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[P]
Project Mayo (DivxDeux) a scam ?

By elpapacito in Technology
Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 06:05:09 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

It has come to my attention that Project Mayo, better known as "divx deux" or "the next divx codec" may be a potential "lure" to attract the good programmers of open source community into working for free while some others guys make huge profits.


BRIEF HISTORY:

Divx;-) is a well known codec used to encode movies/video. It's being used by many people to store their own video on hard disks or any other storage media that are accessible by computer.

The quality of the video is usually good or very good. It's being widely used by amateurs or video pirates as well, given its good performance and given it's FREE.

Divx;-) is a -hack- of a Microsoft Codec. Microsoft developed this codec on the open MPEG-4 standard specifications. If you want more information about MPEG, you may want to visit mpeg.org.

For the uninformed ones, any time you play a DVD you're actually playing a MPEG-2 compressed video :D

So Divx;-) is a brilliant work of HACK and so nobody can claim to have a copyright on it, because it's an illegal hack of a Microsoft Codec, as stated above. Nonetheless it's FAMOUS and widely used.

WHAT'S HAPPENING:

The same guy who developed Divx;-) promised , some time ago, to release a new version of this codec with the new name "Divx;-) Deux". All the amateurs waited impatiently for more then one year and then on 16 January 2001 they received a BIG suprise.....

There is no Divx Deux right now, but there is Project Mayo and "Open Divx". The name is a very nice lure for any Open Source programmer out there. You can read all the info regarding Open Divx at the address linked above.

WHAT'S WRONG:

1)On 22 January 2001 this article at Red Herring appears on the net. I suggest you read it because it's quite interesting. I'll summarize for the lazy ones.

Project Mayo turned into DivxNetworks, a company which plans to LICENCE "Divx;-) Deux" in return for , guess what, money !

2)Nothing wrong in makeing money, but now let's read this link .. Project Mayo FAQ

Again for the lazy ones :

Is OpenDivX the same as DivX or DivX Deux? No. OpenDivX is the core software that, when ready, will be compiled into official DivX releases. DivX Deux is the next generation of DivX, and is actively being worked on in the OpenDivX project. When DARC judges the code good enough, we will christen it DivX Deux and release it.

Those among you who are more experienced have already unterstood what's happening...somebody wants open source programmers to BUILD a codec from SCRATCH and then sell it. Ah, and a big thanks to open source community, but I gotta buy my new Ferrari now :D

3) Now let's go read Project Mayo DIVX Open Licence 1.01

Among the best points in that licence there's one which says...

You must receive prior express written permission from Project Mayo before you use the names "DivX;-)" or "DivX" (or any names incorporating those names) or the file extensions ".divx" or ".div" to promote or endorse products derived from the Codec, including, but not limited to Larger Works.

So you can't say your new codec hack is DivX compatible, without written permission.

SUMMARY:

What these guys at Project Mayo are asking programmers to do is , i'm not so humble opinion, to work for free while they make money. Brilliant eh ? You have been warned.

Elpapacito

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Related Links
o mpeg.org
o Project Mayo
o Red Herring
o Project Mayo FAQ
o Project Mayo DIVX Open Licence 1.01
o Also by elpapacito


Display: Sort:
Project Mayo (DivxDeux) a scam ? | 26 comments (11 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
The sky is falling! (3.62 / 8) (#3)
by trhurler on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 11:28:19 AM EST

Guess what? This is the same thing Netscape did with Mozilla, basically. There is a free codebase(well, more or less free,) and there is the official Netscape release of that code, and the latter is not free. Notice that there is no great outrage over this - most people understand and don't care. No, the free code can't use the name. The name is just a brand - it means a lot to companies making money, but it means nothing much of significance to free software people, so why should anyone care that they can't call Mozilla by Netscape's assorted browser trademarks or this Divx thing by the trademark of this clown's company? If the project is successful, he will quickly become an irrelevant idiot selling something nobody wants to pay for, and if not, then he'll fail with it.

The sky is not falling.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Oh really (3.00 / 4) (#6)
by retinaburn on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 11:55:27 AM EST

most people understand and don't care
I'd like to see some data to back this up.


I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho


[ Parent ]
Oh brother (3.77 / 9) (#13)
by regeya on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 02:52:11 PM EST

If you contribute to Mozilla, there's the possibility that someday Gecko--or perhapse the whole big mess--will make it into some future version of the oh-so-loved AOL software.

If you contribute to the Linux kernel, there's a possibility that you'll help Bob Young over at Red Hat buy a new Ferrari.

If you contribute to LAME (an open source MPEG 1 Layer III encoder) or to FreeAmp (an open source media player) there's the possibility that someone will encode audio for sale, or that someone will use FreeAmp to download purchased music from EMusic using the handy built-in feature in FreeAmp. Congratulations, you just helped someone make money.

But you know what? If you work at a company on a closed source project, sure, you'll be making money--but your boss will be making more off your work than you will.

Boycott all work! Be a shiftless bum!

