On Thursday, MPEG LA announced that its AVC Patent Portfolio License, the license that allows for usage of the AVC/H.264 video encoding standard, would remain royalty free for the entire life of the license. In a move meant to reassure users, content creators, and providers, MPEG LA stated that they would not charge royalties on Internet Video that is free to end users. This covers videos on sites such as Vimeo, YouTube, and others, so long as the videos are free. Previously it had announced that it would not charge royalties through December 31, 2015, but has now extended the date indefinitely.
This is great news for Apple and others who back the HTML5 and H.264 standards as open alternatives to Adobe Flash. Detractors have argued that because MPEG LA controls the license, they could someday begin to charge royalty fees on all the videos that have been encoded with H.264. Now that this will no longer be the case, the announcement also negates some of the benefits of the newest proposed standard by Mozilla, Google and Adobe, WebM. Built around the VP8 video codec that Google released in May 2010, it was touted as a royalty free, open-source media format for the internet.
However, without the threat of royalty fees hanging over its head, H.264 is poised to become the de facto web video standard, as it has already been adopted by YouTube, the most dominant company in this space. With momentum and critical mass, it’s difficult to see how a new proposal such as WebM can gain a foothold.
Article via InformationWeek