[Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Andrew Lih
On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 10:28 AM, Lionel Allorge <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> On the contrary, we should encourage people to edit their videos with
> tutorials and to render the final edit in a free file format.
>

Agree. As part of Wiki Makes Video, we've done some of this already,
including videos about making videos:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video/Shoot

I welcome other contributions and feedback to the project.

-Andrew
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Andrew Lih
On 16 January 2014 15:36, Andrew Lih <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 9:14 AM, Todd Allen <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> This proposal asks to move to a "free as in beer" model, where content will
>> be free to view, but not necessarily to reuse (and with the opaque license,
>> it may not even be possible to tell). We could choose to make that change,
>> but it is a major change to the founding principles of what we do.  As such
>> it should be discussed directly and across all projects as such a major
>> change, and not backdoored through a vote that is on its surface a question
>> about format support.

> As much as I hate how MPEG-LA and MPEG-4 creates a non-free climate for our
> video, it's unfair to use "backdoor" to characterize intent of either
> community members or WMF employees in this area.


I think it's quite fair to note, loudly and often, that *functionally*
it creates a backdoor for nonfree content.

This is a major, major change, being posited as allowing a format.

Furthermore, this has been discussed before, and the proponents *are
fully aware* that it is a major, major change that they are positing
as allowing a format.

So claiming that it's "assuming bad faith" to notice this and say so
comes across as disingenuous.


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Todd Allen
On Jan 16, 2014 8:41 AM, "David Gerard" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On 16 January 2014 15:36, Andrew Lih <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 9:14 AM, Todd Allen <[hidden email]>
wrote:
>
> >> This proposal asks to move to a "free as in beer" model, where content
will
> >> be free to view, but not necessarily to reuse (and with the opaque
license,
> >> it may not even be possible to tell). We could choose to make that
change,
> >> but it is a major change to the founding principles of what we do.  As
such
> >> it should be discussed directly and across all projects as such a major
> >> change, and not backdoored through a vote that is on its surface a
question
> >> about format support.
>
> > As much as I hate how MPEG-LA and MPEG-4 creates a non-free climate for
our

> > video, it's unfair to use "backdoor" to characterize intent of either
> > community members or WMF employees in this area.
>
>
> I think it's quite fair to note, loudly and often, that *functionally*
> it creates a backdoor for nonfree content.
>
> This is a major, major change, being posited as allowing a format.
>
> Furthermore, this has been discussed before, and the proponents *are
> fully aware* that it is a major, major change that they are positing
> as allowing a format.
>
> So claiming that it's "assuming bad faith" to notice this and say so
> comes across as disingenuous.
>
>
> - d.
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
<mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>

That is exactly my intent. I don't mean to imply WMF is acting with malice
here. However, in this instance, a technological change would cause a
significant shift in the principles and ethics behind what we do. So rather
than focusing on technology, the question should be whether free content
should be removed as a fundamental principle of our movement. Functionally,
that is what this proposal, if implemented, would do.

Otherwise, exactly as David explained, corrosion to that principle slips in
by the back door, whether by accident or design. If we want to ask that
question, ask it directly.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Andrew Lih
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
You know I think you're awesome David, so I take your words to heart.
You're right about the magnitude of the decision.

I can see how "backdoored" was not meant to ascribe a motive or
underhandedness, but to alert the community that we're allowing a practice
we may not completely grasp in terms of a culture change.

Instead, I'd neutralize backdoored to something like, "unwittingly shifting
our cherished values for the worse."

I voted to go with MP4 but my skepticism is high -- I'm still not satisfied
we have deciphered all the legal aspects to our satisfaction:
- Confusing consumer electronics MPEG-4 AT&T license for "personal and
non-commercial activity" as brought up by User:Geni
- Secret non-public licenses WMF would need to purchase, and the community
wouldn't understand
- What happens after 2016 when the secret license fees could arbitrarily
rise?
- What happens with CC-BY-SA MPEG-4 content downloaded from Commons if it's
used in a commercial setting? Have we sprung a surprise gotcha on creators
of derivative works?

These are not easy, but I'd like to explore them, cautiously, even for a
limited trial.

