Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 7th Mar 2013 20:47 UTC
Legal "Google and MPEG LA announced today that they have entered into agreements granting Google a license to techniques that may be essential to VP8 and earlier-generation VPx video compression technologies under patents owned by 11 patent holders. The agreements also grant Google the right to sublicense those techniques to any user of VP8, whether the VP8 implementation is by Google or another entity. It further provides for sublicensing those VP8 techniques in one next-generation VPx video codec. As a result of the agreements, MPEG LA will discontinue its effort to form a VP8 patent pool." The word that stood out to me: the auxiliary verb 'may', which has a rather low epistemic modality. To me, this indicates that this is not so much a clear-cut case of VP8 infringing upon patents, but more a precautionary move on Google's part.
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Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 20:53 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

It is an implicit admission of what people have been saying all along, that it ranges from unlikely to impossible that VP8 doesn't infringe at least on some of the innovations covered by the MPEG LA patent pool.

It was always foolish for some of the VP8 proponents to claim that it wasn't a patent encumbered implementation simply because Google told them so.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Comment by Nelson
by Alfman on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:03 UTC in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

I agree, but in any case this seems like a good outcome.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Generally these royalties are very, very small and the whole point of the MPEG LA is to facilitate their licensing.

I would've been surprised if Google picked this fight. I'm glad this ended well, as all patent disputes should.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by some1 on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
some1 Member since:
2010-10-05

No, they are not that small. E.g. MPEG2 rate is $2.00 per encoder/decoder/consumer product, and that's a new and reduced rate: http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/M2/Documents/m2web_licenseterms...
These days this is a big part of even a hardware player costs, not to mention software: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/how-much-do-dvd-and-digital-media-pl...
It's true that, say, MPEG4 and H.264 have lower costs, but they are not guaranteed to stay at this level, and are still quite expensive for free (as in beer) software.

To answer some other FUD you're spreading:

* There's, of course, zero probability that there are no patent holders that would want to try suing Google. What's hard to say is if those patent holders have any valid patents covering VP8 format or its implementation. We still don't know that. We know there are at least 11 holders claiming they have relevant IP, but such claims are often wrong (e.g. see recent claims re Opus). Without knowing specific patents we can only speculate.

* On2 never claimed there's no IP covering their codecs. They claimed they own all necessary IP. This is what "patent unencumbered" meant.

* MPEG LA has multiple patent pools. They don't claim that any existing pool (e.g. MPEG2 or H.264) covers VP8. That's why they announced creation of a new pool, which wasn't too successful, but now they are ditching it anyway.

Reply Score: 6

FUD (but so what?)
by ndrw on Fri 8th Mar 2013 18:52 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Nelson"
ndrw Member since:
2009-06-30

I think everyone, even MPEG LA, agrees that the possibility of exploitable patents being infringed in VP8 is minimal. The deal actually confirms it - MPEG LA would have never given VP8 green light if they had a real chance to stop it.

But, the risk of losing a court case is not the same as having one. The latter is much higher and potential damage is only slightly smaller. It doesn't matter if you go bust because of a $10M penalty or $0.1M costs of defending yourself.

Big companies (like Google or Samsung) don't care because the can afford the cost of a court battle. It does not affect individuals because the only thing MPEG LA can do with millions of "infringers" is to spread FUD. But there are a lot of middle-size companies that could have shipped products using VP8 but have instead decided to pay a couple of bucks for h.264 license to avoid spending $100k on lawyers. This deal takes the risk of having a legal action away, and clearly Google expects this will bring more VP8-enabled products and services to the market.

Reply Score: 4

RE: FUD (but so what?)
by jared_wilkes on Fri 8th Mar 2013 19:43 UTC in reply to "FUD (but so what?)"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

"I think everyone..."

Stop right there! You've already shown your thinking to be faulty.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Nelson
by No it isnt on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:18 UTC in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Depending entirely on what lottery numbers Google and MPEG LA are handed out before a patent lawsuit. Unlikely to impossible? Hardly.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

You're quite obviously right, given that Google didn't sign an agreeme- Oh wait, oops.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by No it isnt on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Getting the matter out of the way is likely cheaper than suffering under the FUD created by a potential lawsuit.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:40 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Would it still be FUD if Google was found to infringe on the MPEG LA's patents?

Just wondering.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by segedunum on Fri 8th Mar 2013 10:23 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Nelson"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Would it still be FUD if Google was found to infringe on the MPEG LA's patents?

You're spouting circular nonsense.

