Aug 27, 2010

Freedom Of Web-Video Is Even More In Danger Now

Photo by XKCD. CC BY-NC 2.5
You might heard about that h.264 is now free (as beer) forever as long as you don't make money with it.
Well this is most intriguing. What's "freely distributed"? What about ads on your site or in the video? If you earn any money from ads or somewhere else because of this video, is it still legal without licensing fees?
FUD!

Now a concerning amount of users calling WebM dead, because now we can use h.264 for free. But that's totally wrong and very dangerous.
Free is not only "it costs nothing", free means you have rights over your stuff and you can do with it whatever you want. Calling the limitations of "freely distributed videos" free is wrong.

  1. There are still patents on h.264.
  2. There is still a questionable consortium behind it.
  3. There are still no free licenses.
  4. There are still 94% of users that can use WebM in future vs. 70% that can use h.264 (and if you count can't legally, it's even higher, see 6)
  5. Still Firefox can't and won't implement it, because of 1 and 3.
  6. Still, there is a gray zone about if you may even use it legally on free OS systems
So, for all your web-devs now thinking you can say bye bye to WebM: Don't! Or many users can't or won't watch your videos and you lose money and the reputation of people that cares about the freedom of the web. There is NO REASON why you should prefer h.264 over WebM.

For all the patent-free video evangelists, don't let your senses drown now, it's more dangerous than before. We lose freedom, even if it comes with no price tag.

Please, get your self a little bit good Karma and use WebM. Thanks!

Update:
Create Digital Motion has a good article: Apple-Centric Observers Get the Facts Wrong: H.264 Still Ain’t Free

Update 2:
Mozilla still standing. WebM is the only way. Read the article from The Register.