-Andrew



On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 10:41 AM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 16 January 2014 15:36, Andrew Lih <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 9:14 AM, Todd Allen <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> >> This proposal asks to move to a "free as in beer" model, where content
> will
> >> be free to view, but not necessarily to reuse (and with the opaque
> license,
> >> it may not even be possible to tell). We could choose to make that
> change,
> >> but it is a major change to the founding principles of what we do.  As
> such
> >> it should be discussed directly and across all projects as such a major
> >> change, and not backdoored through a vote that is on its surface a
> question
> >> about format support.
>
> > As much as I hate how MPEG-LA and MPEG-4 creates a non-free climate for
> our
> > video, it's unfair to use "backdoor" to characterize intent of either
> > community members or WMF employees in this area.
>
>
> I think it's quite fair to note, loudly and often, that *functionally*
> it creates a backdoor for nonfree content.
>
> This is a major, major change, being posited as allowing a format.
>
> Furthermore, this has been discussed before, and the proponents *are
> fully aware* that it is a major, major change that they are positing
> as allowing a format.
>
> So claiming that it's "assuming bad faith" to notice this and say so
> comes across as disingenuous.
>
>
> - d.
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

David Gerard-2
On 16 January 2014 16:02, Andrew Lih <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Instead, I'd neutralize backdoored to something like, "unwittingly shifting
> our cherished values for the worse."


This is about the fourth time this has come around; I hope you can
understand that it's harder to credit "unwittingly" than if it were
the first.


> I voted to go with MP4 but my skepticism is high -- I'm still not satisfied
> we have deciphered all the legal aspects to our satisfaction:
> - Confusing consumer electronics MPEG-4 AT&T license for "personal and
> non-commercial activity" as brought up by User:Geni
> - Secret non-public licenses WMF would need to purchase, and the community
> wouldn't understand
> - What happens after 2016 when the secret license fees could arbitrarily
> rise?
> - What happens with CC-BY-SA MPEG-4 content downloaded from Commons if it's
> used in a commercial setting? Have we sprung a surprise gotcha on creators
> of derivative works?
> These are not easy, but I'd like to explore them, cautiously, even for a
> limited trial.


WMF has been very bad at making "limited trials" that are in fact
limited. (We're been in the "limited trial" of anons not being able to
create articles on en:wp since 2007, for instance.)


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Andrew Lih
In reply to this post by Todd Allen
On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 10:54 AM, Todd Allen <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> >
> > So claiming that it's "assuming bad faith" to notice this and say so
> > comes across as disingenuous.
> >
>
> That is exactly my intent. I don't mean to imply WMF is acting with malice
> here. However, in this instance, a technological change would cause a
> significant shift in the principles and ethics behind what we do. So rather
> than focusing on technology, the question should be whether free content
> should be removed as a fundamental principle of our movement. Functionally,
> that is what this proposal, if implemented, would do.
>
> Otherwise, exactly as David explained, corrosion to that principle slips in
> by the back door, whether by accident or design. If we want to ask that
> question, ask it directly.
>
> Thanks for the clarification. I hereby withdraw my issue about motives.

It is indeed a good question. It just stinks it's happening in so many
places :)

There is a video RFC office hours today (Thursday) at 1900 UTC! Please do
join.

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/IRC_office_hours#Upcoming_office_hours

Unfortunately I have another engagement or I'd absolutely be there.

-Andrew
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Federico Leva (Nemo)
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
David Gerard, 16/01/2014 17:05:
> WMF has been very bad at making "limited trials" that are in fact
> limited. (We're been in the "limited trial" of anons not being able to
> create articles on en:wp since 2007, for instance.)

2005 "as an experiment", actually.
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Newly_registered_user>

Nemo

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Andrew Gray-3
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 16 January 2014 16:05, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 16 January 2014 16:02, Andrew Lih <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Instead, I'd neutralize backdoored to something like, "unwittingly shifting
>> our cherished values for the worse."
>
> This is about the fourth time this has come around; I hope you can
> understand that it's harder to credit "unwittingly" than if it were
> the first.

It's certainly come around a lot, but it's never really been put to
the question.