Seriously, what would you prefer? That this company hire a few programmers so they can churn out a Win32 codec and possibly a Mac version if they get around to it someday? Or would you prefer that they open the project up so that everyone can take a stab at getting it working on their platform? Sure, the company plans to make money by selling content. I seriously doubt, though, that they'll get many serious takers (helpers) for the project if they don't open up the encoder as well...

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

They don't know what they're getting into (3.80 / 5) (#17)
by zhobson on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 07:09:35 PM EST

If in fact this company is trying to get volunteers to develop a product for them without a significant existing codebase, they're doomed anyway, and we can all have a good laugh at their stupidity. Even with an existing codebase, getting a significant amount of volunteer developers to support a development project is a herculean task. Look at Mozilla. While it has ultimately produced a great browser, it started with a massive codebase and a small army of paid developers. It wasn't until the product solidified into a usable browser that the volunteer efforts really took off.

Scam or not, nobody can get a significant amount of unpaid developers to build a divx decoder from scratch. Also, the VC market is pretty unfriendly to vaporous business plans right now, and this one is about as vaporous as they get.

-zack

Patents... knowledge... (4.80 / 5) (#18)
by joto on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 08:40:52 PM EST

Personally, I must disagree. I don't think divx is a scam, and I have nothing against that they try to make money. But I do not consider it a worthwile project anyway.

As they admit themselves, the field of digital video compression is riddled with patents, and divx most likely breaks most of them. As a free software enthusiast, I cannot say that this makes me very interested in contributing to divx or project mayo. There are other more worthwile projects out there that would result in something not only useful, but also something that would be legal to distribute and use.

Secondly, divx is not free software, and it's copyright status is at best uncertain. Again, to make sure it is legal, we will need a clean-room implementation. And, given the legal status of divx, the divx developers are not able to do that, as they are already too much exposed to copyrighted code.

Thirdly, I do not agree with their goals and ideals. Divx was written as a tool for piracy. It breaks patents, most likely copyright, and is primarily being used for breaking copyright. I think it is important for free software to stay on the right side of the law in order to be accepted by the public. And while divx certainly has legal uses, it is my impression that those are not the reason for it's development.

The sad thing is that it might take a long time before we will have something like a good free video codec because there are so few hackers who have intricate knowledge of video-compression. Even less of those would be eligible to do a clean-room implementation of something. And you have to be really smart to get around all of the patents, and still come out with something useful.

It's a trademark issue (4.00 / 3) (#19)
by Toojays on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 08:52:55 PM EST

Maybe they're going a bit far by saying what file extensions can be used, but there's nothing particularly abhorrent about what they're doing. Can you imagine if Suse started selling a distro that was labelled Linux, but was actually FreeBSD? Or if you downloaded a program called Netscape 6.1 and found it was actually using the Lynx layout engine instead of Gecko?

If Project Mayo were to allow anyone use of their trademark, they would be open to a company using "embrace and extend" practices to break the codec. This wouldn't be too hard to do if you could get one of the big film companies to put out a trailer for an eagerly awaited movie, encoded in your proprietry "AdvanceDivX" format. Then all of a sudden the people selling official DivX codecs start getting calls saying their program is broken since it can't play the new DivX format.

Unless they agressively protect their trademark, there's nothing they can do to stop the above scenario.



Trademark (3.66 / 6) (#20)
by delmoi on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 09:05:31 PM EST

Um... shouldn't Circut City own the trademark to "Divx"
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
They probably don't care (5.00 / 2) (#24)
by kaitian on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 08:07:12 PM EST

Circut City got so much bad publicity from Divx that they're probably very happy that this codec is around and popular. I just helps people forget Circut City Divx faster.

[ Parent ]
divx irrelevant - MPEG NOT open - help OGG instead (4.80 / 10) (#21)
by Hobart on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 01:14:38 AM EST

It really doesn't matter if the DivX;-)Deux or whomever implement a codec that does MPEG4 properly. Just as "MP3" encoders infringe on Fraunhofer AG's patents on MPEG1 audio, anyone who follows this "Open" standard is at the mercy of being sued. See http://www.mpegla.com/ for details. You *CAN NOT* write a Free MPEG encoder, be it MPEG1 (VCD) MPEG2 (DVD) or MPEG4 (ASF) ... You MUST pay the inventors of the codec, at least until their 16 year patents expire.

The Ogg project ( http://www.xiph.org/ ) is the proper place for anyone with skill in programming to donate their assistance. Their audio encoder to replace MP3 called Ogg Vorbis is nearly done (the candidates sound good to me!) and they have an EXTREMELY good head on their shoulders regarding patents, and proper Freedom for software. Help Ogg with their video stuff. Not Divx.

Amen (none / 0) (#23)
by regeya on Wed Jan 24, 2001 at 05:55:03 PM EST

I'm sure the Xiphorous crew would love help with their upcoming Tarkin project. I'd help, but I failed Calc 1 and switched majors as a result ;-)

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

what to do? (none / 0) (#26)
by fluxrad on Mon Jan 29, 2001 at 10:06:42 PM EST

slip some GPL'ed code by them...

"oh, jeepers! you are now legally bound to give that source away if you use the GPL'ed code! too bad! i was really rootin' for a proprietary codec too."

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
Project Mayo (DivxDeux) a scam ? | 26 comments (11 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
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