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: Comment by Nelson
by jrincayc on Fri 8th Mar 2013 13:54 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Nelson"
jrincayc Member since:
2007-07-24

If Google was found to infringe MPEG LA's patents, then it would not be Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, it would be true (at least in some legal sense).

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by Nelson
by segedunum on Fri 8th Mar 2013 19:43 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Nelson"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

If Google was found to infringe MPEG LA's patents, then it would not be Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, it would be true (at least in some legal sense).

See that word I've highlighted there? I assume you didn't see that in the original post above.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by Vanders on Fri 8th Mar 2013 10:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

You're quite obviously right, given that Google didn't sign an agreeme- Oh wait, oops.

Hang on, back up: before today whenever VP8 or WebM were mentioned it was inevitable that 50% of the discussion would be something along the lines of "Waaa! VP8 must violate MPEG-LA patents! Why won't Google do anything about it?!". Now that Google have done something about it, you're now complaining about that?

Why don't you just get straight to the point and say "I don't like Google so I'm going to be negative about absolutely everything they do." and we can avoid all this extra waffle?

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by Nelson
by robmv on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:39 UTC in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
robmv Member since:
2006-08-12

Or that some VP8 patents now owned by Google are needed by MPEG LA covered technologies, yes On2 technologies had patents too before MPEG4 become so many entrenched.

I only find possible that this is happening because both parts have a lot of power (patent based) or some Google friends members of the MPEG LA group want peace

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

I thought VP8 was not patent encumbered? Kinda throws that right out of the window.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by RshPL on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
RshPL Member since:
2009-03-13

Question raises: is it possible to write even simplest software that is not patent encumbered for sure?

In my opinion it is very doubtful, that is why the big players build up their patent portfolios. FUD is the reason.

I would suggest that saying that VP8 is not patent encumbered really means that it is not practically patent encumbered. (as weird as it sounds)

Edited 2013-03-07 21:53 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

No. Which makes the hilarious comments some people made when VP8 was announced even funnier. This is an impossibility.

You can argue about VP8 having better technical merits, but what you can't do is claim immunity from patent litigation. It is just at odds with reality.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by M.Onty on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Nelson"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

Yes, so long as you make it clear its intended for use outside of America.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by TechGeek on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

I thought VP8 was not patent encumbered? Kinda throws that right out of the window.



No it doesnt. What it does is avoid costly litigation to prove it one way or the other. But considering how long the MPEG-LA have been asking for patents to use against Google, if they had anything concrete, they would have already gone to court. The real question is will this allow Google to use VP8 as an open source codec like it planned.

Google may have been completely right about VP8 all along. But sometimes its just cheaper to settle.

Reply Score: 8

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29


No it doesnt. What it does is avoid costly litigation to prove it one way or the other. But considering how long the MPEG-LA have been asking for patents to use against Google, if they had anything concrete, they would have already gone to court. The real question is will this allow Google to use VP8 as an open source codec like it planned.

Google may have been completely right about VP8 all along. But sometimes its just cheaper to settle.


Sometimes it's cheaper for Google to stop pretending it is above patent law. I don't know if VP8 infringes on H264 patents or not, but what is obviously clear is that it is absurd to claim it infringes on no patents at all. That's just not a reality.

To diss H264 for being patent encumbered while praising VP8 for not being patent encumbered is wrong. The fact of the matter is, it likely does infringe on some patent, some where, by somebody. So selling people on the premise that it is some sort of patent sanctuary is inaccurate.

Google is the same company that went up against Sun. If Google thought they genuinely had a chance to invalidate a bunch of MPEG LA patents, it would've jumped at the chance. That's peanuts compared to the upside for Google.

They likely determined that VP8 probably infringed on patents, and took a license.

Reply Score: 0

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by RshPL on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:27 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Nelson"
RshPL Member since:
2009-03-13

To defend the devil, H264 could be as vulnerable to OnTech patents as VP8 is to MPEG-LA ones. That gives some amount of safety. While patent sanctuary is definitely a stretch, one should not succumb to FUD - and that is what Google in my opinion is fighting for.

As we established in other thread, anything could be patent encumbered so why not make a case for not using zlib, XML or any other technology now widely in use.

Let's not succumb to FUD.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Comment by Nelson
by lemur2 on Fri 8th Mar 2013 02:12 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Nelson"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

To defend the devil, H264 could be as vulnerable to OnTech patents as VP8 is to MPEG-LA ones.


Precisely. The whole arrangement seems to be simply a case of agreeing that "You don't sue me, and I won't sue you".

