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But they try and make it easy to comply with terms like
"100,000 or fewer subscribers during the year = no royalty;"
(with equivalent terms for players).
Then just get money out of the big players and hope not to let anyone else get momentum to be a viable alternative... This seems to be the strategy to me.
The exact terms for 2011 onwards are not yet available (will be discussed this December?)...
I would hope that motivation for open alternatives is already there, but the existing solutions are in a very strong position and not yet being too provocative.
The LGPL and video codecs
Posted Jun 11, 2009 15:50 UTC (Thu) by gmaxwell (subscriber, #30048)
Here is how it really works:
If you're too small to be a good source of income, but your usage can help cement adoption through network effect
You can use it at no cost.
If you're big enough that you could easily cause adoption of an alternative all on your own, you benefit from an annual cap that lessens the pain and gives you a competitive advantage over medium sized players (who pay a higher effective per-download fee than you do, so they can't be as competitive)
For everyone else: The pricing depends on the viability of alternatives. MP3 pricing went to a small fraction of their prior rates right after Vorbis hit 1.0.
Since viability depends on adoption and adoption decisions happen individually it's possible to charge much higher than the frictionless free market fair-price. The cost of getting a new format adopted is low from an overall perspective, but if you believe that you have to carry most of the burden yourself it can be rather high unless you are a very large org.
This market inefficiency goes away if people collaborate and share the cost of driving the adoption of an alternative. H.264 patent holders (Nokia and Apple) were able to obstruct one obvious attempt at cooperation, the HTML5 baseline recommendation, but they can't block them all. There are also a few large players, like Wikimedia and Mozilla, which are somewhat immune to the cap incentive because they don't compete like normal commercial players do.
(Correcting the article: As of right now Firefox has no support for plugins to add formats. Including such an option at this time would be damaging to their goal of getting a baseline format supported.)
There are some interesting consequences of all this: If you're not one of the few companies receiving royalties its in your interest to ensure that Ogg/Theora is widely and robustly supported even if you never intend on using it, because only if the alternatives are viable can they exert downward price pressure.
Posted Jun 11, 2009 18:17 UTC (Thu) by foom (subscriber, #14868)
(Correcting the article: As of right now Firefox has no support for plugins to add
formats. Including such an option at this time would be damaging to their goal of getting a baseline
Posted Jun 19, 2009 8:30 UTC (Fri) by jwalden (guest, #41159)
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