Bonum Certa Men Certa

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

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.

Comments

Recent Techrights' Posts

EPO Staff Explains Why It Cannot Issue EPC-Compliant European Patents (in Other Words, Why Many Fake Patents Get Issued)
chaos inside
 
Chris Rutter, Winchester College, Clare College choir, Arm Ltd, underage workers & Debian accidental deaths
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Gemini Links 25/02/2024: Blocking Crawlers and Moving to gemserv
Links for the day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 24, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, February 24, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
[Meme] Objective Objection at the EPO
No more quality control
Links 24/02/2024: More Sanctions Against BRICS, Software Patents Squashed
Links for the day
Microsoft's Demise on the Server Side Continues Unabated This Month
Netcraft says so
Bonnie B. Dalzell Explains Her Experience With Richard Stallman
new essay
Gemini Links 24/02/2024: OpenBSD Advocacy and Nonfree Firmware Debated
Links for the day
Mark Shuttleworth & Debian Day Volunteer Suicide cover-up
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 23, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, February 23, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Links 24/02/2024: EA Planning Layoffs and 'Liquor Regulators Are Seeking Revenge on Bars That Broke Pandemic Rules'
Links for the day
Gemini Links 24/02/2024: In Defense of Boilerplate and TinyWM Broke
Links for the day
Microsoft's Pearls of Wisdom: Layoffs Are Growth
Microsoft boss: layoffs are "long-term growth."
[Meme] Hide the Bodies
hiding EPO's role in funding Lukashenko
Josef Kratochvíl and All the European Patent Organisation's Chiefs (at the Administrative Council Too) Notified That Over 1,000 Members of Staff Demand Action on Patent Quality and Compliance (Industry Too is Alarmed That Many Invalid Patents Get Granted)
Huge corruption
Microsoft Lacks a Solid Strategic Plan Other Than Buying Its Own Stock (and Paying Staff in Shares)
Beware and be cautious of bubbles
Debian trademark canceled
Debian trademark canceled
Links 23/02/2024: Feed Aggregator and 2 Years of Invasion, Alexei Navalny’s Mother Blackmailed
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/02/2024: Getting 'Sick' of Modern Tech and Deletion of One's Reddit Account
Links for the day
Links 23/02/2024: 227 Microsoft Layoffs Noted in Santa Clara and Disaster in Rivian
Links for the day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 22, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, February 22, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day