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Fri 8th Mar 2013 02:47 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Where's the line about MPEGLA or any of its licensors taking a license for ON2 technologies?

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by Lobotomik on Fri 8th Mar 2013 11:11 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Nelson"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

They likely decided that they were infringing, so they took a free unlimited license for current and future versions of their codec, for any possible user or implementor in the world, present or future?

Yes, that is what's most likely.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

They now have an agreement in hand that says Google is paying them for IP... That Google that said it was completely free monetarily and of other people's patents.

I would say that's pretty damn concrete, more concrete than a legal action.

Also, the fact that MPEGLA did reach an agreement with a competing format belies that, in fact, that format is not remotely superior and in no way poses a threat.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by some1 on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:45 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Nelson"
some1 Member since:
2010-10-05

How do you know they are paying? I don't suppose you've read the licensing terms?

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:54 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Yes, you and your denial are right -- MPEGLA granted them free licenses.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by Valhalla on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:03 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Nelson"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

I would say that's pretty damn concrete, more concrete than a legal action.

No it's not. It could easily mean that they just don't want any drawn out patent disputes in court to throw a wrench into vp8 being used as a web video standard.

Also, the fact that MPEGLA did reach an agreement with a competing format belies that, in fact, that format is not remotely superior and in no way poses a threat.

You can be certain that just as MPEGLA contains broad patents which can apply to methods used in VP8, the same goes for the many patents On2/Motorola has in regards to methods used by MPEGLA patent holders.

As for vp8, no, it's not superior to h264, atleast not in quality per bit. However it's not far off (there's been alot of improvements in VP8 these past years) and vp8 is primarily aimed at web video, and from what I've read it's very impressive in terms of 'real-time' video.

Obviously this is why Google bought On2 to begin with, they want their own codec which they can develop to be as effective as possible for the services they provide, it's not as if they will be doing less online video transfer in the future (Google Glass says hello).

Thankfully they are being (as often) generous and are releasing this as a royalty free open source codec which can be used by anyone.

The next iteration of h264 is h265, and the next iteration of vp8 is vp9, both are in active development and it's pretty impossible to gauge their quality against eachother due to their state of flux in regards to effectiveness/tuning but needless to say they both already improve on their predecessors.

When the vp9 specification is finally frozen it will be interesting to see if Google will need to make another patent agreement with MPEGLA or if they already took care of any possibly infringing patents in the existing agreement.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:11 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

It's not free. It's underwritten by Google. It is not patent free. Google owns patents and has granted everyone access. And they have licensed MPEGLA patents and they will pay for that licensing for everyone that wants to use it. For an inferior format. This whole thing is a huge joke, and Google should feel embarassed at how silly and pointless this whole attempt was. Mozilla and Opera should feel like complete morons for jumping on it.

If you want to think that is a free and patent-free format that is useful for the web, have fun with that.

Edited 2013-03-07 23:22 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE[7]: Comment by Nelson
by Valhalla on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:29 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Nelson"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

It's not free. It's underwritten by Google. It is not patent free. Google owns patent and has granted everyone access. And they have licensed MPEGLA patents and they will pay for that licensing for everyone that wants to use it. For an inferior format. This whole thing is a huge joke, and Google should feel embarassed at how silly and pointless this whole attempt was.


Wow, I didn't think anyone could spout more irrational hatred towards Google than Nelson has done on occasions in the past, but you take the cake.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Comment by Nelson
by some1 on Fri 8th Mar 2013 00:01 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Nelson"
some1 Member since:
2010-10-05

It's not free. ...Google owns patents and has granted everyone access.

That's what free means: free for everyone to use. Nothing is ever free to produce. VP8 already was not free for Google: it had to buy On2, pay to engineers, marketing etc.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by Lobotomik on Fri 8th Mar 2013 11:15 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Nelson"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

I think "belies" does not mean what you think it means.

I think the fact that Google got such an expansive license from MPEGLA belies MPEGLA's statements that VP8 infringes important patents.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Fri 8th Mar 2013 17:37 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

I think "belies" means contradicts the intended appearance revealing its true nature. What do you think it means?

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by lemur2 on Fri 8th Mar 2013 01:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I thought VP8 was not patent encumbered? Kinda throws that right out of the window.


You are partly correct ... VP8 is patent encumbered, but Google gives everyone an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free license to use the patents embedded in VP8 which Google owns.


