HTML5 and Web Video: Questions for the Industry From the Community

Long, detailed post by Microsoft’s Dean Hachamovitch on HTML5, H.264, and WebM. It’s a cogent take, with pointed questions for Google (and other proponents of WebM/VP8):

Offers of “free” or “royalty-free” source code and strong assertions that the technology is “not patent encumbered” don’t help when a patent holder files a complaint that your video, your site, or your product infringes on her intellectual property. The only true arbiter of infringement, once it’s asserted, is a court of law. Asserting openness is not a legal defense. Whether one supports open technology or not, there are practical liability issues today that need to be examined. These issues motivate different potential approaches to risk protection. One path is indemnification. For example, will Google indemnify Mozilla, a PC OEM, a school, a Web site, a chip manufacturer, a device company, or an individual for using WebM? Will they indemnify Apple? Microsoft? Will they indemnify any or all of these parties worldwide? If Google were truly confident that the technology does not infringe and is not encumbered by patents whatsoever, wouldn’t this indemnification be easy?

Crickets chirping.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011