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Motion scalability is designed to improve the coding efficiency of a scalable video coding framework, especially in the medium to low range of decoding bit rates and spatial resolutions. In order to fully benefit from the superiority of motion scalability, a rate-distortion optimized bitstream extractor, which determines the optimal motion quality layer for any specific decoding scenario, is required. In this paper, the determination process first starts off with a brute force searching algorithm. Although guaranteed by the optimal performance within the search domain, it suffers from high computational complexities. Two properties, i.e., the monotonically nondecreasing property and the unimodal property, are then derived to accurately describe the rate-distortion behavior of motion scalability. Based on these two properties, modified searching algorithms are proposed to reduce the complexity (up to five times faster) and to achieve the global optimality, even for those decoding scenarios outside the search domain.