11 companies apparently had ambit claims that they had patented techniques which also applied to VP8. To head off possible (dubious) claims of infringement and subsequent lawsuits, without any admission that those techniques do apply:

FTA:
The agreements also grant Google the right to sublicense those techniques to any user of VP8, whether the VP8 implementation is by Google or another entity.


So the situation remains almost as before ... anyone and everyone still has an irrevocable, perpetual royalty-free right to use and/or implement VP8. The only difference now is that the vague threat from MPEG LA of lawsuits against VP8 has now been eliminated as a possibility.

So you might say that any threat of a lawsuit has been thrown right out of the window.

Edited 2013-03-08 02:01 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by Lobotomik on Fri 8th Mar 2013 11:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

Could it mean that it is MPEG who is patent encumbered? Either that or VP8 infringes no MPEG-LA patents. Or why else have they deposed their weapons in exchange for nothing?

What is certain is that you're clueless, and for some unfathomable reason full of love for MPEG-LA and full of hate for Google.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Nelson
by Valhalla on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:02 UTC in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

Stop equaling granted software patents with innovations, as we've seen countless times in the past these patents are very often being granted without being the least bit innovative.

Obviously VP8 is potentially infringing on other software patents given how broad and widely defined they are by conscious design, same goes for h264/h265 and sadly practically all other software out there.

That does not mean that they are in fact infringing. This has to be decided in court (hopefully by a skilled judge and jury). I have no doubt that under courtroom scrutiny extremely few granted software patents will remain valid.

Still I think this is a wise move by Google, and a great day for the idea of a free open source royalty free web video standard.

With the potential patent threat thwarted we can finally have a standard that runs across all browsers without anyone having to pay a licence fee to implement it, same goes for anyone wanting to start a site serving online video in one form or another.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

After today, it's no longer free. Or at least for Google and the sublicensees. Anyone else is still under legal threat.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by some1 on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
some1 Member since:
2010-10-05

We don't know how much it cost for Google (if anything), but it's free for everyone using the license:
http://blog.webmproject.org/2013/03/vp8-and-mpeg-la.html
http://www.webmproject.org/license/additional/

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Well, sure, if they get a license from Google. Ultimately, Google will have to remunerate underwriting a paid format someday though -- they are a public company.

But yes, I noticed that sublicensees will receive a license for free but I was too late to edit.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by some1 on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:41 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Nelson"
some1 Member since:
2010-10-05

There's nothing stopping a public company to give out something for free, even if they had to pay for it, as long as they can convince shareholders that this will generate revenue or reduce costs in the long run.

E.g. whatever the cost of VP8 license was to Google can be much cheaper than H.264 rate for running YouTube.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Fri 8th Mar 2013 00:40 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

How do you know what they're paying? I assume you've read the license... oh wait, that only works if you're saying it, right?

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by Nelson
by some1 on Fri 8th Mar 2013 00:48 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Nelson"
some1 Member since:
2010-10-05

I don't know how much, if anything, they are paying, which is why I say this is a possibility, not a fact. You claim facts.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by Valhalla on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

After today, it's no longer free. Or at least for Google and the sublicensees. Anyone else is still under legal threat.

What are you babbling about?

This agreement allows for Google to sublicense the techniques to any user of VP8, whether the VP8 implementation is by Google or another entity; this means that users can develop independent implementations of VP8 and still enjoy coverage under the sublicenses.

Google intends to license the techniques under terms that are in line with the W3C’s definition of a Royalty Free License. This definition can be found here: http://www.w3.org/2001/07/SVG10-IPR-statements We anticipate having the sublicense ready in the next few weeks. The terms will appear on the WebM Project website at http://webmproject.org


By using vp8 you become a sub-licencee, under the terms of w3c's royalty free licence.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

I already acknowledged my error about sublicensees but was unable to edit it quick enough.

I'm unsure of the legalese necessary for Google to claim its royalty-free if they are paying the royalties themselves. If you want to think that's "free", that's fine. I will still classify it as paid for by Google.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Stop equaling granted software patents with innovations, as we've seen countless times in the past these patents are very often being granted without being the least bit innovative.


That's how the system works. You apply for a patent, if it passes some basic scrunity you're granted a patent, and if someone else feels it is invalid, they can ask the relevant Governmental agencies to make a determination in that regard.

Just because you view some of them as frivolous and invalid (and I don't disagree) it does not mean that they are all bad.


Obviously VP8 is potentially infringing on other software patents given how broad and widely defined they are by conscious design, same goes for h264/h265 and sadly practically all other software out there.


