Huh? What are you talking about?
Posted Jul 8, 2009 11:39 UTC (Wed) by pboddie
In reply to: Huh? What are you talking about?
Parent article: Ogg codecs dropped from HTML5
I too am struggling to see what is being discussed now:
I don't see what makes video codecs so much different/more special than other areas of software development.
There are no differences if we are talking about "just a codec" (things like Theora, Vorbis or Dirac). There are big differences if we are talking about "media format" (be it VHS, CD, DVD or MPEG4).
The fact that as result of this collision we've got all this patent mess is unfortunate, but it's quite obvious that we only get these standards (H.261, MPEG1 and all others) as early as we did is because software become patentable at this point.
Again: we are talking not about guys who develop DRM and sell movies, but about guys who develop codecs for these movies.
If I understand you correctly, you're saying that a significant incentive for people to develop codecs is the ability to patent them, although that incentive doesn't exist for other software. But then you suggest that a patent isn't really an incentive for developing a codec after all, but it's the ability to bundle the patent in a standard which is the incentive, and by insisting on everyone using that standard, a nice little tax is imposed on a whole domain.
Again, there's an assumption that one thing follows from another: in this case, that patents lead to standards. Yet we know that standards quite happily emerge without people asserting patents on those standards: various Web standards have convincingly demolished the top-down, patent-heavy, pay-per-copy standardisation model. If anything, patents merely lead to standards cartels and that pernicious little tax I mentioned above that becomes impossible to avoid.
Meanwhile, I think it's disingenuous to claim that the people who want DRM are distinct from those making the standards. An insistence on the most egregious DRM mechanisms is a well-known excuse used to discourage people from using open formats on an open Web, all under the banner of standardisation.
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