His piece was actually prompted by a more panicked article at Ben Schwartz's Digital Diary:: No, you can’t do that with H.264, which talks about the licensing issues, and points out that Apple's Final Cut Pro license (and for that matter, Windows 7 Ultimate, and Adobe Premiere's) says you can't use H.264 for commercial purposes:
THE AVC FUNCTIONALITY IN THIS PRODUCT IS LICENSED HEREIN ONLY FOR THE PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL USE OF A CONSUMER [...]Stephen's article is a little more reasoned, and he also contacted several of the parties involved (though it was interesting that Apple and Adobe didn't want to comment.)
For somebody supplying footage to a movie studio, for example, H.264 licensing requirements don't enter into the calculation until the last step in the production chain--broadcast of the movie or replication of its disc, Harkness said. An H.264 license would be needed, though, for a band making and selling its own concert video disc, he said.If you're using YouTube as your distribution medium, then you don't have to worry. It's only if you're hosting the video on your own server, or you're distributing it on DVDs or Blu-ray discs that you actually might have to worry, though the cost is supposedly only 2 cents per disc in the latter case:
"Per Section 3.1.2 of the AVC License (Title-by-Title AVC Video), the royalty for each title greater than 12 minutes in length is 2.0 percent of the remuneration paid to the Licensee or $0.02 per title, whichever is lower. In other words, the royalty would not exceed $0.02 per disc for the videographer," said MPEG LA spokesman Tom O'Reilly.And if you are hosting the video on your own server, at least through 2015, as long as no one is paying to see the video, then there's no royalty.
So, you know, maybe we don't have to worry.