Christopher Blizzard has a great article about H.264 and what it might mean if it becomes the de-facto standard for video on the web.
Remember, this is still very early in H.264â€™s history so the licensing is very friendly, just like it used to be for MP3. The companies who own the IP in these large patent pools arenâ€™t in this for the fun of it â€“ this is what they do. They patent and they enforce and then enjoy the royalties. If they are in a position to charge more, they will. We can expect that if we allow H.264 to become a fundamental web technology that weâ€™ll see license requirements get more onerous and more expensive over time, with little recourse.