Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Mar 2012 19:37 UTC
Internet & Networking Ever since it became clear that Google was not going to push WebM as hard as they should have, the day would come that Mozilla would be forced to abandon its ideals because the large technology companies don't care about an open, unencumbered web. No decision has been made just yet, but Mozilla is taking its first strides to adding support for the native H.264 codecs installed on users' mobile systems. See it as a thank you to Mozilla for all they've done for the web.
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Whatevs.
by Adam S on Wed 14th Mar 2012 20:13 UTC
Adam S
Member since:
2005-04-01

There's no such things as patent-proof video or audio codecs.

Don't believe for a second that if OGG were magically adopted everywhere that suddenly it wouldn't have patent claims against it, because it would.

With Apple and Google behind x264, it's not going to be little guys suffering. With OGG, we'll trade all of our current universality for a subpar codec that will eventually be patent-tested anyway.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Whatevs.
by ephracis on Wed 14th Mar 2012 20:28 in reply to "Whatevs."
ephracis Member since:
2007-09-23

With Apple and Google behind x264, it's not going to be little guys suffering.

Yes it will be.

I can't make a browser without paying a license or use the OS supplied codecs.
I can't make an OS.

Did you know that the world's largest server OS today started out as a hobby project? Without funding. Couldn't happen if all browsers need to get licensed codecs from the OS.

I'm a small indie developer without any cash in the bank. I can't continue my work if I will be required to start produce shitloads of money just to get the right to give you my free, open source, in-the-free-time-made software.

</rant>

Reply Parent Score: 15

RE[2]: Whatevs.
by BluenoseJake on Wed 14th Mar 2012 22:27 in reply to "RE: Whatevs."
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

If apple and MS distribute the codecs with their respective OSes, then they have paid the licensing fees, therefore the little guy is protected, just like with DVD codecs.

This has the nasty side effect of leaving alternative OSes out in the cold, but that is less than 5%, so even in that case, most of the little guys are protected.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Whatevs.
by Neolander on Thu 15th Mar 2012 07:32 in reply to "RE: Whatevs."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Must... resist... urge to abuse admin powers and click +1 buttons several times... UGH !

That's some serious burst of comment inspiration you have today, sir ;)

Edited 2012-03-15 07:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Whatevs.
by tomcat on Thu 15th Mar 2012 22:44 in reply to "RE: Whatevs."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

can't make a browser without paying a license or use the OS supplied codecs.
I can't make an OS.


BS. Little guys don't [credibly] make browsers or OSes nowadays. They may want to -- but they're not successful without serious funding.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Whatevs.
by d3vi1 on Wed 14th Mar 2012 20:33 in reply to "Whatevs."
d3vi1 Member since:
2006-01-28

There's no such things as patent-proof video or audio codecs.

Don't believe for a second that if OGG were magically adopted everywhere that suddenly it wouldn't have patent claims against it, because it would.


Furthermore, most content out there is h.264 already. Digital TV broadcasts in my country are H.264. Digital downloads are H.264.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Whatevs.
by 1c3d0g on Wed 14th Mar 2012 20:57 in reply to "RE: Whatevs."
1c3d0g Member since:
2005-07-06

This is true. Also, you have to look on the hardware side of things. Yes, software plays a vital role, but it can only work if the hardware is there. Unfortunately for us (and fortunately for the MPEG-LA cartel), many companies incorporated h.264 hardware accelerators into their set-top boxes, Blu ray players etc. They also made their machines compatible with h.264, but excluded the other codecs, especially the open source ones.

Right there it's as if we're fighting with one arm only. We're severely handicapped already. Add to the fact that most companies want the h.264 codec to prevail above all others (for their own selfish reasons), and it's a lost war. It's unfortunate that things had to turn out this way. I was looking forward for at least WebM videos, but it seems companies are too ingrained in this industry to change for the better.

Edited 2012-03-14 20:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Whatevs.
by shmerl on Wed 14th Mar 2012 21:08 in reply to "RE: Whatevs."
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

The situation was like that already for long time. So if you are saying that Mozilla's change in principal position is either caused by desperation about slow WebM adoption or by need to get hardware performance on mobile devices without hardware WebM decoding, then both arguments are not convincing to differ it from the situation on the desktop really. WebM was nowhere when it started, still Mozilla was strongly against promoting H.264. The most decisive factor here really is Google's desertion. Since Google was supposed to be a good ally, Mozilla was not alone. Now they stand alone against the dark empire of "non free". Will they able to pull it through?

