After a lively debate, the IETF appears to be moving forward with a royalty-free audio codec standardization activity. Here’s to its successful launch and positive outcome.
I’ve put a brief summary at the mpegrf.com site, and there is a good summary here.
The group’s email discussion alias is here — and my view, expressed there (echoing this), is pretty straightforward:
“[codec] Royalty Free codec standards — don’t settle for less”
Here is my view, perhaps you share it, perhaps you don’t.
What the world needs now is royalty-free, standardized codecs. This is critical to the future of the Web, and the progress the Internet has brought to the world, and will bring to the world.
Video, audio, transport, the whole thing. Evaluated, vetted for patents. Under an appropriate, responsible and complete royalty free process. No less.
IETF, ITU, and ISO/MPEG should all get going on this important activity — after all why shouldn’t all of these organizations include this as core to their mission.
I have, and no doubt you have too, seen countless explanations why this should not, could not, will not, rather not, might not, or can not happen. Some well meaning and sincere, some from vested interests.
There are too many “powerful” interests against it. “Important” commercial interests are ambivalent. It is too hard “legally” or “politically” or “technically”. It is just too confusing to think through. There is no longer a critical mass that cares enough about keeping the future of the Open Internet open and royalty free. The well meaning are ignorant, or naive. Etc.
Don’t settle. Take the issue of royalty free, standardized codecs all the way to the top of these organizations. Do what it takes. If it requires new organizations, start them. It it requires revised processes, revise them. This is the spirit that built the Web and the Internet, this is the spirit that is its lifeblood, and this is the spirit that needs to be at the heart of its future.
Don’t settle. Don’t let those who have tried hard already, or have only half-heartedly tried, justify the status quo or their half-heartedness. Encourage them to focus on how to take the next steps.
Don’t let convenient “interpretations” of standards processes be an excuse for never starting, never finishing, or never setting up processes that will work. Need more legal background? Find it. More technical information? Get it.
Don’t settle. The world has plenty of patent-encumbered media standards, plenty of proprietary solutions, and plenty of standards in other domains that have figured out how to deliver royalty free.
But the world does not have enough royalty-free codec standards, so this is the task that needs to be addressed.