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Re: [whatwg] Video codec requirements changed

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:41:57 -0800
Cc: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, whatwg@whatwg.org, public-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <D21C09A4-5840-4FDC-A74B-79E4876836F1@apple.com>
To: L. David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>


On Dec 11, 2007, at 3:27 PM, L. David Baron wrote:

> On Tuesday 2007-12-11 02:39 +0000, Ian Hickson wrote:
>> I've temporarily removed the requirements on video codecs from the  
>> HTML5
>> spec, since the current text isn't helping us come to a useful
>> interoperable conclusion. When a codec is found that is mutually
>> acceptable to all major parties I will update the spec to require  
>> that
>> instead and then reply to all the pending feedback on video codecs.
>>
>>   http://www.whatwg.org/issues/#graphics-video-codec
>
> The text you replaced the requirements with [1] includes the
> requirement that the codec:
>
> # is not an additional submarine patent risk for large companies
>
> Is this something that can be measured objectively, or is it a
> loophole that allows any sufficiently large company to veto the
> choice of codec for any reason it chooses, potentially including not
> wanting the <video> element to succeed in creating an open standard
> for video on the Web?

I think there are some objective criteria that can help determine the  
scope of risk:

1) Is the codec already in use by deep-pockets vendors?
2) Was the codec developed through an open standards process with  
strong IP disclosure requirements?
3) Is the codec old enough that any essential patents must be expired?
4) Has an exhaustive patent search been done (this can't be done by  
most large companies since doing a patent search ironically increases  
your financial exposure to patent infringement claims)?
5) Is indemnification available?

Here are the answers I know of for some well-known video codecs:

H.264:
1) yes
2) yes
3) no
4) no (I think)
5) no

Theora:
1) no
2) no
3) no
4) no
5) no

H.261:
1) yes
2) yes
3) yes
4) no
5) no

Here are the answers for some popular audio codecs:

MP3:
1) yes
2) yes
3) no (but in a few years, 2 or 3 I think, it will be)
4) no
5) no

Vorbis:
1) maybe (I've heard game vendors cited, not sure which ones)
2) no
3) no
4) yes
5) no

AAC:
1) yes
2) yes
3) no
4) no
5) no

I'm not 100% sure on all of these answers, but I hope these are the  
kind of criteria applied, and not just purely subjective considerations.

Regards,
Maciej
Received on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 01:42:10 UTC

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