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Whatevs.
by lemur2 on Wed 14th Mar 2012 21:48 in reply to "RE: Whatevs."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"There's no such things as patent-proof video or audio codecs.

Don't believe for a second that if OGG were magically adopted everywhere that suddenly it wouldn't have patent claims against it, because it would.


Furthermore, most content out there is h.264 already. Digital TV broadcasts in my country are H.264. Digital downloads are H.264.
"

Actually, if you join the HTML5 trial at YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/html5

then virtually all of the YouTube video content will be delivered to your browser as HTML5/WebM.

If you then go to a an independent page with embedded videos:

http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/

you can then see most of the videos linked on such a page without having a Flash player or a h.264 decoder installed on your system.

Not all of them, sure, but most of them.

BTW, the fact that digital TV broadcast is encoded with h.264 has very little to do with web content and web browsers.

Edited 2012-03-14 21:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: Whatevs.
by Kroc on Wed 14th Mar 2012 21:09 in reply to "Whatevs."
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Google owns On2 technologies that predate H.264.
There are more browsers out there that support OGG or WebM than those that support H.264. Where are the lawsuits?

This isn't about silly web browsers and patent lawsuits. This is not about one company suing another company over interests, you have to understand that this is about all companies in equal agreement: This is about lucrative licenced content streams. This is about value-adding fees on top of the content itself. It's about an end-to-end chain that cannot be escaped or avoided where everybody involved profits.

There won't be any H264 / WebM lawsuit battles, because that would expose the whole racket that's working well so far (TV / cable streams) and is about to blossom into a market 100x as big.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Whatevs.
by r_a_trip on Thu 15th Mar 2012 14:23 in reply to "RE: Whatevs."
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

This is about value-adding fees on top of the content itself.

In another time and place, this would be called "taxing" and "fleecing". But adding additional, unnecessary costs to an item these days is called "value add".

I'm starting to get on the "old" side of the population...

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Whatevs.
by Lennie on Fri 16th Mar 2012 11:01 in reply to "RE: Whatevs."
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Actually, as Google now owns Motorola Mobility and part of the patens of H.264 because of it.

They should start to demand more and more license fees from everyone.

If they make H.264 more and more expensive and in the mean time more and more hardware and software support WebM.

Then maybe people will be convinced ? ;-)

Probably not though, as WebM is also controlled by Google. They wouldn't trust them anymore.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Whatevs.
by jackastor on Wed 14th Mar 2012 21:43 in reply to "Whatevs."
jackastor Member since:
2009-05-05

Is the abstract of compressed streaming data in itself an owned patent?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Whatevs.
by galvanash on Wed 14th Mar 2012 22:26 in reply to "Whatevs."
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

There's no such things as patent-proof video or audio codecs.


I've grown so tired of this debate... The ENTIRE point of Google buying On2 and releasing webm in the manner they did was to create (by fiat) a patent-proof video and audo codec.

The plan is/was:

1. Google releases webm in the most nonrestrictive manner possible. Does it infringe on existing patents? Hopefully not, but it really does not matter in the long run... see 2.

2. Convince a large enough group of other technology companies to support it openly. Those companies that feel the yoke of the current licensing regime being the most likely to jump on board.

We are still stalled at 2, but it isn't over yet...

If you get enough technology companies to jump on board patents DO NOT MATTER. Why? Because those companies all individually hold patents too, and if you get a big enough pool then anyone attacking it in court is risking their own livelihood to do so... It is simply playing the MPEG-LA game in reverse. Is it dirty and underhanded? Sure it is - but that is simply how the game is played...

The only way to create a patent proof video codec is to scare the current licensing regime into leaving you alone... Maybe webm is actually non-infringing - but that doesn't make anyone feel safe and it is no guarantee. But a large, powerful group of companies backing it? Support for it would snowball quite rapidly, because that would act as a litigation deterrent (plus it is free).

