People trying to figure out where they stand on the desirability of multiple overlapping standards for technologies, or who would scream if they hear the issue reduced to VHS versus Betamax one more time, might like to add this article Why China wants its own video standard onto their reading list.
Of course, the IP and licensing issues of MPEG have long been controversial; standards that are not royalty-free are entirely dubious, especially in the modern climate. I am writing this from Delhi, India, [which (outside my window at least) has the most beautiful greens of any city I have ever seen…I had heard of Assam gardens and so on but was not prepared for how vivid things are]; but from here China’s position against technologies with royalties that only rich countries (rich manufacturers, rich consumers) can afford is not just interesting or prudent, but clearly obvious.
On the plane flying over from sodden Frankfurt, the Bollywood musical that was playing was “Guru”, which I was told by my charming neighbour was based on a true story, which goes into the corruption trial by Establishment types against a wildly successful entrepreneur and manufacturer for not following bureaucratic rules for permissions/duties etc. Hi tension Sydney Pollock-style courtroom scenes interrupted by song and dance: very category-busting for a westerner (though perhaps Dennis Potter’s Pennies from Heaven was there too, not to mention Chicago.) Best line: “Is he a thug or a genius?” But the interesting thing was that a popular entertainment was pushing a strong anti-bureaucratic/anti-interference line. It is an important issue in standards too: the purpose of standards must be to foster (good and safe) markets not to interfere with them.