H.264 – Who Holds the Patents?

H.264 is in the news because Google Chrome won’t support it natively and instead will use WebM, an allegedly open and free video alternative.

Who gets paid when you license H.264?  It’s managed by MPEG-LA.  They have a 70-page list of patents which allegedly contribute to H.264.  If you hear a complaint about Google, Mozilla, and Opera’s stance on not supporting H.264, consult this list to see if the complainer has a conflict of interest.

H.264 Patent Holders

Apple Inc.
Cisco Systems Canada IP Holdings Company†
The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
DAEWOO Electronics Corporation
Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation
Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute
France Télécom, société anonyme
Fraunhofer‐Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.
Fujitsu Limited
Hewlett‐Packard Company
Hitachi, Ltd.
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
LG Electronics Inc.
Microsoft Corporation
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation
Panasonic Corporation†
Polycom, Inc.
Robert Bosch GmbH
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Sedna Patent Services, LLC
Sharp Corporation
Siemens AG
Sony Corporation
Tandberg Telecom AS
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson
Toshiba Corporation
Victor Company of Japan, Limited

Sigh. Lawyers Are The Problem

sign Every day I enter my workplace which proudly displays this sign.  But I see the same sign pretty much everywhere.  If you wish to put one at your own house, you can buy it at Amazon here.

But why do Californians pay to put the same worthless sign on every building?  How much does this useless warning cost us?  Has one of these signs ever helped anyone?  Has it deterred anyone from entering the building?  I see pregnant women walk right past these signs all the time.  Surely it is exaggerated?

Doing some research we find that this sign stems out of Proposition 65, passed in 1986.

25249.6. Required Warning Before Exposure To Chemicals Known to Cause Cancer Or Reproductive Toxicity. No person in the course of doing business shall knowingly and intentionally expose any individual to a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity without first giving clear and reasonable warning to such individual, except as provided in Section 25249.10.

So why do businesses post the signs?  Because if you don’t, and some squirrelly lawyer finds that there is a bad chemical in your building, they can sue you for $2500 per day!

Of course, the law intended to make sure that building owners disclose real hazards.  But, in practice this has just become a cover-your-ass sign.  Building owners don’t know what toilet cleaner might be considered hazardous now or in the future (the official list of hazardous chemicals is maintained by the Attorney General and contains over 850 chemicals), so to protect themselves from suits, they just post the disclosure.  So now we’ve plastered the same sign on every single building, regardless of whether or not there is any real risk.  And by putting it on every building, we’ve completely neutered any chance that the sign could ever have value.

But lawyers are making money on it.  Read here.  Or read about how they hire bounty hunters here

I used to only despise lawyers collectively, but not individually.  These days, however, I blame the individuals too.  If you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.  And lawyers are not working to make our lives better.  If you are a practicing lawyer, and I ever meet you, know that in my core, I think you’re a bad person. You’re a cockroach and I want to step on you and watch your guts ooze on the sidewalk under my shoe.  Holding a law degree is shameful.

I Wish I Had 12 Fingers

On each limb, we have five fingers and toes,
Which are the source of my recent aging woes.
They make us humans think in base 10,
But if I had twelve, I’d be young again!

You see, they say age 40 is the border of old,
Regardless of whether you feel young or bold.
Cross that line, and you’re halfway finished,
The vitality of youth will soon diminish.
But in base twelve, I’m only thirty four,
With 8 more years and long before,
I hit that old and disheartening age,
Of back pain and memory loss that burdens the sage.

But I guess I’m lucky and should not curse,
For my situation could be much worse,
Eight fingers to some, might seem quite nifty,
But if I had only eight, I’d now be fifty!