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HTML5 video element codec debate reignited

HTML5 video element codec debate reignited

Posted Feb 4, 2010 9:09 UTC (Thu) by niner (subscriber, #26151)
Parent article: HTML5 video element codec debate reignited

What the article is missing in my eyes, is that H.264 is actually an open
and standardized format. It is certainly no less so than for example
Theora. The whole discussion about H.264 vs. Theora and the MPEG LA really
only concerns a small part of the world. The big rest of the world has no
reason whatsoever not to use the ISO/IEC standard that's also technically
better than Theora.

So is it really the way to go to drag the whole world down to an inferior
technical level instead of fixing the real problem in the few countries
where it actually exists?


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HTML5 video element codec debate reignited

Posted Feb 4, 2010 10:11 UTC (Thu) by Jonno (subscriber, #49613) [Link]

The problem is that those "few countries" are 149 out of the 203 sovereign
states in the world, at least in theory. In many of them, including my
home country Sweden and most of the rest of the EU, software patents are
valid and are regularly granted, but you can't enforce them in court,
making them mostly useless. However, there are talks of making them
enforceable in all of EU in the near future, and while such plans has been
beaten back before, there are no guarantees that will happen this time, or
the next time, making betting on the status quo quite risky...

HTML5 video element codec debate reignited

Posted Feb 4, 2010 11:03 UTC (Thu) by niner (subscriber, #26151) [Link]

Where did you get that 149 countries figure from? That would include the
EU, which is still wrong. Yes, software patents are granted in the EU, but
that does not mean that this is legal, valid or enforceable. It is not.

And yes I'm willing to bet my money and my existence on this, because
otherwise, as the FFII web shop example so eloquently demonstrates, I
would be violating valid patents every day while acting in my profession
as a programmer.

Just because the EPO and certain lobbying groups want it so, does not make
it real. They just very much like to paint a picture where it is so. But
the European parliament already beat back software patents once, and it's
even stronger now. And even in the U.S. software patents have been
generally accepted only for about twenty years. This is not set in stone.
Such things can and do change. Again lobbying groups only want us to
believe that things will always stay the same. And any acting like it were
so and nothing could be done about it simply helps them.

And that's why I'm strongly opposed to give in and act like software
patents were an indisputable reality in the whole world. This has to be
fought hard and the more people are behind this movement the better. We
have seen this in Europe where a mass of small companies raising their
voices made the difference. Now if we divide the world in two where people
in software patent accepting countries get the worse technology while the
rest can enjoy progress, this can only help to bring them on our side.

This does not work by declaring the cause lost.

HTML5 video element codec debate reignited

Posted Feb 4, 2010 12:37 UTC (Thu) by gmaxwell (guest, #30048) [Link]

Yes, the EU. A typical codec patent doesn't look like a typical "software patent", they speak of machines performing concrete transformations to signals. ::shrugs:: I'm not sure how the "software patent" boundary looks in Europe, but codec patents are surely created there, granted there, and enforced there.

Even if it were somehow a US only thing it's hard to do business on any scale without bumping into the US or at least someone who wants to appease US interests. It truly is a world-wide issue.

HTML5 video element codec debate reignited

Posted Feb 4, 2010 10:17 UTC (Thu) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

"Standardized", yes. "Open" is poorly defined. "Free as in freedom", definitely not.

Apart from the obvious issues with free software, there are all kinds of interesting restrictions even on licensed H.264-related software:
http://bemasc.net/wordpress/2010/02/02/no-you-cant-do-tha...

> The whole discussion about H.264 vs. Theora and the MPEG LA really
> only concerns a small part of the world.

Yeah, just the USA, Europe, and parts of Asia.
http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/bz/archives/020400.html

> So is it really the way to go to drag the whole world down to an inferior
> technical level instead of fixing the real problem in the few countries
> where it actually exists?

I'm not sure what you mean by "fix the real problem". Get all software and method patents invalidated? Somehow persuade the MPEG-LA to license the H.264 patents royalty-free (giving up billions of dollars of potential revenue)? Those sound hard.

HTML5 video element codec debate reignited

Posted Feb 5, 2010 10:58 UTC (Fri) by DonDiego (guest, #24141) [Link]

> > The whole discussion about H.264 vs. Theora and the MPEG LA really
> > only concerns a small part of the world.

> Yeah, just the USA, Europe, and parts of Asia.
> http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/bz/archives/020400.html

A lot of things are patented in all kinds of countries. The question is whether or not these patents can actually be enforced. I'm looking forward to you posting proof of enforcement outside of the USA.

HTML5 video element codec debate reignited

Posted Feb 13, 2010 1:29 UTC (Sat) by robert_s (subscriber, #42402) [Link]

"A lot of things are patented in all kinds of countries. The question is whether or not these patents can actually be enforced."

When a legal situation becomes this close, it actually boils down to this: if the MPEG-LA decide to drag this backwards and forwards through court, who do you think will run out of money first, MPEG-LA and its industry backers or you / mozilla.org / EFF / etc.?

It won't be the MPEG-LA.

HTML5 video element codec debate reignited

Posted Feb 13, 2010 12:29 UTC (Sat) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

It's a very sad commentary on the US legal system that it's turned into a
game of 'who will run out of money first' so damn often. Nobody even
*mentions* justice anymore.

HTML5 video element codec debate reignited

Posted Feb 10, 2010 14:16 UTC (Wed) by marcH (subscriber, #57642) [Link]

> I'm not sure what you mean by "fix the real problem".

Fix the software patents problem in Europe and use H.264 here. Then not care care about the US and let it deal with its own mess. Not easy but doable.


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