Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Oct 2013 23:33 UTC, submitted by drcoldfoot
Multimedia, AV

Remember the whole H.264 thing? Cisco just solved it for us - more or less.

The industry has been divided on the choice of a common video codec for some time, namely because the industry standard - H.264 - requires royalty payments to MPEG LA. Today, I am pleased to announce Cisco is making a bold move to take concerns about these payments off the table.

We plan to open-source our H.264 codec, and to provide it as a binary module that can be downloaded for free from the Internet. Cisco will not pass on our MPEG LA licensing costs for this module, and based on the current licensing environment, this will effectively make H.264 free for use in WebRTC.

Cisco will release the code of its H.264 codec under the BSD license, and will also make binaries available for just about every possible platform. Cisco will pay all the licensing costs - over the coming decade, this will cost them a whopping $65 million, illustrating just how expensive H.264 is, and how unrealistic it was to expect it to become a standard without a free implementation being available for everyone to use. It has to be noted that both end users and developers can make use of this.

Mozilla has already announced it will implement this codec into Firefox. All this is great, but it doesn't really address the issue in the long term - the next generation of codecs is coming, and once they arrive, this whole process starts all over again. Will another sugar daddy step up by that time?

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"You are not allowed to use the source in any other way. Every user still has to install the blob."

Cisco's blog has a bit of a Q/A going on where they answer some of these concerns. Going by what Nadee Gunasena has said on behalf of Cisco, your statements are incorrect.
"The source code will be open source and distributed with a BSD lIcense."

So this would mean your right to use/modify/distribute this source code would be the same as for any other BSD licensed source code. Keep in mind that it's NOT the license that's restricting usage here, it's the patent system. All open (and closed) source software runs the risk of infringing patents held by others, we must not confuse the difference between copyright and patents.

Edited 2013-10-31 18:28 UTC

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