[FFmpeg-devel] Patent issues with FFV1

Michael Niedermayer michaelni at gmx.at
Tue Jun 11 10:35:33 CEST 2013

On Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 04:50:18PM -0400, Dave Rice wrote:
> Hi ffmpeg-devel,
> A colleague of mine was recently sent me this email. I removed two names from it before sending it to the list serv.
> On Jun 10, 2013, at 4:06 PM, John Walko wrote:
> > Dave:
> > 
> > What do you know about potential patent issues with FFV1?
> > 
> > We have a client we are working with…and were discussing FFV1 and JPEG 2000.  We want her to consider FFV1/Matroska.  She spoke to [ redacted name ] and another person at the [ redacted government archive ], and they raised the potential for FFV1 violating a patent…but our client had no other details.  Of course, she is now scared away from FFV1.  I’d like to research this a little more to find out what they are talking about and see if it is something we should be concerned over.
> > 
> > Thanks;
> >  
> > John Walko
> > Media Archive Manager
> > www.scenesavers.com
> IIRC FFv1 hasn't undergone a thorough legal review but is also an FFmpeg-authored codec. Are there any potential patent issues with FFv1?

Iam not concsiously aware of any specific patents on FFv1. And without
a specific patent number, how could anyone comment a claim on the
existence of a patent. Its a bit like SCO vs. Linux

The arithmetic coder in FFv1 is based on a paper from 1979. If that
means there cant be (valid & non expired) patents on that part or not
is a question for a lawyer which iam not.

> Could such patent issues affect the future ability of an archive to decode (or encode) FFv1.

Again, this is a question for a lawyer, but some points that come to
mind are.
1. Practically all codecs and several containers are covered by
    patents, jpeg, jpeg2000, mpeg1, mpeg2, mpeg4, h263, h264, h265,
    probably vp* & theora, mp3, aac, wmv, asf, ...
    how would any of these be different ?
2. do software patents apply to archives ?
3. Are the specific patents (if they exist) valid ?
4. Do the people that claim FFv1 to be patented have a financial
   interrest in FFv1 not being used ?

Michael     GnuPG fingerprint: 9FF2128B147EF6730BADF133611EC787040B0FAB

The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend
to be. -- Socrates
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