H.264 Will Stay Royalty-Free for Free Internet Video Through 2016 (But Don't Clap Yet)

Appropriately following our explainer on why HTML5 won't save the internet (yet) and the embedded discussion about video codecs and the future of internet video, MPEG LA—who licenses the h.264 codec—has announced they're going to continue H.264's royalty freeness for free internet video through 2016.

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Which sounds like it melts some of Mozilla's core objections to anointing h.264 the internet video standard, but shnope. They're pretty committed to a fully free and open standard. Just see Mozilla engineering VP's longer post on the subject. What, you thought things would actually get resolved anytime soon? [MPEG LA via Daring Fireball]

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DISCUSSION

I fail to see how extending the royalty 'freeness' through 2016 helps Mozilla, or any of the h.264 detractors. It's more likely a devious way to entrench the standard, then hold the world hostage six years from now. The Mozilla VP is exactly right.

I see maybe two options:

1. A white knight (Google) buys the license and open-source's it. Unfortunately, probably extremely unlikely.

2. The open-source world bands together and improves the Ogg codec (or invents something new) to the point it can compete with h.264 in terms of quality and compression.