I've seen "we should support mp3/mp4/mpeg/flash" a lot - skimming my
mailing list archives, it was brought up in 2005 (already as a
perennial suggestion), 2007, 2008, 2009, and early 2013. None of these
actually resulted in a formal proposal or anything other than a flurry
of discussion (though in 2008 there was a draft board resolution which
would have explicitly ruled out patent-encumbered formats...)

To me, this seems to be one of those decisions that we made years and
years ago and have never really thrashed out properly and widely,
rather than just saying "well, we said no". As such, I think a clearly
structured community-wide discussion is a definite advance - and if
it's a firm no, and we remain in the status quo, we'll have a firm
basis for that in future rather than a sort of decision-by-inertia.

--
- Andrew Gray
  [hidden email]

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
This is a truly divisive issue. For many people the notion that you do not
need anything proprietary is a powerful motivator to participate. Promoting
a stack of software that cannot be taken away because of the whims of a
company or country is an integral part to it.

From my perspective the lack of clarity in the license of the MP* codes
makes them really suspicious. Once we start using content in MP* we cannot
turn back. So if things go south we will be royally screwed.

The other argument I see is that there is a lot out there in these codecs.

When we do not accept the use of proprietary codecs, it does not mean that
we have no options. The only thing is we will have to do more stuff that is
considered to be basic. That may not seem sexy to some and that is not
really relevant.

I prefer for us to remain on the path where our whole stack of both content
and software is unencumbered.
Thanks,
      GerardM


On 16 January 2014 19:05, Andrew Gray <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 16 January 2014 16:05, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > On 16 January 2014 16:02, Andrew Lih <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> >> Instead, I'd neutralize backdoored to something like, "unwittingly
> shifting
> >> our cherished values for the worse."
> >
> > This is about the fourth time this has come around; I hope you can
> > understand that it's harder to credit "unwittingly" than if it were
> > the first.
>
> It's certainly come around a lot, but it's never really been put to
> the question.
>
> I've seen "we should support mp3/mp4/mpeg/flash" a lot - skimming my
> mailing list archives, it was brought up in 2005 (already as a
> perennial suggestion), 2007, 2008, 2009, and early 2013. None of these
> actually resulted in a formal proposal or anything other than a flurry
> of discussion (though in 2008 there was a draft board resolution which
> would have explicitly ruled out patent-encumbered formats...)
>
> To me, this seems to be one of those decisions that we made years and
> years ago and have never really thrashed out properly and widely,
> rather than just saying "well, we said no". As such, I think a clearly
> structured community-wide discussion is a definite advance - and if
> it's a firm no, and we remain in the status quo, we'll have a firm
> basis for that in future rather than a sort of decision-by-inertia.
>
> --
> - Andrew Gray
>   [hidden email]
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Marc-Andre
On 01/16/2014 01:21 PM, Gerard Meijssen wrote:
> I prefer for us to remain on the path where our whole stack of both content
> and software is unencumbered.

I'd really hope we're not setting up a false dichotomy in our
discussion; nobody has been argued about supporting MP4 containers in
replacement of open formats, but of allowing uploads and transcoding to
open format alongside the ability to view videos in those encumbered
formats.

Ultimately, our primary mission remains to collect *make available* the
knowledge; that we do so in a way that never *requires* proprietary
tools of format is necessary -- but doesn't imply we can't make it
/also/ available in some encumbered formats when it increases how many
people can effectively get access to it.

-- Marc


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

David Gerard-2
It is important to note that WMF itself is not in any way neutral on
this issue: adding MPEG4 is explicitly listed as a 2014 goal for the
Multimedia team.

That is, it has already been determined that this is *going to happen*.

https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Multimedia/2013-14_Goals#Activities
https://www.mediawiki.org/w/index.php?title=File:Multimedia_Quarterly_Review_12-03-2013.pdf&page=61


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Chad Horohoe
On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 10:32 AM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> It is important to note that WMF itself is not in any way neutral on
> this issue: adding MPEG4 is explicitly listed as a 2014 goal for the
> Multimedia team.
>
> That is, it has already been determined that this is *going to happen*.
>
> https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Multimedia/2013-14_Goals#Activities
>
> https://www.mediawiki.org/w/index.php?title=File:Multimedia_Quarterly_Review_12-03-2013.pdf&page=61
>
>
It says "like MPEG4"

And it also says "Support New Video and Audio formats based on results of
community RfC"

But I can see how not mentioning the RFC part helps make your point
about this being a fait accompli. Which it's not.

