[whatwg] <video> element proposal

Henri Sivonen hsivonen at iki.fi
Mon Mar 5 13:14:19 PST 2007

On Mar 4, 2007, at 16:31, Geoffrey Sneddon wrote:

> Also note that patents haven't stopped the web in the past (see: GIF).

The fact that the Welch patent did not totally wreck the Web and did  
not cause browsers to drop GIF support should *not* be considered  
evidence of the harmlessness of patents.

In the case of the Welch patent, there were two mitigating factors:
  1) The patent (due to drafter incompetence, I presume) did not  
cover decompression, so it did not affect browsers.
  2) It was possible to produce a bit stream that worked with the  
decompression algorithm but that was not actually compressessed the  
production method for this kind of bitstream did not infringe on the  
Welch patent. Some Free Software packages used this method to achieve  
compatibility while sacrificing actual compression.

These mitigating factors are not generalizable, which makes GIF as a  
case study non-generalizable.

Henri Sivonen
hsivonen at iki.fi

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