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RE: Mandated Video Format

From: Robert Brodrecht <w3c@robertdot.org>
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2007 15:42:05 -0500 (CDT)
Message-ID: <52706.66.151.50.244.1175892125.squirrel@www.robertdot.org>
To: <public-html@w3.org>

Chris Wilson said:
> This isn't about Microsoft and Apple settling their differences.  It's
> about the risk of submarine patents.

Submarine patents have been argued about at great length.  All it has lead
me to believe is that X codec is not implementable because of the great
risk, where X is Theora or MPEG4 or whatever.  The only argument against
fear of submarine patents in MPEG4 is:

1. X can make money off of Y.
2. X is not making money off of Y.
3. Therefore, there is no Y.

In other words, "There is a pretty good amount of money to be had now from
MPEG patent suits, but no one is suing.  So, there must not be any
patents."  Ultimately, there is no assurance in any codec that there are
no submarine patents.  There might be less perceived risk with one codec
than another, but there is nothing is assured (it's all relative
perception).  Implementing MPEG4 could be just as dangerous as Theora. 
There is no solution to this argument other than "could", "might", and
"maybe."  We can argue it forever and we'll get nowhere.  I feel similarly
about the other points of contention.

What I was suggesting was not about settling differences.  It was about
picking some other baseline codec that has a reasonable chance at being
implemented by more than just one browser.  If Mac OS X and Windows both
play MPEG-1 natively, then obviously both companies are capable of using
that as a baseline where H.264 and WMV share no common support (at least
according to what I think were your sentiments in an earlier post
concerning H.264, though I know Microsoft suggests a 3rd Party plugin to
QuickTime to play Windows Media content on Macs).  I don't want Apple and
Microsoft to hold hands and ride the see-saw together.  I just want them
to agree on a mutual common baseline codec that they both already support.
 One that can be watched natively in both OS X and Windows.  After the
baseline is established, they can support any and all codecs they want. 
First, though, we need one de facto baseline codec or <video> will not be
useful.  It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be common.

I think these discussions are a waste of time and should be handled
outside the HTML WG.  It'd be great to see the vendors take the initiative
to decide this amongst themselves in an incubator group, as Dan suggested.
 So, I want to put my support behind the suggestion as well.  Implementors
of the <video> element ought to be involved in this group, should it form.

-- 
Robert <http://robertdot.org>
Received on Friday, 6 April 2007 20:25:31 GMT

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