Ed Bott on Google’s H.264 / WebM Decision

Bott on H.264:

There’s no royalty trap. The fear implicit in this entire argument is that when the H.264 license has to be renewed in 2016, MPEG LA will unconscionably raise those rates. If that fear were legitimate, would more than 800 companies, including Google, have already decided to license H.264? Maybe they actually read the license agreement, which specifies that “the License will be renewable for successive five-year periods for the life of any Portfolio patent on reasonable terms and conditions. … [F]or the protection of licensees, royalty rates applicable to specific license grants or specific licensed products will not increase by more than ten percent (10%) at each renewal.”

So the most the rates can go up is 10 percent, once every five years. Yet many of the supporters of Chrome and Mozilla’s position on H.264 vs. WebM cite “uncertain future licensing” terms as a primary reason. Don’t buy it.

Thursday, 13 January 2011