Originally Posted by stonefree
Funny how the author glosses over the very serious issue of H264 royalties - "Oh Mozilla is just too cheap to pay…" H264 licensing is $5 million dollars a year (for software with wide distribution. Not exactly chump change.
$5 million per year for copies that Mozilla distributes itself. That wouldn't cover any 3rd parties who redistribute it. Redistribution of Firefox is explicitly permitted -- even encouraged.
For example, each of the various Linux distributions which maintain their own repository version of Firefox would not be covered by Mozilla's $5 million - they'd have to register with MPEG-LA as separate distributors paying separate royalties.
If you download and burn DVDs of one of those Linux distributions, and then give those DVDs to your friends, then you yourself become a distributor, and theoretically either you would have to register with MPEG-LA and start paying royalties, or else each of your friends would have to purchase the license directly from MPEG-LA before they started using the software. (However, it is dubious whether it would even be possible for MPEG-LA to seriously keep track of distribution on that level, so admittedly it may be difficult to enforce.)
Google's Chrome browser also has an open-source counterpart named Chromium. Chromium can be freely redistributed but official releases of Chrome cannot -- Official Chrome can only legally be obtained directly from Google. That's because Google's H.264 license only covers copies of software obtained directly from Google. Chromium is generally obtained from downstream distributors.
Chromium source code ships from Google to 3rd party distributors with the H.264 decoding feature ifdef
ed out, specifically to avoid the patent licensing issues for downstream re-distributors. Several of those re-distributors have commented the H.264 portion of Chromium back in, but technically, any such redistribution of an H.264 enabled Chromium is being done without inclusion of an H.264 license, leaving any recipients of the software open to potential H.264-related lawsuits depending on their country of residence.