[whatwg] Codecs (was Re: Apple Proposal for Timed Media Elements)

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Thu Mar 22 22:09:52 PDT 2007

On Fri, 23 Mar 2007, Robert Sayre wrote:
> On 3/23/07, Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
> > 
> > I hate to be the one to break this to you, but CSS is covered by 
> > patents,
> I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you don't [know] anything 
> about patents. Many engineers have trouble accepting this.

I actually know far more than I want to about patents. What is it that I 
don't know that is relevant here, though? The technologies I listed _are_ 
covered by patents, yet they are not proprietary. This seems like a 
relevant counterexample to your argument.

> > It's not available under royalty free licensing. But it is not under 
> > the control of a single vendor. That is the important difference, not 
> > whether the technology is patented or not.
> Proprietary technologies can come from a group of vendors as well.

Yes, if that group is closed. The International Standards Organisation is, 
however, not one such case. If the ISO standards are proprietary, then 
that would make most W3C and ECMA standards proprietary too, in which case 
I really don't know what use or meaning the term would have.

I'm not arguing in favour of any of the MPEG-4 profiles as a baseline 
codec. However, arguing that we should dismiss MPEG-4 because it is 
proprietary is incorrect. It is not royalty-free, which is a good argument 
against it, but it is centainly not proprietary.

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

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