EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.19.10

EU: NoSoftwarePatents and FFII Respond to Google’s VP8 Announcement

Posted in Apple, Europe, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 2:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Camcorder in hands

Summary: Initial announcement, interpretation, and comments about the good news from Google

WITH Microsoft and Apple opposing Theora, while Google insinuated that it would support Free software, the following announcement from Google was inevitable and expected. VP8 is being liberated and regardless of the consequences (for Theora, for example), it is good news which is welcomed by opposers of software patents. Techrights too would like to thank Google (more detailed coverage coming soon).

For background, see:

Florian Müller has just mailed us some quick comments regarding Google’s WebM codec initiative and patents. He writes:

As the founder of the European NoSoftwarePatents campaign and author of the FOSS Patents blog http://fosspatents.blogspot.com (covering open source patent topics), I have some quick comment for you concerning Google’s unveiling of the WebM “open web media project” http://www.webmproject.org, which was announced today:

“Google says it holds certain patents on the VP8 video codec that is part of WebM but there’s no assurance that Google’s patents are the only patents required. What about patents that third parties could assert? While it appears to be a nice gesture if a major player releases software on open source terms, it’s imperative to perform a well-documented patent clearance.”

“Developers should be provided with detailed explanations why Google believes that no one adopting WebM will have to fear allegations of patent infringement. Otherwise those developers might be exposed to a considerable risk. It wouldn’t be possible to check on millions of different patents but at the very least I think Google should look at the patents held by the MPEG LA pool as well as patents held by some well-known ‘trolls’ and explain why those aren’t infringed. Programmers have a right to get that information so they can make an informed decision for themselves whether to take that risk or not.

“It’s not unreasonable to ask Google to perform a well-documented patent clearance because they certainly have the resources in place while most open source developers don’t.”

“The situation surrounding Android shows that Google might opt to stand on the sidelines if those adopting its open source technologies — such as HTC — are sued by patent holders. I can’t find any promise on the WebM website that Google would come to the aid of third parties adopting the technology, so Google should at least help everyone to assess the risk.”

“We all know Steve Jobs’ recent email in which he said a patent pool was being assembled to go after open source codecs. So the patent question is really a critical one.”

I have previously called for this kind of patent clearance, in connection with the open source Theora codec as well as with VP8, on my blog, such as in this post:

http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2010/05/…

About an hour ago, the FFII also released the following statement.


FFII welcomes Google’s move to open VP8 video format

Berlin, May 19th 2010 — Today Google announced it would make the VP8 codec open source and royalty-free as part of their WebM project. The codec is on par with other video codecs for high video quality and can be used in the emerging HTML5 web standard for playing video content natively in a web browser. HTML5, the VP8 video codec and Vorbis audio codec are open standards and thus require no royalty-bearing patents license.

“The web is based on open standards, a patent-unencumbered world, allowing developers to create applications without patent toll gates”, explains FFII board member Stephan Uhlmann. “We are happy to see Google use its market force to keep the web open.”

“In the Web openness always prevails.”
      –André Rebentisch
The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) had called on the company behind the video site Youtube to support a patent free video codec for the upcoming HTML5 technology. The video codec VP8 was acquired by Google together with On2 technologies.

HTML5 will be the next generation of the world wide web, but the standard has been delayed by a clash over streaming video patent licensing conditions. In a controversial move Microsoft and Apple indicated they would support the H.264 video codec only, which is encumbered by more than 1000 patents.

“Support for the VP8 video codec by their popular web browsers Internet Explorer and Safari is only a matter of time”, says FFII board member André Rebentisch. “In the Web openness always prevails”.

Links

FFII call to support open video fromats in HTML5
http://press.ffii.org/Press…

The WebM project: high-quality, open video format for the web

http://www.webmproject.org/

FFII Open Standards Working Group

http://action.ffii.org/openstandards

Permanent link to this press release:
http://press.ffii.org/Press…

Contact

FFII Office Berlin
Malmöer Str. 6
D-10439 Berlin
Fon: +49-30-41722597
Fax Service: +49-721-509663769
Email: office (at) ffii.org
http://www.ffii.org/

About FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association registered in twenty European countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 1000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

6 Comments

  1. David Gerard said,

    May 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Gravatar

    The consequences for Theora don’t really matter – you can be sure Xiph will be shouting “WOO HOO!”, throwing their hats in the air and preparing to tweak the heck out of the encoder, as they did for VP3, to make it as absolutely good as possible.

