Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 30th Apr 2010 21:40 UTC, submitted by Helge
Legal Well, this certainly explains a whole lot. Both Apple and Microsoft have stated that the legality of Theora is highly debatable, and as it turns out, they knew more than we do - most likely courtesy of their close involvement with the MPEG-LA. Responding to an email from Free Software Foundation Europe activist Hugo Roy, Steve Jobs has stated that a patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora. Update: Monty Montgomery of Xiph (Ogg and Theora's parent organisation) has responded on Slashdot: "If Jobs's email is genuine, this is a powerful public gaffe ('All video codecs are covered by patents'). He'd be confirming MPEG's assertion in plain language anyone can understand. It would only strengthen the pushback against software patents and add to Apple's increasing PR mess. Macbooks and iPads may be pretty sweet, but creative individuals don't really like to give their business to jackbooted thugs."
Permalink for comment 421985
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[4]: H264 is the future
by Luis on Sat 1st May 2010 12:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: H264 is the future"
Luis
Member since:
2006-04-28

The problem is that I don't think that what really matters are the original algorithms. It's all about the optimizations. The big difference between the original VP3 and Theora is in the optimizations used, and in those I'm afraid that they've always been behind h.264, working around its patents. I even doubt that VP8 is doing something very different from what h.264 does in the area of optimizations, so Google must be scrutinizing the code and the patents to make sure they don't step on them before they can open source it.

All these codecs are using similar methods. Nobody knows what would a court say about it. Is similar similar enough to make it a effectual infringement? Or should the patent only cover the very specific way of implementing an optimization and leave any other similar method (AKA workaround) uncovered by the patent?

But as the first poster in the thread suggested, if anyone dares to open that box gracefully handed by Pandora, they might find themselves in a very big trouble too. I also agree with some other poster that this war, if started, could show what a big mess software patents are and it would probably mean the end of them, for good. So I think that either way (whether they decide to go after Theora or not), MPEG-LA is doomed to lose here (EXCEPT if they succeed in their tactic of scaring people with FUD and never starting an open war. That's their only chance and they'll hold to it as long as they can).

Reply Parent Score: 4