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Ogg Theora

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Ogg Theora is a video format, for which one of the core goals is to be free from patent problems.


Vague, unsubstantiated worries

Patent ambush

Apple raised the concern that patent holders might exist but might be staying silent, ready for a patent ambush if Theora becomes widely used.[1]


Patent licensing group MPEG LA have made vague, unsubstantiated claims that all video formats infringe their patents:

Larry Horn (MPEG-LA CEO): [...] no one in the market should be under the misimpression that other codecs such as Theora are patent-free. Virtually all codecs are based on patented technology, and many of the essential patents may be the same as those that are essential to AVC/H.264. Therefore, users should be aware that a license and payment of applicable royalties is likely required to use these technologies developed by others, too. MPEG LA would consider offering on additional licenses that would make these rights conveniently available to the market under a single license as an alternative to negotiating separate licenses with individual patent holders.
Jan Ozer (interviewer): It sounds like you are saying that some of your patent holders own patents that are used in Ogg. Is that correct?
Larry Horn: We believe that there are patent holders who do.
Jan Ozer: It sounds like you’ll be coming out and basically saying that to use Ogg, you need to license it from MPEG LA. Is that correct?
Larry Horn: That is not what we said. We said no one in the market should be under the misimpression that other codecs such as Theora are patent-free. Whether MPEG LA would offer a license for such rights is a different matter and has not been determined.
(interview from StreamingMedia.com)[2]

Related pages on en.swpat.org

External links

Campaigns to encourage use of Ogg Theora

(see also: Campaigns to avoid certain patented ideas)


  1. http://lists.whatwg.org/htdig.cgi/whatwg-whatwg.org/2007-March/010392.html (see third-last paragraph)
  2. http://www.streamingmedia.com/article.asp?id=11746

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