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December 12, 2007: Xiph.Org Statement Regarding the HTML5 Draft and the Ogg Codec Set

Ogg provides a baseline of fully unencumbered, fully open, fully documented, fully royalty-free codecs that are lighter-weight than the contemporary encumbered solutions while offering comparable or superior performance. Ogg is not fantasy or vapourware. It is widely deployed, tested, and reviewed. Ogg has already stood the test of time.

Xiph knows of no infringing technology in Ogg. Tens of millions of copies have been deployed worldwide over the past ten years in a diverse array of software and hardware products from small .orgs like Wikimedia [1] to giant commercial vendors such as Samsung [2] and Microsoft [3]. Ogg has triggered no litigation to date.

The same cannot be said for MPEG. Despite the MPEG proponents' claims that MPEG-licensed codecs protect against liability, patent disputes involving MPEG codecs have occurred as recently as the past few months. For example, Lucent v. Gateway [4] and Multimedia Patent Trust v. Microsoft Corp. [5]. The MPEG-LA's own sublicense disclaimer warns that licensees are not protected from patent-related litigation nor are they protected from submarine patents. [6]

The W3C has expressed a clear intention to officially define video as an integral part of the web by introducing the <video/> tag. Up to this point, video on the web has been presented primarily using a fragmented array of proprietary extensions powered by encumbered formats. Those who cannot use them have been made second-class citizens. Failing to standardize on an unencumbered, reasonably-performing format is a failure to advance beyond this state.

In the interest of interoperability and to prevent large vendor lock-in to proprietary methods, we support the W3C's desire to adopt the unencumbered technology as the baseline.

Christopher "Monty" Montgomery [and others]

  1. (Link to Wikimedia file types page)

  2. (Samsung Ogg players for sale at Amazon.com)

  3. eg, Halo: (Link to article about Ogg audio in Halo)
    Specific features requested by the Halo team were added to the Vorbis source tree in commits 4387, 4393, 4404, 4419 and 5222.

  4. Lucent Technologies, Inc. V. Gateway, Inc., 2007 Wl 2900484 (S.D.Cal. Oct 01, 2007)

  5. Multimedia Patent Trust v. Microsoft Corp., 2007 WL 2696675 (S.D.Cal.,2007)

  6. "Moreover, The Mpeg LA sublicensee agreement explicitly warns that the MPEG LA pool does not necessarily include all the patents necessary to practice the technology and that sublicensee signs the agreement aware of such risks."
    Lucent Technologies, Inc. V. Gateway, Inc., 2007 Wl 2900484 (S.D.Cal. Oct 01, 2007)