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

03.08.13

Google/Android Extorted Through MPEG-LA

Posted in Google, Patents at 11:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MPEG LA logo

Summary: The latest attack by proxy on free platforms comes from the patents proxy of several proprietary software vendors and software patents proponents

The attack on Android is not always visible; some patent trolls are equipped with ammunition whose purpose it to tax everything. This helps raise the price of products, harming in particular everything which was free and thus permissive in the distribution sense. Microsoft, more than any other company, has been fighting hard against Linux and GNU.

Eric Brown, writing about storage systems the other weeks, pointed out that:

NAS vendors are drawn to Linux for its stability, security, and low cost. Linux rarely requires patching, is relatively immune to virus attacks, and can usually run in flash memory for even greater security. Lack of licensing fees is also a draw of course, although at least one NAS vendor — Buffalo — pays Microsoft via a patent covenant for the privilege of using Linux.

Pamela Jones responded with: “Microsoft is doing with patents what SCO tried but failed to do with copyrights, to Microsoft’s shame. So if you buy from them, this is the behavior you are enabling. And when you read about Microsoft “donating” to Open Source blah blah, remember what they are doing with patents, please.”

Over at a lawyers’ blog that Jones likes to cite [1, 2], some FRAND battles over Android and codec patents are described. Here is what Jones learned about the MPEG-LA assault:

In the Seattle litigation between Microsoft and Motorola over how much Microsoft should pay for Motorola’s FRAND patents, the presiding judge, Hon. James L. Robart, asked the parties to file short letter briefs by March 1st on how to interpret one section of the Google-MPEG LA license agreement, and they have now done so. As you will see, things have changed since Motorola revealed the terms of the Google-MPEG LA license. The judge now has questions about the language, after the January 28th hearing.

Does it cover Motorola as an affiliate of Google? Are all affiliates covered? Or only those specified by a licensee? And is the royalty cap provision in one section a stand-alone provision? Is there, in other words, a cap on how much Microsoft has to pay?

His request is related to his decision to reopen the trial that ended in November, now that Motorola has presented new evidence that didn’t present at that trial. It didn’t have to, by the way. The trial was to be held in parts, and November was part one. Now that the new arguments are on the table in connection with the next phase about exactly what the rate should be, however, the judge sees a need to go back and take another look, and I think you’ll agree with him that what Motorola has presented changes the picture, and not in a way that favors Microsoft as much as before, which was trying for a low-ball figure. And that is now in question.

MPEG-LA is a patent troll spearheaded by Larry Horn and backed by the likes of Microsoft, Nokia, and of course Apple. It seems like this troll took a bite just now. It’s a somewhat Google-hostile article:

Google enters into licensing agreement with MPEG LA to protect the WebM video format

When the WebM project was announced back in 2010, one its selling points was that it was open and free of the licensing needs imposed by competitors like H.264. That may have been slightly overstated, however, as Google and MPEG LA have just entered into a licensing agreement covering the video codec at the heart of the format. The codec is known as VP8, and while no financial figures are disclosed the agreement covers various patents from 11 different parties. Google also gains the ability to sublicense those technologies out to VP8 users, clearing the way for the company to push adoption of VP8 — and by extension, WebM — with impunity. “This is a significant milestone in Google’s efforts to establish VP8 as a widely-deployed web video format,” said Allen Lo, Google’s deputy general counsel for patents.

Here is another take on it. It is a Google-friendly article, unlike the previous one:

Google has agreed to pay a licence fee to MPEG LA, LLC for techniques which they say may be essential to VP8 and earlier-generation VPx video compression technologies under patents owned by 11 patent holders.

This is a shame, but we don’t know what happened behind the scenes, possibly threats of massive litigation. The solution is to abolish software patents.

Watch who else is hounding Google over patents:

There are more comments filed with the FTC in response to its request for input on the proposed agreement in In the Matter of Motorola Mobility LLC, a limited liability company, and Google Inc., a corporation; FTC File No. 121 0120. As I mentioned earlier, not everyone is jumping on the currently fashionable bandwagon holding that if you donate a patent to a standards body, you give up all rights to injunctions. In fact, it’s easier to find opposition than support.

Notice Sony in there. Recently enough (for many of us to remember it) Sony attacked other Android players using patents, so here again we see Sony as a malicious antagonist of those whose work it relies on.

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

What Else is New


  1. Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

    Links for the day



  2. Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

    Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile



  3. Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

    A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that's wrong with today's model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes



  4. Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

    Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for -- let alone deploy -- proprietary software with back doors



  5. GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

    Links for the day



  6. Microsoft Gets Its Money's Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

    The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft's console competitor



  7. After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

    Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO



  8. Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

    Links for the day



  9. Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

    Links for the day



  10. TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

    The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance



  11. Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

    Links for the day



  12. Hardware News: Freedom, Modding, Hackability on the Rise

    Links for the day



  13. Distributions News: GNU/Linux Distros

    Links for the day



  14. GNOME News: Financial Issues, Mutter-Wayland, West Coast Summit, Community Participation

    Links for the day



  15. KDE News: Kubuntu at the Centre Again KDE Applications Updated

    Links for the day



  16. Techrights Rising

    Effective immediately, Techrights will do what it takes to bring back old volume and pace of publishing



  17. Links: Surveillance, Intervention, Torture and Drones

    Links for the day



  18. Mobile Linux Not Just Android: Jolla, WebOS, and Firefox OS News

    Links for the day



  19. Google's Linux Revolution: New Gains for Android, Chrome OS (GNU/Linux)

    Links for the day



  20. Free/Libre Databases News: MongoDB, NoSQL, and MySQL Branches/Forks

    Links for the day



  21. Open Access on the Rise: Textbooks, Journals, Etc.

    Links for the day



  22. Finance Watch (Watching What's Not Being Watched): Economic Warfare/Class Injustice

    Links for the day



  23. Climate and Ecology Watch: News About a World Being Destroyed

    Links for the day



  24. Copyright News: DRM, Censorship, Megaupload, Hypocrisy, and Impact on the Internet

    Links for the day



  25. Sharing Works: Latest News Stories About Crowd-sourcing, Sharing, Transparency

    Links for the day



  26. Links 12/4/2014: Games

    Links for the day



  27. Links 12/4/2014: Applications

    Links for the day



  28. Links 12/4/2014: Instructionals

    Links for the day



  29. Political News: Protests Face a Ban, Covert Actions Continue, Cold War Era Imperialism, Privacy, and War on Justice

    Links for the day



  30. Ubuntu News: Themes, Unity 8, Meizu Phone, Ubuntu Touch, and Elementary OS

    Links for the day


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