Petter Reinholdtsen

Terms of use for video produced by a Canon IXUS 130 digital camera
9th September 2010

A few days ago I had the mixed pleasure of bying a new digital camera, a Canon IXUS 130. It was instructive and very disturbing to be able to verify that also this camera producer have the nerve to specify how I can or can not use the videos produced with the camera. Even thought I was aware of the issue, the options with new cameras are limited and I ended up bying the camera anyway. What is the problem, you might ask? It is software patents, MPEG-4, H.264 and the MPEG-LA that is the problem, and our right to record our experiences without asking for permissions that is at risk.

On page 27 of the Danish instruction manual, this section is written:

This product is licensed under AT&T patents for the MPEG-4 standard and may be used for encoding MPEG-4 compliant video and/or decoding MPEG-4 compliant video that was encoded only (1) for a personal and non-commercial purpose or (2) by a video provider licensed under the AT&T patents to provide MPEG-4 compliant video.

No license is granted or implied for any other use for MPEG-4 standard.

In short, the camera producer have chosen to use technology (MPEG-4/H.264) that is only provided if I used it for personal and non-commercial purposes, or ask for permission from the organisations holding the knowledge monopoly (patent) for technology used.

This issue has been brewing for a while, and I recommend you to read "Why Our Civilization's Video Art and Culture is Threatened by the MPEG-LA" by Eugenia Loli-Queru and "H.264 Is Not The Sort Of Free That Matters" by Simon Phipps to learn more about the issue. The solution is to support the free and open standards for video, like Ogg Theora, and avoid MPEG-4 and H.264 if you can.

Tags: digistan, english, fildeling, multimedia, nuug, opphavsrett, personvern, standard, video, web.

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