Well, well, well. The MPEG-LA is showing its true colours. After a decade of threatening to patent troll the living heck out of Theora, the company led by a patent troll has now finally put its money where its mouth is. Well, sort of. They don’t actually have any patents yet, they’re asking people to submit patents they believe are essential to the VP8 specification. Update: MPEG (so not the MPEG-LA) has announced its intent to develop a new video compression standard for the web which will be royalty-free. “The new standard is intended to achieve substantially better compression performance than that offered by MPEG-2 and possibly comparable to that offered by the AVC Baseline Profile. MPEG will issue a call for proposals on video compression technology at the end of its upcoming meeting in March 2011 that is expected to lead to a standard falling under ISO/IEC ‘Type-1 licensing’, i.e. intended to be ‘royalty free’.”
For over a decade now, the MPEG-LA has been lobbing empty threats at Theora and the rest of the video world, with the goal to ingrain in the world’s collective consciousness the idea that you can’t create any video codec without stepping on the patents held by its licensors. Today, they started calling for people and companies to submit licenses that these people or companies believe might be essential to VP8.
“MPEG LA, LLC, world leader in alternative one-stop patent licenses, announces a call for patents essential to the VP8 video codec specification used to deliver video images. The VP8 video codec is defined by the WebM Project at http://www.webmproject.org,” the press release reads.
“In order to participate in the creation of, and determine licensing terms for, a joint VP8 patent license, any party that believes it has patents that are essential to the VP8 video codec specification is invited to submit them for a determination of their essentiality by MPEG LA’s patent evaluators,” it adds.
It would seem that the MPEG-LA is getting a little bit nervous. They’re looking at the massive market adoption of WebM/VP8 (browser majority, basically all chip makers except Intel), and they’re seeing their license to mafia the entire video industry into paying protection money go up in smoke.
Dance monkey, dance.