-Chad
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Andrew Gray-3
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
I read that as "we plan to have a discussion, and if that discussion
is positive, go ahead".

Putting something in the schedule in advance of the decision makes
sense - there's no point in having the discussion without planning the
resources to follow through on what you've offered to do!

Andrew.

On 16 January 2014 18:32, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> It is important to note that WMF itself is not in any way neutral on
> this issue: adding MPEG4 is explicitly listed as a 2014 goal for the
> Multimedia team.
>
> That is, it has already been determined that this is *going to happen*.
>
> https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Multimedia/2013-14_Goals#Activities
> https://www.mediawiki.org/w/index.php?title=File:Multimedia_Quarterly_Review_12-03-2013.pdf&page=61
>
>
> - d.
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>



--
- Andrew Gray
  [hidden email]

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Brion Vibber-4
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 10:21 AM, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]
> wrote:

> Hoi,
> This is a truly divisive issue. For many people the notion that you do not
> need anything proprietary is a powerful motivator to participate. Promoting
> a stack of software that cannot be taken away because of the whims of a
> company or country is an integral part to it.
>
> From my perspective the lack of clarity in the license of the MP* codes
> makes them really suspicious. Once we start using content in MP* we cannot
> turn back. So if things go south we will be royally screwed.
>

In theory we'll be free to turn back at any time by deleting all those
nasty *.mp4 files and just using the .ogv and .webm files -- but we'd be
giving up functionality unless the landscape changes in the mean time.

For this reason I would continue to advocate supporting work on low-level
WebM support alternatives (software codecs for iOS and other mobile OSs,
JavaScript decoding for desktop web browsers) even if we do go MP4 to
better support today's devices today, as this would give us a stronger
fallback position if we need to drop it in future. See
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Brion_VIBBER/Media_codec_alternativesfor
some notes on things that are possible, but currently outside our
budgeted work.


-- brion
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

geni
In reply to this post by Emmanuel Engelhart-5
On 16 January 2014 13:02, Emmanuel Engelhart <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Dirac, a free codec developed by the BBC, seems to be a good solution.
> Do people have some experiences with Dirac?
>
>
No. BBC managed to get it working dedicated machines a few years back and I
think there is an alpha trans-coder out there but people have lost
interest. Theora is good enough for the no compromise on freedom mob and
development interest is moving towards webM.



--
geni
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Todd Allen
In reply to this post by Chad Horohoe
Well, after reading that, I am a bit uneasy. Has WMF agreed not to move
forward if that discussion does not reach a consensus to do so? At this
point, it looks unlikely that it will.
On Jan 16, 2014 11:37 AM, "Chad Horohoe" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 10:32 AM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > It is important to note that WMF itself is not in any way neutral on
> > this issue: adding MPEG4 is explicitly listed as a 2014 goal for the
> > Multimedia team.
> >
> > That is, it has already been determined that this is *going to happen*.
> >
> > https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Multimedia/2013-14_Goals#Activities
> >
> >
> https://www.mediawiki.org/w/index.php?title=File:Multimedia_Quarterly_Review_12-03-2013.pdf&page=61
> >
> >
> It says "like MPEG4"
>
> And it also says "Support New Video and Audio formats based on results of
> community RfC"
>
> But I can see how not mentioning the RFC part helps make your point
> about this being a fait accompli. Which it's not.
>
> -Chad
> _______________________________________________
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Erik Moeller-4
On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 12:39 PM, Todd Allen <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Well, after reading that, I am a bit uneasy. Has WMF agreed not to move
> forward if that discussion does not reach a consensus to do so? At this
> point, it looks unlikely that it will.

The point of the RFC is to figure out what to do. A "no consensus"
result seems to argue for the status quo, though possibly with
increased effort on making the experience of using open codecs suck
less for readers & contributors. See
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Brion_VIBBER/Media_codec_alternatives
for Brion's initial assessment on what's possible.


