Saturday, May 1, 2010

Video Killed the Internet Star

So it seems the HTML5 video patent issue is worse than I thought. How can it be that nearly every U.S. citizen with internet access is now potentially liable to the MPEG-LA and subject to lawsuits? How did we possibly let it get this bad? Basically, if you've ever watched a Youtube video, you've used the h.264 video codec whether you intended to or not. Under our wonderful patent system, this means you potentially owe the MPEG-LA royalty fees, since virtually all Youtube videos have ads embedded in the stream which makes it a commercial site.

I don't know what to think. Of course, this won't come to a head until after 2015, as that is the last year of the MPEG-LA's period of amnesty, but what then? Is four years and change a long enough period to come up with something both unencumbered by patents, and good enough quality to compete? I hope so...

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