    Everyone at Wikimedia is also very pleased :-) I don’t think .webm uploads have been enabled yet.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s important to see what happens in YouTube/Google Video. Most of the Web’s video streaming take place there (about 2 billion views per day).

    David Gerard Reply:

    YouTube are progressively making *everything* available in VP8.

    Greg Maxwell advises caution before going live with it (there’s a possibly-exploitable bug in the released code dump): http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2010-May/058558.html – but wants people experimenting with the code and kicking the tyres.

    x264 aren’t very impressed: http://x264dev.multimedia.cx/?p=377

    But Greg says VP3 was pretty bad when first code-dumped, and thinks x264 is wrong on their patent concerns: http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2010-May/047795.html

    In any case – interesting times!

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Interestingly, Ogg developers are delighted. I’ll write about this tonight (long post).

    David Gerard Reply:

    Greg is one of those developers. Told you they’d be shouting “WOO HOO!”

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Monty is the one I read about.

What Else is New


  1. Links 18/4/2019: Ubuntu and Derivatives Have Releases, digiKam 6.1.0, OpenSSH 8.0 and LibreOffice 6.2.3

    Links for the day



  2. Freedom is Not a Business and Those Who Make 'Business' by Giving it Away Deserve Naming

    Free software is being parceled and sold to private monopolisers; those who facilitate the process enrich themselves and pose a growing threat to freedom in general — a subject we intend to tackle in the near future



  3. Concluding the Linux Foundation (LF) “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 3)

    Conferences constructed or put together based on payments rather than merit pose a risk to the freedom of free software; we conclude our series about events set up by the largest of culprits, which profits from this erosion of freedom



  4. “Mention the War” (of Microsoft Against GNU/Linux)

    The GNU/Linux desktop (or laptops) seems to be languishing or deteriorating, making way for proprietary takeover in the form of Vista 10 and Chrome OS and “web apps” (surveillance); nobody seems too bothered — certainly not the Linux Foundation — by the fact that GNU/Linux itself is being relegated or demoted to a mere “app” on these surveillance platforms (WSL, Croûton and so on)



  5. The European Patent Office Does Not Care About the Law, Today's Management Constantly Attempts to Bypass the Law

    Many EPs (European Patents) are actually "IPs" (invalid patents); the EPO doesn't seem to care and it is again paying for corrupt scholars to toe the party line



  6. The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Once Again Pours Cold Water on Patent Maximalists

    Any hopes of a rebound or turnaround have just been shattered because a bizarre attack on the appeal process (misusing tribal immunity) fell on deaf ears and software patents definitely don't interest the highest court, which already deemed them invalid half a decade ago



  7. Links 17/4/2019: Qt 5.12.3 Released, Ola Bini Arrested (Political Stunts)

    Links for the day



  8. Links 16/4/2019: CentOS Turns 15, Qt Creator 4.9.0 Released

    Links for the day



  9. GNU/Linux is Being Eaten Alive by Large Corporations With Their Agenda

    A sort of corporate takeover, or moneyed interests at the expense of our freedom, can be seen as a 'soft coup' whose eventual outcome would involve all or most servers in 'the cloud' (surveillance with patent tax as part of the rental fees) and almost no laptops/desktops which aren't remotely controlled (and limit what's run on them, using something like UEFI 'secure boot')



  10. Reader's Claim That Rules Similar to the Code of Conduct (CoC) Were 'Imposed' on LibrePlanet and the FSF

    Restrictions on speech are said to have been spread and reached some of the most liberal circles, according to a credible veteran who opposes illiberal censorship



  11. Corporate Media Will Never Cover the EPO's Violations of the Law With Respect to Patent Scope

    The greed-driven gold rush for patents has resulted in a large pool of European Patents that have no legitimacy and are nowadays associated with low legal certainty; the media isn't interested in covering such a monumental disaster that poses a threat to the whole of Europe



