05.19.13

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MPEG-LA Ruined the Licence of WebM, Made it Less Freedom-Respecting

Posted in Google, Patents at 12:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The only problem is the licence

Licence plates

Summary: The Microsoft-, Nokia-, and Apple-backed patent troll appears to have ruined the freedom assured by Google’s multimedia format, which was previously made free only after public pressure

Google is promoting VP9 and calling for fast adoption of VP9 as completion is imminent now, based on numerous Linux sites. As one put it: “Google has finally started talking publicly about the upcoming VP9 video codec that will be integrated into the FLOSS and patent unencumbered webm video container format. I’m a big webm fan and I have found the existing VP8 codec to be pretty darn good. webm with VP8 is way better than Ogg Theora (which is pretty good) but not quite as good as H.264. Google plans on changing that with VP9. Supposedly VP9 will be able to be 1/2 to 1/3 smaller than H.264 and provide as good or better quality. That is exciting.”

“This time too Google can hopefully listen and apply the necessary amendments to licence.”The problem is, the licence got worse. As one notable man, Simon Phipps, recently put it: “Google have released a draft agreement designed to help VP8 adoption by licensing a number of relevant patents on a royalty free basis. It sounds good, but the details of the license still need some work. Hopefully we’ll see some changes to this draft before the final license is released.”

So MPEG-LA, joined by Nokia‘s aggression, made things worse. Phipps says there is a per-user licence that Google should try to modify before finalisation,

Previously, the WebM licence was fixed due to (or contrariwise owing to) public pressure on Google. This time too Google can hopefully listen and apply the necessary amendments to licence.

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