--
Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Rob Lanphier-4
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 10:32 AM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> It is important to note that WMF itself is not in any way neutral on
> this issue: adding MPEG4 is explicitly listed as a 2014 goal for the
> Multimedia team.
>
> That is, it has already been determined that this is *going to happen*.
>
> https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Multimedia/2013-14_Goals#Activities
> https://www.mediawiki.org/w/index.php?title=File:Multimedia_Quarterly_Review_12-03-2013.pdf&page=61


The goals page says "Establish an audio/video codec strategy about
licensing codecs like MPEG4"  This RFC is part of establishing that
strategy.  If the answer from this RFC is "no MP4", then whatever
strategy we have will work within that constraint.

The slide deck was published from a meeting where I can assure you
Fabrice said something to the effect of "of course, this all depends
on the result of the RFC"  :-)

I can definitively state that this question of supporting MP4 has not
been determined.  We will not support MP4 without community consensus.

Rob

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Tim Starling-2
In reply to this post by Todd Allen
On 17/01/14 01:14, Todd Allen wrote:
> This proposal asks to move to a "free as in beer" model, where content will
> be free to view, but not necessarily to reuse (and with the opaque license,
> it may not even be possible to tell).

I don't really understand this argument. It's not like there are video
cameras that record directly to Theora. So presumably, most videos
uploaded to Commons start life as H.264 or some other proprietary
format, and are transcoded to Theora before they are uploaded to Commons.

The proposal is to make it possible to upload the source file and have
the server do the transcode, whereas currently, the source file is
private and thus not distributed under a free license. Currently, if
you want to reuse an H.264 source file, you have to somehow contact
the author, beg for a copy of the file, and hope that they haven't
deleted it. With this proposal, if you want to reuse an H.264 file
without a patent license, you can just download the Theora transcode
from the server.

I am having trouble thinking of a scenario where the current situation
would be better for reuse than the proposed situation. If you can
think of one, please tell me.

-- Tim Starling


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] RfC: Should we support MP4 Video on our sites?

Bjoern Hoehrmann
* Tim Starling wrote:

>On 17/01/14 01:14, Todd Allen wrote:
>> This proposal asks to move to a "free as in beer" model, where content will
>> be free to view, but not necessarily to reuse (and with the opaque license,
>> it may not even be possible to tell).
>
>I don't really understand this argument. It's not like there are video
>cameras that record directly to Theora. So presumably, most videos
>uploaded to Commons start life as H.264 or some other proprietary
>format, and are transcoded to Theora before they are uploaded to Commons.
>
>The proposal is to make it possible to upload the source file and have
>the server do the transcode, whereas currently, the source file is
>private and thus not distributed under a free license. Currently, if
>you want to reuse an H.264 source file, you have to somehow contact
>the author, beg for a copy of the file, and hope that they haven't
>deleted it. With this proposal, if you want to reuse an H.264 file
>without a patent license, you can just download the Theora transcode
>from the server.
>
>I am having trouble thinking of a scenario where the current situation
>would be better for reuse than the proposed situation. If you can
>think of one, please tell me.

It seems to me that we all agree it would be nice if people could upload
H.264 video to Wikimedia Foundation servers and if people could download
H.264 video from Wikimedia servers and possibly even reuse such video.
There are efforts underway to try and make some H.264 profile available
on a royality-free basis that the Foundation probably should study and
possibly support. This RFC however is not going to give people a license
to upload or reuse H.264 video by the looks of it. The "download Theora"
approach is already supported, so there is no difference there either.

If there is some legal theory by which "most people" either already have
or do not need to be given a license to upload or reuse H.264 video (in-
cluding considerations with respect to how such video came to be) then
by all means make that part of the RfC and then we could say whether the
proposal would actually improve anything.
--
Björn Höhrmann · mailto:[hidden email] · http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
Am Badedeich 7 · Telefon: +49(0)160/4415681 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
25899 Dagebüll · PGP Pub. KeyID: 0xA4357E78 · http://www.websitedev.de/ 

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