) DECODE AVC, VC-1, MPEG-4 PART 2 AND MPEG-2 VIDEO THAT WAS 
    ENCODED BY A CONSUMER ENGAGED IN A PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERICAL ACTIVITY AND/OR 
    WAS OBTAINED FROM A VIDEO PROVIDER LICENSED TO PROVIDE SUCH VIDEO. NO LICENSE IS 
    GRANTED OR SHALL BE IMPLIED FOR ANY OTHER USE. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION MAY BE
    OBTAINED FROM MPEG LA, L.L.C. SEE WWW.MPEGLA.COM


    I see this as more restrictive than what you wrote.  I am not giving legal advice to the OP for the reasons I stated in my earlier reply.


    Please use Vote As Helpful (green up arrow at top-left of posts) and Mark As Answer where appropriate.
    My dshow site is http://tmhare.mvps.org.
    Monday, November 30, 2009 11:17 PM
  • I believe that clause defines what the end user can do with the content they generate or consume using the codecs rather than a restriction on which applications can use them.  Essentially, movie studios have to pony up some cash to encode commercial content; they cannot use the Windows 7 codecs.  The decision about whether or not to expose a codec through the public API is an explicit one made based upon whether or not the licensing terms allow for third party use of the codec. 

    I will see if we can work with our legal team to put a formalized definition of what can and cannot be done with the codecs on MSDN. 
    Thursday, December 3, 2009 2:24 AM
  • Hi, Matt and The March Hare
    Thanks for your information. Your discuss is very help for me.
    Thursday, December 3, 2009 2:38 AM
  • Thanks for your reply.

    Could we ask MS lawyer or representative to put more formalized definition of what can and can't be done by developers with codecs on msdn?

    Can we legally use h.264/aac/mp3 codecs available in Microsoft Media Foundation framework in our commercial (paid) application for Win 7/8.1/10 OS?

    I do not understand if Microsoft covers royalties of patent pools companies like MpegLA (h264), Via Licensing (aac) if we use media foundation framework or developers have to sign license agreements and pay royalties to patent pool companies anyway?

    I can't find any information about this subject even in Win 10, Media Foundation, SDK EULAs. Who is responsible for royalties MS or developer if we use native framework and create app for Windows OS? Thanks!

    Thursday, March 31, 2016 8:11 PM
  • PLEASE Microsoft help us and give us a valid answer.

    Can we developers legally use h.264/aac/mp3 codecs which are available because of Microsoft Media Foundation framework in our commercial / paid application for Win 7/8.1/10 OS? We want to use the native Microsoft Media Foundation framework and create a software which runs only at Windows.

    Thursday, September 28, 2017 7:32 AM