Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 11th Feb 2011 16:00 UTC, submitted by aa
Multimedia, AV Well, well, well. The MPEG-LA is showing its true colours. After a decade of threatening to patent troll the living heck out of Theora, the company led by a patent troll has now finally put its money where its mouth is. Well, sort of. They don't actually have any patents yet, they're asking people to submit patents they believe are essential to the VP8 specification. Update: MPEG (so not the MPEG-LA) has announced its intent to develop a new video compression standard for the web which will be royalty-free. "The new standard is intended to achieve substantially better compression performance than that offered by MPEG-2 and possibly comparable to that offered by the AVC Baseline Profile. MPEG will issue a call for proposals on video compression technology at the end of its upcoming meeting in March 2011 that is expected to lead to a standard falling under ISO/IEC 'Type-1 licensing', i.e. intended to be 'royalty free'."
Thread beginning with comment 462243
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Comment by smitty
by smitty on Sat 12th Feb 2011 06:50 UTC
smitty
Member since:
2005-10-13

So this basically means that they don't currently have any patents, right? They're basically asking everyone out there to see if anyone else does.

We'll see what happens. Best case scenario is that they can't find anything, and VP8 gets considered a lot safer. That would probably be enough for MS to include the codec into Windows/IE9. As well as give Apple a face-saving opportunity if they wish to stand down from their stance. Worst case, I guess we all find out that VP8 is heavily patented, but at least we all find out now and not 5 years from now when everything depends on it.

MPEG-LA is clearly seeing that VP8 is about to take off, this is their only chance to stop it.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by smitty
by pgeorgi on Sat 12th Feb 2011 08:55 in reply to "Comment by smitty"
pgeorgi Member since:
2010-02-18

MPEG-LA is clearly seeing that VP8 is about to take off, this is their only chance to stop it.

I doubt their interest is in stopping VP8. They merely want to get their share

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by smitty
by lemur2 on Sat 12th Feb 2011 11:49 in reply to "RE: Comment by smitty"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"MPEG-LA is clearly seeing that VP8 is about to take off, this is their only chance to stop it.

I doubt their interest is in stopping VP8. They merely want to get their share
"

They don't have a share of WebM.

I'm not saying they don't want to take a share, I'm saying only that they don't have one.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by smitty
by steogede2 on Mon 14th Feb 2011 12:52 in reply to "RE: Comment by smitty"
steogede2 Member since:
2007-08-17

"MPEG-LA is clearly seeing that VP8 is about to take off, this is their only chance to stop it.

I doubt their interest is in stopping VP8. They merely want to get their share
"

If VP8 really takes off, then the number of organisations willing to pay to licence h.264 is going to shrink drastically. They don't want a share of nothing (VP8 licencing revenue), they want to keep the market all to themselves. MPEG-LA might be a small threat to Google's profitability, but Google/VP8 could all but destroy MPEG-LA.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by smitty
by vodoomoth on Sat 12th Feb 2011 12:37 in reply to "Comment by smitty"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

So this basically means that they don't currently have any patents, right? They're basically asking everyone out there to see if anyone else does.

Yes. Which makes me wonder how this will play out in a court of law before the judge (and jury if applicable in this kind of cases). I know that if I were a member of that jury, knowing of this "call for patents in order to sue" would be enough for me to disregard the complaints even if they would have otherwise been perfectly legitimate. But I also know the judiciary system doesn't allow that kind of superficial assessment or reaction from a juror... does it?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by smitty
by lemur2 on Sat 12th Feb 2011 13:59 in reply to "RE: Comment by smitty"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"So this basically means that they don't currently have any patents, right? They're basically asking everyone out there to see if anyone else does.

Yes. Which makes me wonder how this will play out in a court of law before the judge (and jury if applicable in this kind of cases). I know that if I were a member of that jury, knowing of this "call for patents in order to sue" would be enough for me to disregard the complaints even if they would have otherwise been perfectly legitimate. But I also know the judiciary system doesn't allow that kind of superficial assessment or reaction from a juror... does it?
"

I think that there is a law that applies almost perfectly to what MPEG LA seem to be trying to do here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortious_interference

Google does have a number of perfectly legal business relationships with this set of companies and organisations:
http://www.webmproject.org/about/supporters/

Google's relationship with those companies is based on the WebM technology being offered perpetually to everyone worldwide, no charge, irrevocably and royalty free.

It seems to be a slam dunk case that MPEG LA are trying to interfere with those relationships.

Reply Parent Score: 2