Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Mar 2012 19:37 UTC
Internet & Networking Ever since it became clear that Google was not going to push WebM as hard as they should have, the day would come that Mozilla would be forced to abandon its ideals because the large technology companies don't care about an open, unencumbered web. No decision has been made just yet, but Mozilla is taking its first strides to adding support for the native H.264 codecs installed on users' mobile systems. See it as a thank you to Mozilla for all they've done for the web.
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RE[2]: Whatevs.
by lemur2 on Wed 14th Mar 2012 22:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Whatevs."
Member since:

"There's no such things as patent-proof video or audio codecs.

I've grown so tired of this debate... The ENTIRE point of Google buying On2 and releasing webm in the manner they did was to create (by fiat) a patent-proof video and audo codec.

The plan is/was:

1. Google releases webm in the most nonrestrictive manner possible. Does it infringe on existing patents? Hopefully not, but it really does not matter in the long run... see 2.

2. Convince a large enough group of other technology companies to support it openly. Those companies that feel the yoke of the current licensing regime being the most likely to jump on board.

We are still stalled at 2, but it isn't over yet...

If you get enough technology companies to jump on board patents DO NOT MATTER. Why? Because those companies all individually hold patents too, and if you get a big enough pool then anyone attacking it in court is risking their own livelihood to do so... It is simply playing the MPEG-LA game in reverse. Is it dirty and underhanded? Sure it is - but that is simply how the game is played...

The only way to create a patent proof video codec is to scare the current licensing regime into leaving you alone... Maybe webm is actually non-infringing - but that doesn't make anyone feel safe and it is no guarantee. But a large, powerful group of companies backing it? Support for it would snowball quite rapidly, because that would act as a litigation deterrent (plus it is free).

So now I hear "But it might infringe on patents! It's therefore not patent proof"...

I'm sorry, but patent proof doesn't mean what you think it means. What it actually means is that enough companies (with their own patent portfolios) support it so that it is impossible to attack in court with anything short of a darkhorse patent (a patent held by a small player with little or nothing to lose that no one already knows about).

The question then is actually "Are there any darkhorse patents?" Maybe, but highly unlikely.

The ones held in the MPEG-LA patent pool? Everyone knows about those. They have known about them since day one. They simply do not matter (assuming the tipping point is reached in support) because they either:

1. Don't matter because webm doesn't infringe.
2. Will just get settled anyway because no one will be willing to go nuclear at that point.


Here is the WebM patent consortium, BTW:

Here is the member list:

When Google completes its purchase of Motorola Mobility, then that name also will be added to that list.

Motorola Mobility happens to own quite a number of the patents surrounding h.264, I believe.

There is also the very large group of companies in the OIN, whose patent pool covers the "Linux System:. Recently the definition of what is meant, exactly, by the term "Linux System" has been greatly expanded.

It turns out that, except for Sony and Philips, this expanded definition does include codecs.

So the OIN patent cross-licensing pool now includes patents about codes from all of the following companies except Sony and Philips:

Edited 2012-03-14 22:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6