Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sat 1st May 2010 22:17 UTC
Legal We've all heard how the h.264 is rolled over on patents and royalties. Even with these facts, I kept supporting the best-performing "delivery" codec in the market, which is h.264. "Let the best win", I kept thinking. But it wasn't until very recently when I was made aware that the problem is way deeper. No, my friends. It's not just a matter of just "picking Theora" to export a video to Youtube and be clear of any litigation. MPEG-LA's trick runs way deeper! The [street-smart] people at MPEG-LA have made sure that from the moment we use a camera or camcorder to shoot an mpeg2 (e.g. HDV cams) or h.264 video (e.g. digicams, HD dSLRs, AVCHD cams), we owe them royalties, even if the final video distributed was not encoded using their codecs! Let me show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

UPDATE: Engadget just wrote a reply to this article. The article says that you don't need an extra license to shoot commercial video with h.264 cameras, but I wonder why the license says otherwise, and Engadget's "quotes" of user/filmmaker indemnification by MPEG-LA are anonymous...

UPDATE 2: Engadget's editor replied to me. So according to him, the quotes are not anonymous, but organization-wide on purpose. If that's the case, I guess this concludes that. And I can take them on their word from now on.

UPDATE 3: And regarding royalties (as opposed to just licensing), one more reply by Engadget's editor.

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However, Google has supported Theora as well. And, Google claims to be open sourcing VP8. YouTube was H.264 before all of this, so Google does have to invest a significant amount of money in moving YouTube to another codec, and they'd lose a large amount of mobile devices until that other codec has sufficiently penetrated.

Google is in a "wait and see what they do" state. They may choose to stick with H.264, in which case they deserve flak. They may also choose to use Theora (and, if there's a lawsuit against Theora, they now own the patents behind Theora, and H.264 likely infringes on those.) Or, they might just open VP8, and we can bypass all of this. (My guess is, Google's legal department is combing through VP8, to try to avoid patent troubles with it.)

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