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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RE[9]: Comment by Nelson
by lindkvis on Fri 8th Mar 2013 12:58 UTC in reply to "RE[8]: Comment by Nelson"
lindkvis
Member since:
2006-11-21


The fact is that VP8 was erroneously paraded around as patent unencumbered, this isn't the case, made obvious by the royalty bearing license Google just took.


You're missing the obvious. MPEG-LA licenses are expensive. VP8 licenses, however, are given out free by Google and they have no idea of knowing how many licensees there are.

If MPEG-LA had a definite claim there is no way Google would have been able to get a full "royalty bearing license" to ship for free to an undetermined amount of people.

Since neither Google or MPEG-LA will ever know how many VP8 licensees there are, it also follows that the license can't possibly be "royalty bearing" (Royalty are usage-based payments).

What has happened here is that MPEG-LA did not have a definite claim, but Google couldn't be 100% sure. So both parties agreed to a license which is obviously much, much cheaper than if MPEG-LA had a definite claim.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[10]: Comment by Nelson
by jared_wilkes on Fri 8th Mar 2013 17:35 in reply to "RE[9]: Comment by Nelson"
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

You're missing the obvious. MPEG-LA licenses are expensive.


MPEG-LA licenses are not very expensive. There are caps for most things across the board and Google can easily afford them.

VP8 licenses, however, are given out free by Google and they have no idea of knowing how many licensees there are.


Of course, Google has plenty of means to know how many licenses are issued. They can directly measure their own device sales and they can monitor OEM sales too. Counting VP8 licenses is no more difficult than Microsoft counting mpeg licenses. In fact, since these companies are highly likely to hit caps, all they have to provide is a best-guess approximate up to the point they hit the cap, and then it's no longer a matter of counting.

If MPEG-LA had a definite claim there is no way Google would have been able to get a full "royalty bearing license" to ship for free to an undetermined amount of people.


Why not? MPEGLA just want their licenses. If they had a VP8, they would be responsible for seeking licensing from many vendors and it would be far more complex. With Google paying for everything, it's far more simple. So the current license could be as simple as their planned VP8 license pool but now they only need to account for one licenseee.

Since neither Google or MPEG-LA will ever know how many VP8 licensees there are, it also follows that the license can't possibly be "royalty bearing" (Royalty are usage-based payments).


I see no logic to this claim. Of course, Google can count licenses and of course the license agreement is certainly not free.

What has happened here is that MPEG-LA did not have a definite claim, but Google couldn't be 100% sure. So both parties agreed to a license which is obviously much, much cheaper than if MPEG-LA had a definite claim.


None of what you claim is obvious. It actually requires a bigger leap of faith and a ton more assumptions than a simple clear reading of the announcement.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[11]: Comment by Nelson
by lemur2 on Sun 10th Mar 2013 07:15 in reply to "RE[10]: Comment by Nelson"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Of course, Google has plenty of means to know how many licenses are issued. They can directly measure their own device sales and they can monitor OEM sales too.


This doesn't count developers (other than Google) writing their own code for VP8.

Here is Google's code, called libvpx:
http://www.webmproject.org/code/

Here is ffmpeg's code, called ffvp8:
http://x264dev.multimedia.cx/archives/499

VLC writes their own VP8 code, I believe, as does Mozilla and Skype.

How can Google possibly be expected to keep track of all these third parties writing VP8 code? It is true to say that all these parties are licensed for VP8, but that is because Google grants everybody an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free (zero cost) license to use and/or implement VP8.

All of these downstream third parties are now granted a license for the 11 patents from MPEG LA, also.

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.


Edited 2013-03-10 07:18 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3