Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 31st Jan 2010 14:20 UTC, submitted by lemur2
Internet & Networking Despite the recent interest in adopting HTML5's video tag, there is still one major problem: there is no mandated standard video codec for the video tag. The two main contestants are the proprietary and patended h264, and the open and free Theora. In a comment on an article about this problematic situation, LWN reader Trelane posted an email exchange he had with MPEG-LA, which should further cement Theora as the obvious choice.
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RE[7]: costs
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Feb 2010 10:52 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: costs"
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If there were older valid patents, prior to circa 1997, belonging to someone else other than On2, which both On2 and the USPTO missed entirely, and which are still valid to this very day, covering some aspect of video compression technology as used in VP3, for which in all this time the owner has never made any demands at all, I would be utterly astounded.

No. When On2 patents part X of VP3, USPTO checks whether there is anything prior related to that patent. If there is another part of VP3, lets call this Y, which On2 has no intentions to patent, then USPTO doesn't even look at that.

The fact that On2 has some patents does prove that those parts of the codec shouldn't be covered by any other patents. But this doesn't tell us anything about the rest of the codec.

To reiterate, USPTO has only checked those parts of the codec that On2 has patented, not the other parts. On the other hand, On2 couldn't possibly have patented the complete codec because even video codecs circa 2000 are very advanced and based on decades' worth of research and prior art. In the technical sense, VP3 isn't very different from recent MPEG codecs.

I must admit that it is unlikely that VP3 has any unknown patents or at least that it isn't any more likely than some other video codec. But yet the patent concern was great enough to make Apple and Nokia vote it out of the HTML5 spec.

You have swallowed the FUD.

There are no parts of VP3 that are patented by someone other than On2. If there were, then On2 would have had to be paying a license to that other party when On2 were flogging VP3 (circa 2000). They weren't paying any such a license fee to anyone (this is the whole reason why they were able to give VP3 to open source). After 2001, On2 went on to VP4 ... so anyone with a claim to parts of VP3 would have lost their chance to squeeze On2 way back then.

What made Apple vote Theora out of the HTML5 spec was the simple fact that Apple are a member of MPEG LA. This move then, and the subsequent (and still ongoing) FUD against Theora was born of a phenomena known as "self-interest".

I have got no idea what Nokia were thinking.

Edited 2010-02-02 10:54 UTC

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