[whatwg] The truth about Nokias claims

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Thu Dec 13 17:40:47 PST 2007

On Thu, 13 Dec 2007, Manuel Amador (Rudd-O) wrote:
> [...] if we're discussing inclusion in HTML5, AVC is even more dangerous 
> than Ogg Theora.

It is very clear that H.264 (AVC) is not an option. I do not believe 
anyone has suggested we use H.264 as the common codec.

> In fact, even if it were possible to release *all* AVC patents 
> royalty-free to the public, there'd still be the risk of submarine 
> patents just as some claim to be the case nowadays with Ogg technology.

Indeed, the only difference is that with H.264 the large companies in 
question have _already_ taken on the risk, so there is no additional 
risk, whereas with Theora there are no large distributors today and 
therefore patent trolls wouldn't even have considered coming out of the 
woodwork yet. (Pardon my mixed metaphors.)

I believe many of the points being made in the most recent e-mails on this 
subject are points that have already been made many times.

As far as I can tell, there are no satisfactory codecs today. If we are to 
make progress, we need to change the landscape. There are various ways to 
do this, for example:

 * Make significant quantities of compelling content available using one 
   of the royalty-free codecs, so that the large companies have a reason 
   to take on the risk of supporting it.

 * Convince one of the largest companies to distribute a royalty-free 
   codec, taking on the unknown liability, and make this widely known, to 
   attract patent trolls.

 * Negotiate with the patent holders of a non-royalty-free codec to find a 
   way that their codec can be used royalty-free.

 * Change the patent system in the various countries that are affected by 
   the patent trolling issue. (It's not just the US.)

I would like to encourage all the participants to focus on finding ways to 
change the landscape. Returning over the same points repeatedly is not 
proving productive.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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