copies and pastes: "The BBC is quietly preparing a challenge to Microsoft and other companies jostling to reap revenues from video streams. It is developing code-decode (codec) software called Dirac in an open-source project aimed at providing a royalty-free way to distribute video. The sums at stake are potentially huge because the software industry insists on payment per viewer, per hour of encoded content. This contrasts with TV technology, for which viewers and broadcasters alike make a one-off royalties payment when they buy their equipment."
We've mentioned this project before
but this story goes into a bit more depth about the goals and motivations of the developers.