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The Looming Video Codec Fight 235

Posted by Soulskill
from the battle-for-mpeg-la dept.
itwbennett writes "With both Apple and Microsoft promoting HTML5 standards, you'd think that there would be joy in software freedom land. But instead there's another fight brewing. 'While it is true that HTML5 video is a step in the right direction, we also have to take into consideration the underlying codecs used to deliver the video content,' says blogger Brian Proffitt. The problem, says Proffitt, is that Microsoft and Apple's browsers will be supporting only the proprietary H.264 video codec by default. But Google supports only the WebM (VP8) and Ogg Theora codecs. 'So, basically, if Ogg Theora content starts making a dent in Apple and Microsoft's bottom line, or that of the MPEG LA's, then expect to see a lawsuit or two headed Google's way after 2015,' concludes Proffitt."
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The Looming Video Codec Fight

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  • by hedwards (940851) on Friday September 23, 2011 @06:37PM (#37497224)

    Seriously, MPEG LA is going to create a new pool to try and kill WebM, I'm sure they're already working on it. The question is whether or not we're going to let a bunch of patent trolls control future development of the web. Standardizing around a standard that requires licensing fees is the wrong way to go.

  • Since when? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Friday September 23, 2011 @06:42PM (#37497262)

    But Google supports only the WebM (VP8) and Ogg Theora codecs.

    Wrong. It still plays HTML5 video that is H.264.

  • H.264 isn't closed (Score:3, Informative)

    by vijayiyer (728590) on Friday September 23, 2011 @06:48PM (#37497314)

    I don't know what it will take to get people straight on this. H.264 is open and is a standard, but patented. WebM isn't a standard, but isn't patented.

  • Re:Since when? (Score:5, Informative)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday September 23, 2011 @07:49PM (#37497990)

    But Google supports only the WebM (VP8) and Ogg Theora codecs.

    Wrong. It still plays HTML5 video that is H.264.

    Spot on - they only announced the intention to remove it; however H.264 HTML5 video still plays just fine in Chrome.

    Additionally, they're only removing it from the desktop Chrome browser - not Android. When asked about H.264 support in Android, they specifically drew a (rather artificial IMHO) distinction between the desktop and mobile platforms.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 23, 2011 @08:07PM (#37498172)

    I don't know what you're talking about. The VP8 bitstream is frozen. WebM and VP8 are well-documented formats. An alternative codec, libvpx, was written based on the spec alone and released over a year ago. It's actually better than Google's implementation. libvpx is a VP8 codec just as much as x264 (also by DarkShikari) is an H.264 codec.

  • by Meneth (872868) on Friday September 23, 2011 @08:15PM (#37498244)
    Tell that to x264 [videolan.org] and FFmpeg [ffmpeg.org].
  • by sg_oneill (159032) on Friday September 23, 2011 @09:22PM (#37498688)

    Have you any idea how these pirates work? MPEG-LA is not a charity, its a business with an extremely predatory model. Collect patents together and then try and collect rent from developers.

    If WebM needs protection, google will protect it. Nobody is asking MPEG-:LA to pool patents to sieze licencing rights to something they didnt invent (They didn't invent ANYTHING they licence out by the way, MPEG-LA is not MPEG. They just exploit the fact you cant trademark acronyms).

    Patent pools are incompatible with free/open source. If someone forces mozilla to licence a patent, guess what only mozilla can use that code and its not free software no more. If parents cover webkit, its not free software no more.

    We might well end up with a scenario that the only browsers distributable with linux are those without video.

    A world without firefox, VLC , and so on is a world without free access to user created content, and that ultimately is a spike in the heart of free speech.

  • by a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) on Friday September 23, 2011 @11:07PM (#37499146) Homepage Journal

    || Patent pools are incompatible with free/open source.

    |I'm sorry, thats flat out false is most ways.

    Actually its very true.

    You, mine friend, need to learn how patent pools work and how it stops anyone from freely distribute the code using GPL.

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/stallman-mec-india.html [gnu.org]

    Given that GPL is the most used license for open source software - patent pools are very bad.

  • by Teancum (67324) <{ten.orezten} {ta} {gninroh_trebor}> on Friday September 23, 2011 @11:12PM (#37499170) Homepage Journal

    Only if the patient are valid in your country, which i'm fairly sure is not here.
    Don't know about exporting the finished product back to US though but no ones going to extradite over that.

    Which implies that any engineering, design work, or for that matter manufacturing can't happen in America without paying off this protection racket. Yeah, that really helps promote a competitive "free market". And people wonder why manufacturing companies are leaving America?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 24, 2011 @12:09AM (#37499424)

    And I can smash newborns' heads with my bare fists just fine, that doesn't mean it's legal.

    You want to play video with patented encoding, you need to have licensed codec somewhere in the line from browser and plugins to OS shared codecs, and someone needs to pay for that license.

No hardware designer should be allowed to produce any piece of hardware until three software guys have signed off for it. -- Andy Tanenbaum

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