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loki1985

do i need to pay royalties when using MPEG1 cutscenes in a game?

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hi folks! i am currently using MPEG1 for cutscenes in a game. my problem is: do i have to pay royalties to someone for using this format in a commercial product (decoding only, of course)? and does it make a difference whether i use layer 1 or layer 2 for audio? thanks in advance, ---loki

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Could you not use something like XviD? That's an open-source MPEG-4 decoder, last time I checked.

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that is not the problem. the decoder i use is open source. the problem are eventual payments for using the format.
you would need to pay even when using XviD, since MPEG4 it is a patented format.

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IIRC it's the specific algorithms that you'd have to implement in an MPEG decoder which are patented rather than the format itself.

There are other video playback formats that use different, non-MPEG algorithms in their encoding and decoding and so have different licensing deals - including royalty free (usually with restrictions on playback platforms).

You could email the address at http://www.mpegla.com/ for more info if you still really need to use an MPEG based format.

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Quote:
Original post by benryves
Could you not use something like XviD? That's an open-source MPEG-4 decoder, last time I checked.


It's open source, but in binary form it's not legal unless you have paid for the patents on MPEG4 yourself. Xvid and its programmers slip past patent laws by maintaining Xvid as an "academic" exercise. There are no official Xvid binaries, only the source code is made available (Xvid is technically provided under the argument that "this isn't a decoder that infringes on multiple patents because we open source programmers don't give a damn about other peoples property, it's an academic analyse of the algorithm that happens to be in source code form"). That's why DivX (legal) has taken off beyond file sharing uses (including hardware encoders and decoders), while Xvid (illegal fork of the DivX code) remains something only used by people encoding copyright content for illegal distribution.

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BTW, what platform are you targeting? If it's Windows, you could just use DirectShow to display MPEG1 files, which like DirectShow MP3 playback is prepaid by Microsoft.

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Quote:
Original post by Michalson
BTW, what platform are you targeting? If it's Windows, you could just use DirectShow to display MPEG1 files, which like DirectShow MP3 playback is prepaid by Microsoft.


I dunno... just because MS provide the means to decode I still think if you distribute a game with more then 5000 copies you still have to pay royalities. Still I might be wrong.

http://www.mp3licensing.com/royalty/games.html

Ogg Vorbis is a decent alternative and gamedev does have some articles on it on how to use it.

As for video there's Theora that's not quite ready for prime-time but probably worth looking at. H.264 also may be worth looking in too.

EDIT: I thought H.264 was royality free because of this - but perhaps it isn't?

[Edited by - paulecoyote on June 9, 2005 8:37:17 AM]

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i already mailed to mpegla.com, but they told me they are only responsible for licensing of MPEG2 and MPEG4....


the platform is not really important (my code is multi-platform), but even on windows the licensing issues would apply.

i hoped someone here already used MPEG1 in a commercial application and found out this issue....

i allready am looking at theora, but maybe this will take too long for me to wait for.

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