W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > December 2007

Re: Video codec requirements changed

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 21:23:38 -0800
Cc: public-html@w3.org, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, dbaron@dbaron.org
Message-Id: <8937762E-0937-46EF-8476-E65108B4B4D0@apple.com>
To: Jim Jewett <jimjjewett@gmail.com>

On Dec 11, 2007, at 8:49 PM, Jim Jewett wrote:

> Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>> I think there are some objective criteria that can help
>> determine the scope of risk ...
>> 3) Is the codec old enough that any essential patents
>> must be expired?
> [The only video Yes answer was for H.261.  There were no audio Yes
> answers, but MP3 might be before the specification is final.]

The answers I posted are for sample purposes, I think the responsible  
thing would be to evaluate more codecs first.

However I don't think those are particularly bad choices. The main  
downside is that H.261 is not as good as more state-of-the-art codecs.  
I believe the same is true of Ogg Theora, however, though perhaps to a  
lesser extent.

MP3 is not as good as AAC or Vorbis but it's good enough, and remains  
the most popular audio format.

> So why not just use these two as the baseline, at least until the
> lawyers clear something newer?  That way there is at least a fallback
> which is interoperable.
> Are the codecs themselves so bulky that including an extra -- even one
> without patents -- is unacceptable?  Or is there a fear that this will
> become the normal case instead of the fallback, even if something
> better is available?

I don't know of any party specifically objecting to these two codecs  
as possibilities. Besides codecs we'd also need to suggest a baseline  
container format.

However, I think it would be best to give the W3C some time to  
evaluate the possibilities independently before putting something in  
the spec. For example, they have the ability to actually attempt  
something like a patent search, which is a problem for large  
corporations (having seen a patent can be the basis for a "willful  
infringement" claim in a patent lawsuit, which triples the damages).

Received on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 05:23:51 UTC

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