  12. A Linux Foundation Run by People Who Reject Linux is Like a Children's Charity Whose Management Dislikes Children

    We remain concerned about the lack of commitment that the Linux Foundation has for Linux; much of the Linux Foundation's Board, for example, comes from hostile companies



  13. Links 15/4/2019: Linux 5.1 RC5 and SolydXK Reviewed

    Links for the day



  14. Links 14/4/2019: Blender 2.80 Release Plan and Ducktype 1.0

    Links for the day



  15. 'Poor' (Multi-Millionaire) Novell CEO, Who Colluded With Steve Ballmer Against GNU/Linux, is Trying to Censor Techrights

    Novell’s last CEO, a former IBMer who just like IBM decided to leverage software patents against the competition (threatening loads of companies using "platoons of patent lawyers"), has decided that siccing lawyers at us would be a good idea



  16. Guest Post: The Linux Foundation (LF) is “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 2)

    Calls for papers (CfP) and who gets to assess what's presented or what's not presented is a lesser-explored aspect, especially in this age when large corporate sponsors get to indirectly run entire 'community' events



  17. Patent Maximalists Are Enabling Injustices and Frauds

    It's time to come to grips with the simple fact that extreme patent lenience causes society to suffer and is mostly beneficial to bad actors; for the patent profession to maintain a level of credibility and legitimacy it must reject the deplorable, condemnable zealots



  18. Further Decreasing Focus on Software Patents in the United States as They Barely Exist in Valid Form Anymore

    No headway made after almost 4 months of Iancu-led stunts; software patents remain largely dead and buried, so we’re moving on to other topics



  19. Links 13/4/2019: Wine 4.6 and Emacs 26.2 Released

    Links for the day



  20. Links 12/4/2019: Mesa 19.0.2, Rust 1.34.0 and Flatpak 1.3.2 Released

    Links for the day



  21. Caricature: EPO Standing Tall

    A reader's response to the EPO's tall claims and fluff from yesterday



  22. The EPO is Slipping Out of Control Again and It's Another Battistelli-Like Mess With Disregard for the Rule of Law and Patent Scope

    The banker in chief is just 'printing' or 'minting' lots and lots of patents, even clearly bogus ones that lack substance to back their perceived value



  23. Global Finance Magazine Spreads Lies About the Unitary Patent and German Constitutional Court

    Alluding to the concept of a "unified European patent," some site connected to Class Editori S.p.A. and based in Manhattan/New York City tells obvious lies about the Unified Patent Court (UPC), possibly in an effort to sway outcomes and twist people's expectations



  24. New Building as Perfect Metaphor for the EPO Under the Frenchmen Battistelli and Campinos

    The EPO is in "propaganda mode" only 9 months after the latest French President took Office; the Office is seen as dishonest, even under the new leadership, which routinely lies to the public and to its own staff



  25. Links 11/4/2019: Twisted 19.2.0 Released, Assange Arrested

    Links for the day



  26. EPO Still Wasting Budget, Paying Media and Academics for Spin

    EPO money continues to flow like water into hands that are complicit in legitimising the EPO's management and policies; this highlights the grave dangers of lack of oversight at the EPO, not to mention lawlessness or lack of enforcement



  27. Links 10/4/2019: Microsoft's GDPR Trouble, New Fedora 29 Images

    Links for the day



  28. Linux Magazine is Run by Advertisers, Not GNU/Linux (and It's Hardly the Exception)

    Advertising is big money — so big in fact that publications no longer care what’s true but instead focus on what text brings them more income (from advertisers, of course)



  29. Guest Post: The Linux Foundation (LF) is “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 1)

    Proprietary software giants with their sponsorships and gifts are more like Trojan horses or parasites striving to infect the host; how can the LF be protected from them?



  30. EPO Benefits European Patent Trolls With Dodgy European Patents

    The EPO is a stepping stone for parasitic entities looking to leverage patents for exploitative extortion rackets all over Europe; if they get their way, companies that manufacture and sell things will pay a hefty tax to those who create nothing at all and are often not European, either


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts