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Google removes H.264 from its browser/system
romor
post Jan 12 2011, 01:51
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I read this today, and thought it might be interesting to post about it:

QUOTE
Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.
source: http://blog.chromium.org/2011/01/html-vide...-in-chrome.html

Next? > WebMed YouTube


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googlebot
post Jan 19 2011, 23:36
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Don't be fooled!

The only thing open about WebM is one implementation of an encoder and decoder! The project is hosted by Google, license is BSD. The development of the video standard itself stays under sole control of Google. All that Google is giving to the public is this software implementation, no guarantee to be exempt from licensing fees due to patents.

The situation is not much different regarding source openness for h264! The best encoder one can get, is an open source project! It's x264. x264 has been the pony show for h264's capabilities from the beginning. It is licensed under the GPL (see ffmpeg for a very fast open source decoder). That's not less open than Google's source project. The video standard itself is not under control of one company, but defines the state of the art at the time of standardization, with dozens of contributors from science and business. It has formally been standardized over several years in an open process. The standardization convened the creme de la creme from the field. It is highly questionable that a competing codec can reach comparable quality while completely avoiding the state of the art as it has been defined in that process.



This post has been edited by googlebot: Jan 19 2011, 23:38
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cpchan
post Jan 20 2011, 00:02
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QUOTE (googlebot @ Jan 19 2011, 18:36) *
Don't be fooled!

The only thing open about WebM is one implementation of an encoder and decoder! The project is hosted by Google, license is BSD. The development of the video standard itself stays under sole control of Google. All that Google is giving to the public is this software implementation, no guarantee to be exempt from licensing fees due to patents.


Have you actually looked at the terms? Here it is:

QUOTE
Additional IP Rights Grant (Patents)

"This implementation" means the copyrightable works distributed by Google as part of the WebM Project.

Google hereby grants to you a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable (except as stated in this section) patent license to make, have made, use, offer to sell, sell, import, transfer, and otherwise run, modify and propagate the contents of this implementation of VP8, where such license applies only to those patent claims, both currently owned by Google and acquired in the future, licensable by Google that are necessarily infringed by this implementation of VP8. This grant does not include claims that would be infringed only as a consequence of further modification of this implementation. If you or your agent or exclusive licensee institute or order or agree to the institution of patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that this implementation of VP8 or any code incorporated within this implementation of VP8 constitutes direct or contributory patent infringement, or inducement of patent infringement, then any patent rights granted to you under this License for this implementation of VP8 shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.


(Emphasis mine). Enough said.

QUOTE (googlebot @ Jan 19 2011, 18:36) *
The situation is not much different regarding source openness for h264! The best encoder one can get, is an open source project! It's x264. x264 has been the pony show for h264's capabilities from the beginning. It is licensed under the GPL (see ffmpeg for a very fast open source decoder). That's not less open than Google's source project.


Of course I know ffmpeg, I compile it from svn weekly. The difference between webm and x264 is that Google granted a perpetual license. Where as, I am sure with x264, the mpegla will come knocking once mpeg4 part 4 is entrenched and once the current terms expires for h.264.

Anyway, we are not really discussing about the quality of the codecs here, but a codec that is good enough and royality free for web distribution, in accordance with the vision of the w3c.

This post has been edited by cpchan: Jan 20 2011, 00:36
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googlebot
post Jan 20 2011, 01:02
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I really can't see how this is supposed to even come close to "enough said". Google does not even assert "in good faith" that the WebM code is free from 3rd party patents. Let alone that they do not offer any form of patent indemnity. All they say is: "hey, we have this open source implementation (h264 does also) and at least WE don't charge for it (others might anyway). And BTW, the format's future is entirely in our hands, we won't commit it to any independent commitee (and we won't support the competition in our own products from now on)."

For h264, there has at least been the proposition to assemble complete coverage over all infringed patents and it is asserted in good faith. There is also no indemnity, but at least a transparent approach to achieve complete coverage. h264 extended its royality exemption forever in August 2010 (before it was only until 2016). When you want to sell encoders or decoders, license fees may apply. But they automatically exempt from the whole known patent pool from all participants throughout the industry.

RFCs are "open standards" exactly in the way, that they are not controlled by single entities (as h264, not as WebM). But methods described in RFCs, also the ones you have listed, are not exempt from patent licensing fees!

This post has been edited by googlebot: Jan 20 2011, 01:15
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cpchan
post Jan 20 2011, 01:50
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QUOTE (googlebot @ Jan 19 2011, 20:02) *
I really can't see how this is supposed to even come close to "enough said". Google does not even assert "in good faith" that the WebM code is free from 3rd party patents. Let alone that they do not offer any form of patent indemnity. All they say is: "hey, we have this open source implementation (h264 does also) and at least WE don't charge for it (others might anyway). And BTW, the format's future is entirely in our hands, we won't commit it to any independent commitee (and we won't support the competition in our own products from now on)."


Nothing is immune to submarine patents. However, I do believe that Google should make a statement about its vetting process.

QUOTE (googlebot @ Jan 19 2011, 20:02) *
RFCs are "open standards" exactly in the way, that they are not controlled by single entities (as h264, not as WebM). But methods described in RFCs, also the ones you have listed, are not exempt from patent licensing fees!


