The MPEG-LA License Agreement

Google’s recent decision to drop h.264 support from Chrome has scared and infuriated the web! People on both sides are laying down their arguments.

The short version of my stance is I am for it. I think h.264 is set up to make MPEG-LA’s partners a lot of money and I find it scary.

I asked MPEG-LA a while back what was involved in licensing an open source implementation of h.264 (x264/ffmpeg, for example). They were very quick to get back to me and said they’d send me the contract with all the details.

A few days later I got the contract, a beautifully presented document that arrived by Fedex (I would have been happy with a soft copy that would have cost them practically nothing to send).

The document is big – 56 pages long. Here’s a quick photo:

Not sure how many small software developers – or anyone of the many, many people using open source video encoding solutions – have the time or inclination to wade through and agree to a contract like that.

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