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The Myth of Free H.264

The Internet today is full of headlines "MPEG LA said that the standard H.264 will be free." (Recently this news was discussed at Habré). It would be great if they were true, but, unfortunately, very much is not quite so.

What MPEG-LA announced was that their existing moratorium on charging users for the transfer of content encoded with H.264, previously extended until 2015, has become permanent since now. At the same time, you still have to pay for a license for H.264, if you want to create content or products based on it, or your business distribution model is directly related to the use of the standard.

They made the distribution of content constantly free, a license would be required for encoding and decoding. It’s like if Nikon announced that they wouldn’t demand a fee for posting your photos taken with firm’s cameras on Flickr, or HP would have announced that you wouldn’t need to pay for making a photocopy what you printed on the printers of their production. (Nikon and HP were used for example without their consent, and, as far as I know, they never required users to license products derived from their technology).

Thus, H.264 has not become more free lately. The promises made by MPEG-LA are still in force until 2015, do not affect the consumption or production of content created using their standard, and are based on the fact that they only have to control its distribution. Unfortunately, H.264 was no longer suited as the underlying technology for the open web than last year. Perhaps it will become so in the future - Mozilla would very much welcome the prospect of the H.264 standard, to become really gratuitous, but only MPEG-LA can make it so.


Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/103108/

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