Re: [rtcweb] Proposal for Theora baseline codec

Basil Mohamed Gohar <basilgohar@librevideo.org> Thu, 29 March 2012 15:08 UTC

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Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 11:08:14 -0400
From: Basil Mohamed Gohar <basilgohar@librevideo.org>
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Cc: "rtcweb@ietf.org" <rtcweb@ietf.org>
Subject: Re: [rtcweb] Proposal for Theora baseline codec
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On 03/29/2012 11:03 AM, Stephan Wenger wrote:
> HI Basil,
> Really interesting discussion.  Top-posting this time, as I have to run.
> Yes, saber-rattling was present.  Is present.  It worked in the past,
> plus/minus Mozilla, didn't it?  That's the whole idea behind
> sabre-rattling.  It's better than sabre-swinging.  More diligently put,
> warning of potential infringement is better than to punish an infringer.
> Cheaper, and serves the purpose.
> And thinking of a Mozilla as a juicy target (based on the numbers you
> cited) seems to me a bit of a far fetch, considering a) the percentage of
> multimedia codecs on a web browser's value proposition even today (let
> alone 5-10 years ago), and b) the monetary damages asked in high-profile
> patent lawsuits today.
> Stephan
I disagree.  If there was a real, defensible infringement, then engaging
in a license agreement would be the far wiser approach than to warn of
infringement.  This would be the tactic when a technology one has
patents on can be displaced by another which may-or-may-not infringe. 
Being replaced by another technology is a real threat to revenue.  Being
replaced by a technology that one can also extract licenses from, is not
a threat.  Therefore, sabre-rattling only makes sense when there's the
real threat to ones existing revenue stream, and one doubts litigation
will be in their favor.
> On 3.29.2012 16:47 , "Basil Mohamed Gohar" <basilgohar@librevideo.org>
> wrote:
>
>> On 03/29/2012 10:33 AM, Stephan Wenger wrote:
>>> Hi Monty,
>>> Couldn't it be that no one went after Vorbis and Theora because the
>>> rightholders had no real incentive to do so?  For example, because the
>>> products implementing Vorbis, in their vast majority, also included MP3
>>> and/or AAC, and the rightholders would have to deal with patent
>>> exhaustion
>>> arguments and whatnot after having gotten their money; and because
>>> theora
>>> deployment never reached a critical mass because it was a) not good
>>> enough
>>> technically, and b) felt to be too risky?
>>> I would turn your argument around: the (comparatively speaking) lack of
>>> commercial success of vorbis and theora, and the success of royalty
>>> bearing standard codecs, suggest to me only that no one was fooled,
>>> except
>>> perhaps the enthusiastic followers of those folks who keep pushing out
>>> one
>>> "free" codec after another...
>>> Stephan
>>>
>> Stephan,
>>
>> Monty already pointed out that sabre-rattling already happened.  Had
>> there been any meat to the threats, then it would have been ridiculous
>> not to have pursued them.  Mozilla implements both Theora and Vorbis in
>> browser, and do not implement MPEG-related codecs, and they're a
>> lucrative target (they're getting around $1 billion from Google in the
>> coming few years).  They *do* have a commercial entity that could be the
>> target, as well.
>>
>> The real threat was that these formats posed a risk to the other formats
>> monopolistic adoption, and the FUD that was spread every time these
>> formats were presented in a standard or appeared poised to be adopted
>> more widely, the sabre-rattling began again, and no real threats
>> materialized.
>>
>> It's arguing by saying, "You never can be sure...".
>>
>> -- 
>> Libre Video
>> http://librevideo.org
>>
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>> https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/rtcweb
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>


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Libre Video
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