That message from LWN (Linux Weekly News) said it all. Here is that part: Our MPEG-4 Visual Patent Portfolio License includes 29 patent owners contributing more than 900 patents that are essential for use of the MPEG-4 Visual (Part 2) Standard. Our AVC Patent Portfolio License includes 25 patent owners contributing more than 1,000 patents that are essential for use of AVC/H.264 Standard ("MPEG-4 Part 10"). Under the Licenses, coverage is provided and rights are granted for (a) manufacturers to make and sell MPEG-4 Visual/AVC Products and (b) for such MPEG-4 Visual/AVC Products to be used to deliver MPEG-4 Visual/AVC Video content. The Licenses were set up this way so as to apportion the royalty at points in the product/service chain where value is received, and also to not place the full royalty burden on one party in the chain (e.g., an encoder maker). No wonder software patents are such a mess.