Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 10th Mar 2013 13:07 UTC
Multimedia, AV A few days ago, Google and the MPEG-LA announced that they had come to an agreement under which Google received a license for techniques in VP8 that may infringe upon MPEG-LA patents (note the 'if any'). Only a few days later, we learn the real reason behind Google and the MPEG-LA striking a deal, thanks to The H Open, making it clear that the MPEG-LA has lost. Big time. Update: Chris Montgomery: "The wording suggests Google paid some money to grease this along, and the agreement wording is interesting [and instructive] but make no mistake: Google won. Full stop."
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RE[2]: Wrong link?
by Alfman on Sun 10th Mar 2013 14:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Wrong link?"
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

To be honest, I'm a bit confused as to what the new evidence is that caused you to write this article and say that MPEG LA bluffed.

We didn't uncover the (edit: details of the) arrangement between google and the MPEG LA, so what did they bluff on? I'm confused.

Edited 2013-03-10 14:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Wrong link?
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 10th Mar 2013 15:07 in reply to "RE[2]: Wrong link?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

The MPEG-LA's bluff: VP8 is patent encumbered, so please use H.264 (which makes us money), or else we'll sue you.

The only problem: the MPEG-La doesn't have any patents. They've never disclosed any, and neither has anyone else. On2 has always maintained it designed around MPEG-LA's patents, and no one has ever been able to disprove this. In other words, the MPEG-LA bluffed.

Google could have happily continued without ever addressing the MPEG-LA's blustering (On2 had been doing that successfully for a decade anyway), but instead, they did the smart thing and made and agreement with MPEG-LA - and with that agreement, VP8 became a better option than H.264 (legally). VP8 is now free and unencumbered for more users (it covers EVERYONE, not just those with a license with the MPEG-LA) and in more usage scenarios (not just non-commercial, but also commercial) and in more situations (web, device, software, whatever) than H.264.

Many of use already regarded it that way, but with this agreement, companies who (rightfully!) feared legal repercussions from the MPEG-LA are safe. A huge stride forward for VP8.

The MPEG-LA gets money for every device, software, service, etc. that ships with H.264 built-in. They get nothing for every VP8 device, software, service, etc. - a significant regression. Had the MPEG-LA's threats had any substance, they would have never agreed to this.

So, bluff called, Google won - we all won.

Edited 2013-03-10 15:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 17

RE[4]: Wrong link?
by Nelson on Sun 10th Mar 2013 15:35 in reply to "RE[3]: Wrong link?"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Google licensing the MPEG LA's patents in no way imposed their licensing strategy for a related technology (H264), its no surprise then, that Google chose not to monetize VP8.

As long as Google is licensing, the MPEG LA doesn't really care. You pay an H264 license under limited circumstances as a content distributor for the convenience of having ubiquitous video distribution. H264 is in everything.

The MPEG LA monetizes the premise of ubiquity, not the value of the patents (and, presumably not every patent held by pool member applies to VP8), so it is an unfair comparison.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Wrong link?
by Alfman on Sun 10th Mar 2013 15:41 in reply to "RE[3]: Wrong link?"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Thom Holwerda,

"The only problem: the MPEG-La doesn't have any patents. They've never disclosed any, and neither has anyone else. On2 has always maintained it designed around MPEG-LA's patents, and no one has ever been able to disprove this. In other words, the MPEG-LA bluffed."

I hate to resort to pedantry here, but lack of proof for one side doesn't prove the other. How do you know they bluffed? Me of all people would be happy about it if it were true, but I don't want to start telling people it's true without something substantial to back it up.


"The MPEG-LA gets money for every device, software, service, etc. that ships with H.264 built-in. They get nothing for every VP8 device, software, service, etc. - a significant regression. Had the MPEG-LA's threats had any substance, they would have never agreed to this."

I don't suppose we'll ever find out what the terms were between google and MPEG-LA. It would shed a lot of light on the matter if we knew whether or not there was a lump sum payment.



"So, bluff called, Google won - we all won."

Regardless of what happened behind the curtains, this seems like a very good outcome.

Edited 2013-03-10 15:44 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2