Correct. H264 never claimed that they were an unencumbered spec. What they do have is infrastructure in place to license the thousand or so patents that make up the spec. In addition, they are also a central place for future patent holders to be included in the pool.


That does not mean that they are in fact infringing. This has to be decided in court (hopefully by a skilled judge and jury). I have no doubt that under courtroom scrutiny extremely few granted software patents will remain valid.


We hold the same position. Patents are granted by the USPTO, but validated by a Judge or some government panel.


Still I think this is a wise move by Google, and a great day for the idea of a free open source royalty free web video standard.


Of course its a wise move. They avoid going to court. I'd argue it was their only sensible move.


With the potential patent threat thwarted we can finally have a standard that runs across all browsers without anyone having to pay a licence fee to implement it, same goes for anyone wanting to start a site serving online video in one form or another.


Thanks to Google doing what some more sensible people have been advocating all along: Taking a license.

If Google would do this with Android, Thom would run out of patent articles to write about. They need to take a license.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Nelson
by shmerl on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:03 UTC in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

it ranges from unlikely to impossible that VP8 doesn't infringe at least on some of the innovations covered by the MPEG LA patent pool.


I don't think so. Looks more like Google paying these trolls to stop spreading FUD (so Apple and MS would have no lame excuses to avoid VPx because of "uncertainty"). Trolls are happy to get the money of course, but this whole thing doesn't prove anything about actual codec and whether it's patent encumbered or not. If Google actually licensed some patents - they should be disclosed in order to evaluate whether they apply or not.

I suspect Google won't disclose anything, because they didn't license any patents. They just paid the trolls so they would bug off. It's kind of good and bad. Good since VP8 can be more widely adopted, and bad since it only encourages further patent racket. I think not feeding the trolls would be a better approach in the long term.

Edited 2013-03-07 22:10 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Hey, I'm cool with whatever rationale you think of. If you want to think that Google is paying somebody else money because Google is in a position of leverage, then so be it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Someone has trouble with reading: "they have entered into agreements granting Google a license to techniques that may be essential to VP8 and earlier-generation VPx video compression technologies under patents owned by 11 patent holders."

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by shmerl on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

So, what are those patents? Until this information is published, all the above are just empty words.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:48 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

The announcement specifies licensing of techniques covered by patents owned by 11 different organizations.

I don't see what is speculative about saying that Google has paid for and acknowledged that VP8 is not patent-free or monetarily-free.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by shmerl on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:50 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Nelson"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

what is speculative about saying that Google has paid for and acknowledged that VP8 is not patent-free or monetarily-free.


Because that's not how it was worded. The only solid evidence would be those patents explicitly listed.

Edited 2013-03-07 22:50 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:52 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

This is never how it works. Ever.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Comment by Nelson
by shmerl on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:55 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Nelson"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

They can claim whatever, like owning the moon. Without proof - all those are empty words.

When patents are disclosed, they can be evaluated (whether they really apply or not). Like in case of the Opus audio codec and bogus claims by Huawei and Qualcom.

Edited 2013-03-07 22:55 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:59 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Nelson"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

May.

MAY.

Low epistemic modality, i.e., techniques that POSSIBLY are essential to VP8. If they were certain, MPEG-LA wouldn't have used this particular auxiliary verb.

May. Look it up.

Edited 2013-03-07 23:00 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:04 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Parsing the words of a PR press release to try to play a semantics game.

Everyone else in this thread has their own rationale for how this is somehow good for Google, but you have by far the funniest.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Comment by Nelson
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:11 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Nelson"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

There you go again, putting words in my mouth I have never said. I thought we went over this.

I never said anything about this being good for Google, so please do not lie about me having done so.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:16 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Everything about the statement says: we'll let you craft this statement to save as much face as possible but everyone will know and understand the truth -- that you are licensing patents that you need for your format.

That's the most positive thing out of this for Google: they got to word the announcement.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Comment by Nelson
by Vanders on Fri 8th Mar 2013 10:36 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Nelson"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

Everything about the statement says: we'll let you craft this statement to save as much face as possible but everyone will know and understand the truth -- that you are licensing patents that you need for your format.

The statement is so short is basically says nothing at all, other than "One of us agreed not to sue the other one."

To me it seems that as it covers sub-licensing and because it was done so quietly and quickly, Google were probably in a strong position: On2 held video codec patents too you know.

