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[5]: costs
by lemur2 on Tue 2nd Feb 2010 11:06 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: costs"
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However, a few years before 2001, the methods of compression of digital video were all new. If there are earlier patents that made the same claims as to the method of compression as were made with On2's patent application for VP3, then the USPTO would not have granted the patent to On2.

I strongly disagree. All modern video codecs trace their technology back to the eighties. The fact that people didn't download Divx movies before circa 2001 doesn't mean that the technology wasn't there.

The first somewhat popular video coding standard is H.261 from year 1990. It feature among others:

* blocks
* quantized transform
* zig-zag scanning
* motion vectors
* entropy coding

All of these are included in Theora. I just checked from the Theora spec.

Nothing prevents other companies holding some obscure implementation patents on these technologies and even if On2 had done their best to check that they don't violate anybody's patents, that does not guarantee that there are no patents.

You seem to constantly imply that there exists an On2 patent which covers the VP3 as a whole. That doesn't hold. On2 has just guaranteed that if they have some patents related to VP3, then they won't use those against Theora.

AFAIK there are a group of patents held by On2 that cover VP3. These were all licensed to open source in late 2001.
In late 2001, On2 released their VP3 compression technology into the open-source community including their patents on the technology. The technology lives on in the form of Theora.

The technology that became VP3 was developed some time prior to 1995.

AFAIK, at no time in On2's history have they paid anyone else for patented technology in VP3 belonging to someone else. Neither has any patent claim ever been raised by anyone against Theora.

It is exceedingly unlikely that there is a "submarine patent" out there, older than VP3, which can bring down Theora now.

Outlandishly unlikely. Astronomically unlikely.

If someone could have brought down Theora, they certainly would have tried it on by now, just as they tried (unsuccessfully) with Vorbis.
The debate about whether or not Fraunhofer was within their rights or not is beside the point; this is an illustration of the amount of control commercial entities will attempt to exert over commodity standards

This is the whole reason why Apple et al are so much against Theora in the first place.

Edited 2010-02-02 11:16 UTC

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