So now I hear "But it might infringe on patents! It's therefore not patent proof"...

I'm sorry, but patent proof doesn't mean what you think it means. What it actually means is that enough companies (with their own patent portfolios) support it so that it is impossible to attack in court with anything short of a darkhorse patent (a patent held by a small player with little or nothing to lose that no one already knows about).

The question then is actually "Are there any darkhorse patents?" Maybe, but highly unlikely.

The ones held in the MPEG-LA patent pool? Everyone knows about those. They have known about them since day one. They simply do not matter (assuming the tipping point is reached in support) because they either:

1. Don't matter because webm doesn't infringe.
2. Will just get settled anyway because no one will be willing to go nuclear at that point.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[2]: Whatevs.
by lemur2 on Wed 14th Mar 2012 22:32 in reply to "RE: Whatevs."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"There's no such things as patent-proof video or audio codecs.


I've grown so tired of this debate... The ENTIRE point of Google buying On2 and releasing webm in the manner they did was to create (by fiat) a patent-proof video and audo codec.

The plan is/was:

1. Google releases webm in the most nonrestrictive manner possible. Does it infringe on existing patents? Hopefully not, but it really does not matter in the long run... see 2.

2. Convince a large enough group of other technology companies to support it openly. Those companies that feel the yoke of the current licensing regime being the most likely to jump on board.

We are still stalled at 2, but it isn't over yet...

If you get enough technology companies to jump on board patents DO NOT MATTER. Why? Because those companies all individually hold patents too, and if you get a big enough pool then anyone attacking it in court is risking their own livelihood to do so... It is simply playing the MPEG-LA game in reverse. Is it dirty and underhanded? Sure it is - but that is simply how the game is played...

The only way to create a patent proof video codec is to scare the current licensing regime into leaving you alone... Maybe webm is actually non-infringing - but that doesn't make anyone feel safe and it is no guarantee. But a large, powerful group of companies backing it? Support for it would snowball quite rapidly, because that would act as a litigation deterrent (plus it is free).

So now I hear "But it might infringe on patents! It's therefore not patent proof"...

I'm sorry, but patent proof doesn't mean what you think it means. What it actually means is that enough companies (with their own patent portfolios) support it so that it is impossible to attack in court with anything short of a darkhorse patent (a patent held by a small player with little or nothing to lose that no one already knows about).

The question then is actually "Are there any darkhorse patents?" Maybe, but highly unlikely.

The ones held in the MPEG-LA patent pool? Everyone knows about those. They have known about them since day one. They simply do not matter (assuming the tipping point is reached in support) because they either:

1. Don't matter because webm doesn't infringe.
2. Will just get settled anyway because no one will be willing to go nuclear at that point.
"

Precisely.

Here is the WebM patent consortium, BTW:

http://www.webm-ccl.org/
http://www.webm-ccl.org/faq/

http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2011/04/google-builds-webm-patent-p...

Here is the member list:

http://www.webm-ccl.org/members/

When Google completes its purchase of Motorola Mobility, then that name also will be added to that list.

Motorola Mobility happens to own quite a number of the patents surrounding h.264, I believe.

There is also the very large group of companies in the OIN, whose patent pool covers the "Linux System:. Recently the definition of what is meant, exactly, by the term "Linux System" has been greatly expanded.

http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/pat_linuxdef.php

It turns out that, except for Sony and Philips, this expanded definition does include codecs.

So the OIN patent cross-licensing pool now includes patents about codes from all of the following companies except Sony and Philips:

http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/licensees.php

Edited 2012-03-14 22:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Whatevs.
by _xmv on Thu 15th Mar 2012 20:45 in reply to "RE: Whatevs."
_xmv Member since:
2008-12-09

Google did the Webm thing in order to be included in some way in the H264 cartel. That is, they now have to either:

- lose to Google, eventually

- include Google in their talks and give them advantages, licenses, etc.

If Google does not remove H264, and stop pushing Webm, guess which it is. Yep, guess.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Whatevs.
by Lennie on Thu 15th Mar 2012 15:41 in reply to "Whatevs."
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I wouldn't worry about OGG:

https://air.mozilla.org/open-video-codec-discussion-at-mozilla/

WebM is a different story.

Reply Parent Score: 2