Following Up for the Week Ending 5/23/2010

feeds | grep links > New Copyright for Chile, Microsoft for HMTL5, AT&T’s Comment to IP Czar and Rumored Patent Attack on Theora

  • Chile gets a new copyright law
    As Mike Masnick explains it at Techdirt, it doesn’t sound as radical as India’s. The new limits and exceptions are no doubt welcome but hardly sweeping. Worse, the come at the expense of stiffer penalties for infringement.
  • Microsoft speaks up for HTML5, against Flash
    Engadget has a link to comments from an IE program manager. I think this is hardly a surprise giving the drubbing IE is taking at the hands of every other browser that is already support parts of HTML5. Since this in the wakes of Jobs’ hate letter to Adobe over Flash, Microsoft touches on that too, conceding some points to Jobs but bowing to the ubiquity of Flash.
  • Surprising comments by AT&T to IP Czar
    As Nate Anderson at Ars Technica explains, AT&T isn’t against three strikes but is for a lesser obligation from 3rd parties, such as itself, and more judicial oversight. It may seem surprising until you realize the costs the carrier would have to bear to process the notices required by a three strikes proposal.
  • Apple rumored to be assembling patent pool to use against Ogg Theora
    It is a very good thing that Google announced its intent to open the VP-8 video codec that it got as part of its On2 acquisition. According to The Register, Jobs plan may have be provoked, or merely revealed, when an FSF advocate contacted him about open video in response to his Flash letter. While this is very speculative, it could slow Theora adoption so having another open codec backed by Google hedges the bets of those of us interested in open standards and open source for video on the web.

YouTube Officially Testing HTML5 Video

According to ReadWriteWeb, though, they are only supporting h.264 encoded video. If you use Firefox, you are out of luck. I tried to find a hack, a way on my Mac anyway to get Firefox to work with this h.264 based beta test to no avail. I find that surprising and suspect it has more to do with YouTube than Firefox.

As excited as I would be at Google’s move to support an open standard, I am skeptical since this doesn’t include video in third party sites. Technically, that makes sense. All of the embed codes to date have used the necessary markup to drive the Flash player. There isn’t any effective way to retrofit those to use HTML5 and even going forward, HTML5 just isn’t widely supported enough for it to make sense for YouTube to use it in its embed codes just yet.

On the whole, I’ll still choose to interpret this as a good step forward for open video. Maybe with Google’s recent acquisition of On2, the future of open video as part of HTML5 adoption still has some fight left in it.

On the Fly Flash to Ogg Converter

Glyn Moody highlights a service I am certainly happy to endorse. TinyOgg appears to be a simple web service for consuming Flash video and converting it to a temporarily hosted Ogg Theora file which you can view immediately or download for later viewing. The temptation to uninstall Flash from all my systems is now nearly overwhelming.

Actually, what is tempting me even more greatly is to hack together a Ubiquity command to invoke this service. No doubt it could make a handy dandy bookmarklet too for everyone else.

Not surprisingly, this service is a project of the Free Software Foundation. So the stated goal of eliminating the need for the proprietary technology of Flash is not simply rhetorical. As far as I can tell, TinyOgg only works with YouTube so far but that’s still a pretty big fraction of all the Flash video out there. Apparently the ultimate goal is to add many more video sharing sites. Worth nothing, too, that the conversion should work for HD versions of YouTube videos and the services plans include conversion of audio as well as video.

New Version of Ogg Theora Open Video Codec, The Latest in The Security Debate Over Chrome Frame Plugin, and More

  • Ogg Theora 1.1 release
    Thanks to Mike Linksvayer for sharing this link on There is a lot of details and samples in the announcement. The best part is that the 1.1 codec is fully backwards compatible, so no need to re-encode anything, either for existing 1.0 players or to upgrade for software that will use the new version.
  • Google’s rebuttal to MS claims over security issues in Frame
    Google seemed to target earlier versions of Internet Explorer in their remarks, while Microsoft earlier was talking about the most recent. I tend to give Google more credit here, considering the large proportion of folks still using MSIE 7 and even 6 and the truly abysmal security in those vintages coupled with Microsoft’s almost entirely absent support.
  • Clever response to Lily Allen’s anti piracy remarks
    Cory shares a video that remixes one of Allen’s songs with some creative lyrics detailing a very coherent, considered criticism of her earlier remarks on her blog and in response to Techdirt’s own criticisms.
  • Obama finally fills IP czar appointment
    According to Wired, both sides of the debate seem satisfied with the appointment of Espinel, a teacher as well as former adviser to Congress and to the USTR. She has the endorsement from Public Knowledge which tells me she has had a balanced view of the issues around infringement, enforcement and consumer rights at least in her past roles.
  • A view from the pro-business method patent side on Bilski
    PJ invited comment from those support business method patents to comment on the possible outcomes of Bilski. Worth the read to understand all sides of the debate and really to understand that the world won’t come unhinged no matter how the appeal is ultimately decided.
  • AU rolling out “unhackable” netbooks into schools
    This really smacks of a large PR stunt, one aimed at trying to get Windows 7 more traction on both the government and the education markets. I don’t care how much benefit you extend to security improvements in Windows 7, calling any software unhackable is disingenuous at best.