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05.23.13

WebM is No Ogg, It is Not Freedom-Respecting Anymore, Even in Countries That Have No Software Patents

Posted in Google, OSI at 4:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nelson Mandela would not have been proud

Nelson Mandela

Summary: Why Google needs to fix the licence of VP9, or simply stop pretending that it should be the only de facto standard for multimedia

IT HAS become rather evident that WebM has a licensing issue due to MPEG-LA, a Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll. There is finally a good press report about it, citing Mr. Phipps (OSI President). It says: “When Google announced that it was signing a patent agreement with the MPEG LA patent pool, the company said that it would ensure that a licence agreement for third parties using WebM/VP8 would be put in place that would let them make use of the protection within the agreement. After the publication of a draft of the cross-licence agreement, Simon Phipps, open source advocate, has voiced doubts about the agreement saying it “closes the door on software freedom”.”

“The problems with such licences are that they make it hard to include support in FOSS applications and they have an international impact, even where software patents are not legal.”The problems with such licences are that they make it hard to include support in FOSS applications and they have an international impact, even where software patents are not legal. But as this tweet reminds us, work on globalising the policy may be underway. “Will the unitary patent give NPEs more leverage and should patent owners opt out? Panelists from HGF and ZTE discuss at #mipbeijing,” says a pro-patents account. Remember that MPEG-LA is NPE acting as a proxy for companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Nokia. We’ll write about software patents in the next few posts.

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A Single Comment

  1. NotZed said,

    May 23, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s a pity that ogg video got all the wind taken out of it’s sails as soon as webm was announced.

    This seems to happen quite often when some big project is ‘open sourced’ by a company, killing off any related/competing projects. e.g. gcj is all but dead after openjdk came along.

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