Feeds

Mozilla shrugs off 'forever free' H.264 codec license

Uh, will H.264 even be relevant in 4 years?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Update: This story has been updated to show that the MPEG-LA's license change applies to free video broadcasts, not applications that encode and decode video.

Mozilla vice president of engineering Mike Shaver has questioned the importance of the forever free H.264 license introduced this morning by the MPEG-LA, the organization that oversees the web video codec on behalf of patent holders such as Apple and Microsoft.

The patent-pool organization now says that for the H.264 license used by free video broadcasts, it will continue to waive royalty fees through the entire life of the license. Previously, the license was royalty-free only through the end of 2015. The move is an apparent answer to Google's new WebM media format, which was open sourced under a royalty-free license this spring, but Shaver doesn't think the move makes all that much difference.

With WebM in play, he's, well, not sure if H.264 will even matter in four years.

"The MPEG-LA announcement doesn't change anything for the next four years, since this promise was already made through 2014," he says in the statement shared with the The Reg. "Given that IEC [International Electrotechnical Commission] has already started accepting submissions for patents in the replacement H.265 standard, and the rise of unencumbered formats like WebM, it is not clear if H.264 will still be relevant in 2014."

It should also be noted that the MPEG-LA's license change does not apply to H.264 products and services other than free video broadcasts.

Mozilla and Opera have backed WebM, saying they won't use royalty-encumbered codecs in their browsers, while Apple and Microsoft have stuck with H.264. And this isn't likely to change anytime soon — though Microsoft has said it will allow IE9 netizens to use WebM if they install it on their own machines.

Though WebM uses a royalty-free license, the MPEG-LA has said it's "looking into" a patent pool that would challenge its royalty-free-ness. And apparently, this jibes with the thinking of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. But Google is confident that WebM can stand up to pressure from patent holders — and clearly, Mike Shaver is too. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.