There has been a lot of news recently about HTML5 and the use of video. Apple is endorsing a codec (a way of encoding video) called h.264, but with any new technology it is important to understand the licensing issues involved and to make sure your church is not breaking any type of licensing requirements. After the break I will walk you h.264 and what to expect if you are posting videos to your church website.
A little background.
h.264 is a video codec being pushed hard by, well mainly, Apple as a replacement for flash. But everyone from You Tube to Flip to BluRay players use this codec for video playback.
Going forward I believe that HTML5 will replace Flash as a means for playing video online. So how do you prepare? Do you have to pay a fee to use h.264? Let’s keep going.
Why would I have to pay?
The h.264 codec has received some bad press lately, most notably an article from OSnews about why H.264 will be the death of video art. See, the H.264 codec is patented by a few (well a lot) of companies. So depending on how you use the codec, you could potentially have to pay a license fee. Who owns the patients? Well there are 26 companies, but there are some big names here: Apple, Microsoft, Panasonic, Sony, Dolby, and Toshiba.
So do I have to pay a fee?
Well it really depends. If you are using the codec for non-commercial uses, posting sermon video, or announcements, you are fine. You won’t need to pay a fee. If you are jut using a camera that shoots using the h.264 for commercial purposes you will not need to pay a fee. You will need to pay a fee if you are charging for the content you are providing. So if you are selling worship videos, sermon videos, or anything else you will want to check with the MEPG-LA on the cost of a license.
With anything legal, you will also want to consult your church attorney to make sure you are meeting all legal requirements. But this should at least give you a starting point to make sure your video is legal before posting it for the world to see!