Google called the MPEG-LA’s bluff, and won article has one interesting point on H.264 to think about: those H.264 licenses embedded in Windows, OS X, iOS, your ‘professional’ camera, and so on, do not cover commercial use.
This means according to article that if you shoot a video with your camera in H.264, upload it to YouTube, and get some income from advertisements, you’re in violation of the H.264 license.
H.264 is heavily patented. It seems that H.264 is a legal minefield where you need be careful where to walk. You have been warned. You can’t legally view and create H.264 videos for whatever purpose you like.
That ultimately means products that come with an H.264 codec don’t also come with a license to use the codec commercially — in order to distribute H.264 content in a way that makes money, the distributor has to pay for a separate license. So products like Windows 7, Mac OS X, Final Cut Pro, Avid, and modern video cameras aren’t licensed to distribute video for commercial use — they all have fine print somewhere that says they’re for personal and non-commercial use only. It’s language that feels incredibly aggressive and broad.
It apparently conflicts with the MPEG-LA’s general position that only the final link in the chain has to pay royalties for using the H.264 encoder (the party selling or distributing the video to the end user) . There is one exception still valid for some time and works for many applications. Using H.264 to distribute free internet video to end users doesn’t cost a thing, and won’t cost anything until at least 2015. There is worry was that the MPEG-LA would lock developers into the license while it was free and then begin charging for use.