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.
Thread beginning with comment 554557
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
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 Parent Score: 8

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:31 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 Parent Score: 0

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by RshPL on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:27 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by Lobotomik on Fri 8th Mar 2013 11:11 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:35 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by some1 on Thu 7th Mar 2013 22:45 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 Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by Valhalla on Thu 7th Mar 2013 23:03 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by Nelson
by Lobotomik on Fri 8th Mar 2013 11:15 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 Parent Score: 2