Google Closes the Curtains on Codec in Copyright Conflict

Google, masters of the internet and the main sponsor of the CoreAVC-for-Linux project, have removed the media codec from their Google Code site after a DMCA complaint from the creators of the original codec.

The CoreAVC codec enables systems to play files encoded with H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding, and is regarded as one of the fastest on the market. CoreCodec, the company responsible for developing the original CoreAVC, sells the Windows-only codec for $7.95 - $14.95, but do not provide a Linux-compatible option. Google has sponsored the CoreAVC-for-Linux project to bridge the gap and make CoreAVC compatible with Linux — or, perhaps more accurately, Linux compatible with CoreAVC. The Open Source project does not re- or reverse-engineer CoreAVC, but provides a compatibility layer that allows Linux programs to run a legally-purchased Windows CoreAVC codec. The process could be roughly compared to compatibility layers like Wine.

As the CoreAVC-for-Linux plugin does not include any CoreAVC code, and only enables users to use a legally-purchased copy of CoreAVC, CoreCodec resorted to accusations the project's developers reverse-engineered its software without permission for the basis of its DMCA complaint. Google removed the project — which it is obligated to do upon receipt of a DMCA complaint — pending further investigation and discussion with the copyright holder. According to a post in CoreCodec's online forums from the founder of CoreCodec, the company has now been advised by its attorneys — presumably the same ones who cooked up the DMCA plan in the first place — that with the business of sending complaints out of the way, they had the time to do their research, and discovered that the DMCA actually permits reverse-engineering, so their complaint was completely baseless.

A similar post from the author of CoreAVC-for-Linux [unconfirmed] says that everything has been resolved, and the project will once again be online in short order. Unfortunately, we have a feeling that even if things are fine-and-dandy between CoreCodec and the project's author, they won't be quite as sunny with the larger, and somewhat DMCA-sensitive, Linux community.

Update: CoreAVC-for-Linux is now officially back online.

Load Disqus comments