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.

Permalink for comment 422378
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Member since:

What difference does it make? They made an agreement to buy last year which means they had their hands on the technology.

No, they did not. Ownership of the technology transfers with ownership of the company (or the On2 shareholdings if you will), which ocurred on Feb 22nd 2010. Until that time, On2 and Google were separate companies with separate ownership.

They could have asked W3C for more time instead of pushing H.264.

They didn't push H.264. This is just your fantasy. All that they said, in June 2009, was that they did not believe Theora had sufficient quality-per-bit for the purposes of YouTube. At the time, this was true.
Google has implemented H.264 and Ogg Theora in Chrome, but cannot provide the H.264 codec license to third-party distributors of Chromium, and have indicated a belief that Ogg Theora's quality-per-bit is not yet suitable for the volume handled by YouTube.

They even said "not YET suitable". In June 2009, Theora wasn't then suitable for YouTube, it was true.

They could have proposed a compromise.

They did exactly that. See above: "Google has implemented H.264 and Ogg Theora in Chrome".

But instead they pushed H.264 to be defined as the default codec. Why were they so adamant about getting it into the W3C? Why not just use H.264 on the side and let W3C use a codec like Theora?

I think you must have very serious comprehension issues. It was Apple who insisted on H.264, not Google.

Apple refuses to implement Ogg Theora in Quicktime by default (as used by Safari), citing lack of hardware support and an uncertain patent landscape.

Of course, Apple were (and still are) lying. It is certain that there are NO patent claims on Theora at this time, and it is also certain that there are royalties on H.264, making H.264 unsuitable (according to W3C policy) for use in W3C's HTML5 standard.

Furthermore, where Apple actually had the audacity to claim "lack of hardware support", Google had already sponsored this project in the Google Summer of Code in '08
(general purpose hardware accelerated video decoding to GPUs using the Gallium3D driver framework)

and Google also funded this project:
(Theora for ARM SoCs)

and of course there is this project (Google SoC '05, '06 and '07):

... any of which Apple could have included in its iDevices.

PS BTW: I told you, "After all, Google purchased On2 two months ago, and they have been funding various Theora projects". Didn't you believe me or something? Or is it just your severe lack of comprehension at work again?

Edited 2010-05-03 10:03 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2