[theora] Some questions about Theora IP

Silvia Pfeiffer silviapfeiffer1 at gmail.com
Sat Oct 10 21:16:02 PDT 2009

Hi Maciej,

I think I can speak for Xiph here is saying Xiph has no issue with
standardizing Theora through an organization like SMPTE as long as the
openness of the codec is maintained. Practically, though, the main
problem is to find a sponsor who will pay for all the expenses
involved with such a process. A further problem is to find somebody
who is willing to endure the lengthy standardisation process including
travel and document writing etc. I think the latter we would be able
to find - it's the sponsorship part that is the challenge. Xiph is
certainly not in a position to pay for the process, travel and
membership fees involved.

Another question is: there are open specifications available for
Theora, open (reference) implementations, and independent other
implementations. For most other technologies that would be sufficient
openness to call something an "open standard". As developers we are
more interested in improving the technology that we work on than
wasting time in meetings, traveling, and writing documents where the
main aim is to confirm the technology that was already developed. It
doesn't seem a compelling way to spend one's time.

In addition, the delay imposed by going through a complete
standardisation process with another standards body just to identify a
useful baseline codec for HTML5 will simply lead to further delays
that we cannot afford for HTML5 any longer.

I think a productive means forward would be for W3C to issue a call
for open baseline codecs and to start a process that will lead to a
thorough analysis and comparison of existing codecs and the creation
of documents that can resolve the situation.

Best Regards,

On Sun, Jul 5, 2009 at 8:57 AM, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs at apple.com> wrote:
> Hey Monty,
> If I may tack on another question:
> 5) Would xiph.org be willing to consider standardizing Theora through
> an organization like SMPTE? I believe this would require many of the
> potential holders of possibly overlapping patents to formally take a
> position.
> On Jul 4, 2009, at 11:29 AM, xiphmont at xiph.org wrote:
>> Hi Maceij,
>> This got asked to me from a few different directions, so I'll reply to
>> you and the list.  Chris Double sent the question first, so I'll just
>> paste the reply:
>> "Heh, why do these things always get asked the day before a long
>> holiday weekend :-)  The lawyers were gone yesterday!
>> "More seriously, I'm going to pop this one past the SFLC (and it will
>> be a little while probably, as our main contact in the SFLC really did
>> leave on vacation yesterday) just to be sure before saying anything
>> 100% official, but I'm not too worried about it.  I'm going to ask
>> first only because no one has asked the question in that exact form
>> before, and given that it's Apple, I want to have a lawyer's name
>> behind the response."
>> Monty
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