Please show me an example where royalties must be paid.

All this should really be sorted out at the w3c:

QUOTE
2. Licensing Goals for W3C Recommendations

In order to promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented on a Royalty-Free (RF) basis. Subject to the conditions of this policy, W3C will not approve a Recommendation if it is aware that Essential Claims exist which are not available on Royalty-Free terms.

To this end, Working Group charters will include a reference to this policy and a requirement that specifications produced by the Working Group will be implementable on an RF basis, to the best ability of the Working Group and the Consortium.


Unfortunately, cooperate interests trumped everything.

As an aside, I don't support software patents. They really hinder rather than help innovation. I also have no faith in the ISO these days after witnessing how ooxml was approved.


This post has been edited by cpchan: Jan 20 2011, 01:53
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Posts in this topic
- romor   Google removes H.264 from its browser/system   Jan 12 2011, 01:51
- - TechVsLife   fwiw, here's apple's view of the matter: h...   Jan 12 2011, 02:48
- - romor   "Unsubstantial claims" about VP8 and H.2...   Jan 12 2011, 03:18
- - matav   it is way too early to make such a move. so early ...   Jan 12 2011, 09:28
- - Miramis   More about the Chrome HTML Video Codec Change   Jan 14 2011, 22:11
- - googlebot   I immediately thought about dropping Chrome, when ...   Jan 15 2011, 11:32
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (googlebot @ Jan 15 2011, 06:32) I ...   Jan 19 2011, 22:43
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (cpchan @ Jan 19 2011, 21:43) I gra...   Jan 20 2011, 14:57
- - romor   QUOTE (googlebot @ Jan 15 2011, 11:32) Th...   Jan 15 2011, 12:52
- - dhromed   Interesting how that infographic's Arguments p...   Jan 16 2011, 00:41
|- - romor   QUOTE (dhromed @ Jan 16 2011, 00:41) ...g...   Jan 16 2011, 01:30
|- - gaekwad2   QUOTE (romor @ Jan 16 2011, 02:30) QUOTE ...   Jan 16 2011, 16:17
|- - romor   QUOTE (gaekwad2 @ Jan 16 2011, 16:17) The...   Jan 16 2011, 17:43
|- - gaekwad2   QUOTE (romor @ Jan 16 2011, 18:43) QUOTE ...   Jan 16 2011, 19:16
|- - romor   QUOTE (gaekwad2 @ Jan 16 2011, 19:16) VP8...   Jan 16 2011, 19:52
- - Porcus   Isn't this all about web content, really? Once...   Jan 16 2011, 15:24
- - Miramis   Free Software Foundation: No double standards: sup...   Jan 19 2011, 21:57
- - googlebot   Don't be fooled! The only thing open abou...   Jan 19 2011, 23:36
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (googlebot @ Jan 19 2011, 18:36) Do...   Jan 20 2011, 00:02
|- - googlebot   I really can't see how this is supposed to eve...   Jan 20 2011, 01:02
||- - cpchan   QUOTE (googlebot @ Jan 19 2011, 20:02) I ...   Jan 20 2011, 01:50
|- - NullC   QUOTE Additional IP Rights Grant (Patents) ...   Jan 20 2011, 03:58
||- - cpchan   QUOTE (NullC @ Jan 19 2011, 22:58) You ha...   Jan 20 2011, 07:18
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (cpchan @ Jan 19 2011, 19:02) Of co...   Jan 20 2011, 09:52
- - HotshotGG   I built WebM from the source back in June in FFMPE...   Jan 20 2011, 07:13
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (HotshotGG @ Jan 20 2011, 02:13) Th...   Jan 20 2011, 07:22
- - 2Bdecided   Just a thought: as a content provider, I'd alr...   Jan 20 2011, 15:10
|- - googlebot   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Jan 20 2011, 15:10) If...   Jan 20 2011, 16:25
|- - NullC   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Jan 20 2011, 06:10) Th...   Feb 15 2011, 21:25
- - romor   two weeks ago MPEG announced intent for new royalt...   Feb 12 2011, 05:36
- - romor   VP8 codec update, named "Bali" released:...   Mar 9 2011, 02:24
- - romor   Fresh WebM VP8, Ogg Theora, x264 SSIM benchmark: ...   Mar 25 2011, 00:48
- - smok3   romor: Do you actually understand this graphs? isn...   Mar 27 2011, 21:40
- - romor   did you check quoted link source?   Mar 27 2011, 23:56
|- - smok3   QUOTE (romor @ Mar 27 2011, 23:56) did yo...   Mar 28 2011, 07:57
- - romor   Google spins fast: QUOTE all new videos uploaded ...   Apr 20 2011, 19:01
- - Robertina   WebM patent fight ahead for Google?   Jul 29 2011, 13:03
- - Nystagmus   While you guys are separating the real wheat from ...   Oct 15 2013, 17:38
- - Nystagmus   QUOTE (Nystagmus @ Oct 15 2013, 10:38) Wh...   Jan 2 2014, 22:51


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