Re: [rtcweb] Video codec proposals due October 15th, 2012

Stephan Wenger <> Sat, 18 August 2012 23:58 UTC

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From: Stephan Wenger <>
To: Monty Montgomery <>
Thread-Topic: [rtcweb] Video codec proposals due October 15th, 2012
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Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2012 23:58:01 +0000
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Subject: Re: [rtcweb] Video codec proposals due October 15th, 2012
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On 8.18.2012 14:28 , "Monty Montgomery" <> wrote:

>On Sat, Aug 18, 2012 at 2:36 PM, Richard Shockey <>
>> To make my position clear. The WG should support both H 264 and VP8.
>This misses the primary point of VP8: the fact that many stakeholders
>here CANNOT implement h.264.  Every stakeholder can implement VP8.
>Some refuse to do so as they have a sunk investment in h.264, but this
>is not the same as 'cannot'.


I refuse to accept this 'CANNOT" argument.  It has been made before, in
many variants.  It's bogus, or at least unproductive.

"CANNOT" necessarily is different from the viewpoint of various entities.
However, in our case, I believe it boils down to what the entity calls an
acceptable risk, and not so much into "investments sunk".  The definition
of an acceptable risk is up to the stakeholder that makes the
determination, not you or me.  If one stakeholder entity believes that
violating, however openly, an open source license of their choice means
they CANNOT implement a certain technology, so be it.  (We all know that
with respect to H.264 implementations, some folks beliefs are very
differently from what people argue in rtcweb; x264 is published under the
GPLv2, right?).  I mean, I can accept that the stakeholder has good and
valid reasons to make the argument.  If one entity believes that they
would need to pay MPEG-LA, and that paying $6.5M per year for getting a
license under most H.264 patents put them out of business, it's again a
useful argument, but not, in isolation, a decisive one.  Those entities
obviously have the right to make their point, as you do, and as the
Mozilla guys do.  (Not listing Google here; their motivations may well be
a bit less straightforward, but that's for them to comment on and not for
me.  Just a small stab: if "investments sunk" would really play a big
role, then let's look who has sunk one of the biggest investments into a
codec technology over the past few years :-)

However, if another stakeholder entity decides, for reasons of their own,
that an implementation of VP8 may expose them to risks to the point that
legal or business says cannot, then they CANNOT.

These two CANNOTs must have the same strength when determining rough

We have heard both voices.  The two camps are approximately of the same
strength.  Even when looking at browser market share, neither camp is an
overwhelming "winner".  Which is why I suggested in Vancouver that it may
be time to follow the WhatWG and W3C's lead and leave the mandatory video
codec selection to the browser vendors, not to a standards community that,
as this discussion shows again and again, is ill-prepared to deal with
commercial realities.  Leaving it to the browser vendors knowing that, at
least initially, we may have interop problems.

I said in Vancouver that it is unacceptable to allow the commercial
considerations of an industry operating under one business model (for
example open source), to block standards development going in a certain
direction, if there are others operating under another business model
(close source and $$$ for licensing) and they want a different direction.
I will continue to say so.  And will object quite noisily if such an
argument would be decisive in the IETF's decision making process, one way
or another.

>> H 264 since it is nearly universally deployed.
>You've lost me here.  I can't use it.  Oh sure, I have the code-- I'm
>just not allowed to do anything with it, and MPEG-LA won't sell me a
>license because I don't track downstream.

So start tracking downstream.  Your business model does not allow for it?
Change it!  

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