W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > January 2008

RE: [whatwg] Video codec requirements changed

From: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2008 16:48:38 -0800
To: Yann <yann.hamon@gmail.com>, "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <14636E983DBC96408C4D669AFA9B86C02FCEB40DA2@NA-EXMSG-W602.wingroup.windeploy.ntdev.microsoft.com>
I do apologize, multiple firedrills this week.
Yann [mailto:yann.hamon@gmail.com] wrote:

>Having at least one codec that MUST be supported by the browser is the only way to make it possible to publish video content available to all platforms.

If you presuppose that video content must be published in only one format, yes (i.e. no fallback, multiple-codec-serving, etc.).

>But, even if the browser support the codec that it has to, I am also afraid that many companies will still start to push their own formats, eventually resulting in a "de-facto" standard which is not the one, or one of the defined by the W3C. This has happened in the past with the use of the patented GIF format for example, even if it is now free of patents - the web has been using patented picture file-formats for years due to the absence of specification, assuming that GIF and JPEG would be displayed on most browsers. This was clearly a very bad way to go.

Actually, in my opinion it was mostly a problem because of the patent claims on GIF and JPEG.  In the case of GIF, that was effectively a submarine.

>I therefore ask to add a section to the <video> section stating that the use of non-w3c approved video codec in HTML would make the page invalid.

I think many people would find that onerous, because you would effectively prevent any future, better video codecs from being used.

>Concerning the previous debate about which standard to use, to be honest I am not a video codec expert, neither am I really fully aware of the patents risk, being european. I don't think I would be very wrong  though stating that these points are very important:
- the format is able to be implemented on *EVERY* platform - and therefore is open;
- the format is free  to use

That would be ideal.  "format is free to use," unfortunately, is (due to the way patents work) essentially a matter for the courts, and not something we the WG (or any consortium or group) can ultimately state without fear of being submarined.  For any product of a company with a value of great size, that provides a fat target.

The MPEG-LA manages this for some codecs by using economic power and "unionizing" the relevant patent licensing; unfortunately, of course, that means paying "union" dues.  That means it doesn't work for (most) open source projects.

-Chris
Received on Thursday, 17 January 2008 00:49:01 UTC

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