Either way, the fact is now that VP8 and WebM are in an even stronger position. The argument of "I can't use VP8 because of possible patent issues" is now invalid. I look forward to seeing Apples response to this.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by TechGeek on Fri 8th Mar 2013 02:15 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Nelson"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

It says that Google licensed 11 patents, that *MAY* cover vp8. There is no admission by Google that it does.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

Also, Google is risking Google Maps being completely shut down in Germany, on mobile including competing platforms and on the web, because they are unwilling to let Motorola become one of the last Android OEMS (excepting Samsung) to license Microsoft patents... The suggestion that they have a strong case in VP8 vs. MPEGLA but just decided to cave to end the FUD (which has been completely nonexistent since shortly after Google's announcements because VP8 has gone no where, absolutely zero progress on the market place)... well, that's just special. And complete and utter denial.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by shmerl on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

which (FUD) has been completely nonexistent since shortly after Google's announcements


FUD was triggered by MPEG-LA saying "they are going after" blah, blah, blah. Apple and MS slyly said they aren't going to implement VPx since "it's risky". That's exactly how FUD was working until now. So Google tries to fix that. I see no evidence so far that there are some actual patents which affect VPx. WebM blog writes they'll publish more info later, so let's wait. But I suspect we might never get info about what patents Google licensed if any.

We anticipate having the terms of our sublicense ready in the next few weeks. When those terms are ready we will blog about them here, so watch this space.


Edited 2013-03-07 22:53 UTC

Reply Score: 2

it seems more like a ceasefire
by smashIt on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:00 UTC
smashIt
Member since:
2005-07-06

if the whole thing went to court there would most likle be a hand full of patents google infrigens wieth vp8

but there definitely would be many casualties among the MPEG-LAs patents

Reply Score: 2

RE: it seems more like a ceasefire
by aargh on Fri 8th Mar 2013 15:15 UTC in reply to "it seems more like a ceasefire"
aargh Member since:
2009-10-12

If there are millions of mosquitos attacking you, do you fight just to kill a few until you bleed to death or do you simply go inside the house and think how to solve the bigger problem of drying up the swamp?

Reply Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Drying up swamps creates its own share of problems ...one might also simply move.

Reply Score: 2

TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

if the whole thing went to court there would most likle be a hand full of patents google infrigens wieth vp8

but there definitely would be many casualties among the MPEG-LAs patents



I also think that some of the MPEG-LA codecs would be found infringing ON2 patents as well. While Google may be standing in a patent minefield, so is every other member of the MPEG-LA. One wrong step could lead to everyone getting blown up.

Reply Score: 3

No grear surprise.
by westlake on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:54 UTC
westlake
Member since:
2010-01-07

There are about thirty H.264 licensors.

Giants in manufacturing and R&D, most of them. Mitsubishi, Philips, and so on.

1200 licensees.

For all practical purposes, the entire global video industry.

Every link in the chain from the video camera to the video display.

HEVC/H.265 is looking damn good. Too good for someone playing catch-up like Google.

Reply Score: 3

RE: No grear surprise.
by shmerl on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:56 UTC in reply to "No grear surprise."
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Golden ball and chain don't look that good.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Tractor
by Tractor on Fri 8th Mar 2013 09:39 UTC
Tractor
Member since:
2006-08-18

Well, as long as addition and multiplications can be patented, of course, there is no way VP8 and by the other any other software on Earth can exist without infringing those patents.

By the way, i've got a patent about answering to my comments. Sue you.

Reply Score: 2

Does anyone use VP8?
by Tony Swash on Fri 8th Mar 2013 13:58 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

Does anyone use VP8? That's a serious question, I don't follow the video codec saga closely, I lose interest when my brswser plays videos without a problem, and my not very well informed perception was that VP8 had not got much traction. Anyone know how wide spread VP8 usage is?

Reply Score: 4

RE: Does anyone use VP8?
by lemur2 on Sun 10th Mar 2013 07:27 UTC in reply to "Does anyone use VP8?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Does anyone use VP8? That's a serious question, I don't follow the video codec saga closely, I lose interest when my brswser plays videos without a problem, and my not very well informed perception was that VP8 had not got much traction. Anyone know how wide spread VP8 usage is?


Virtually all of Youtube video is encoded in VP8. If you get a "youtube downloader" extension (say for firefox), then you will see a .webm version as one of those available for download for almost every video.

Skype uses VP8.

All Android mobile devices since Gingerbread (version 2.3) support VP8.

http://blog.webmproject.org/

Thursday, November 8, 2012 : Sixth Generation VP8 Hardware Accelerators Released

The VP8 hardware cores have now been licensed to over 80 chip companies, and both the decoder and encoder are in mass production from a number of partners.

Reply Score: 3