Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 25th Mar 2013 21:09 UTC
Legal Late last week, Nokia dropped what many consider to be a bomb on the WebM project: a list of patents that VP8 supposedly infringes in the form of an IETF IPR declaration. The list has made the rounds around the web, often reported as proof that VP8 infringes upon Nokia's patents. All this stuff rang a bell. Haven't we been here before? Yup, we have, with another open source codec called Opus. Qualcomm and Huawei made the same claims as Nokia did, but they turned out to be complete bogus. As it turns out, this is standard practice in the dirty business of the patent licensing industry.
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by MechaShiva on Mon 25th Mar 2013 23:09 UTC
Member since:

The patent patrol is out en force judging by the early comments.

Look, I'm in favor of protecting intellectual property rights (FLOSS wouldn't be possible without such protections) but software patents give me the willies. They tend to be so nebulous as to be useless for purposes other than protection racket schemes. With that said, I look at something like this as kind of a good thing.

For starters, what the IETF is looking to implement is an inherently good thing. It's a royalty free codec that allows for communication using the web that implements methods previously exclusive to proprietary methods. Considering the heady idealism that fueled the early internet, this is a logical continuation. Anyone can run their own web server, mail server, chat server, etc. so why not person to person video chat? Why not plugin-less video/audio? Why not create an experience that provides a great baseline for everyone who has access? This certainly doesn't preclude anyone for extending things to enhance it further.

These days, the internet is incredibly personal and incredibly corporate at the same time. Settling on a lowest common denominator for audio/video enables it to continue in that uneasy lock step. If Nokia wants to assert rights over that lowest common denominator video codec, better now that later.

If they are right and VP8 does infringe on their rights, then those "violations" can be coded around and we can achieve the ideal. If not, then we can proceed without that encumbrance. I don't think this changes the end game at all.

So, all of that to say I hope things are sorted out and progress can proceed.

Edited 2013-03-25 23:10 UTC

Reply Score: 15

RE: Wow
by Kochise on Tue 26th Mar 2013 10:11 in reply to "Wow"
Kochise Member since:

What would be really cool about this patent mess, is to simply change some rules :

1- Claiming you have patents under the hood and keeping them secret shouldn't be enough. Each time a company claims for holding a patent, they should open it for review.

2- If the claim was wrong, the patent is automatically invalidated and thrown into public domain : never leave a robber with its weapon !

3- If some FUD was successful in the past, some anti-litigation contracts signed, and the patent is finally found to be invalid, let's the tolling company payback the fees... twice !

These simple 3 rules would make the claiming companies a bit more accurate before making great noise.


Edited 2013-03-26 10:13 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Wow
by gagol on Wed 27th Mar 2013 05:27 in reply to "Wow"
gagol Member since:

I think software should be protected by copyright, not patents. It is a bit like patenting story ideas. Can you imagine a world in which you have to pay royalties to Romero each time you create something involving zombies?

Reply Parent Score: 1