> I don't see anything in there which says we wouldn't require one. Can
> you quote specific text that implies certain distributors of codecs
> don't require a license?
There is nothing in there which says you require one.
Scenarios for which you require a license are listed and they do not apply to you, isn't that enough?
> > Then you have to stop US downloads for Firefox or offer a crippled
> > version instead. Their loss.
> We'd be out millions of dollars and back where we started ... actually,
> even worse, since we would have to return to our free-codec efforts
> having lost time and credibility.
There are two points I think you are not assessing correctly:
1) H.264 video + AAC audio + MP4 container as industry standard
Multimedia used to be completely fragmented with a multitude of competing and incompatible standards fighting for market share. Now we have a standard for lossy video and audio and it is being adopted across the board. It is not just used for web video, it is used on Bluray disks, it is used in cinemas and in Hollywood production, it is used by the ripping scene, it is used by video sharing sitesa already.
All these places now have the encoding infrastructure in place and no interest in changing or exchanging it.
2) viable alternatives
Let's face it, Vorbis is an excellent audio codec, but Theora is not a state of the art video codec and Ogg is a horrible container. Theora still has room for improvement of course, but it will never close the gap to more modern video codecs. Comparatively little effort is being spent on it and it must fight with one hand behind its back due to avoiding anything that might be patented. Even without such a handicap Theora will never be able to match the quality standards of more modern video codecs.
Keep in mind that web video is not YouTube and the unspeakable quality it offers nowadays. Think a few years into the future and web video will all be high-definition content.
> And remember, this entire discussion ignores the issues for content
> providers. Even if H.264 decoding was entirely unencumbered, having
> to pay MPEG-LA taxes to publish video on the Web is unacceptable.
This reminds me of something: Mozilla made a study about possible submarine patents on Theora. What did you find? Why was the study never published? If you found nothing, there surely wouldn't be a reason to keep mum about it, don't you agree?