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MPEG LA Attempts To Start VP8 Patent Pool 186

Confirming speculation from last year, an anonymous reader tips news that MPEG LA has posted a request for information about establishing a patent pool for the VP8 video codec. "In order to participate in the creation of, and determine licensing terms for, a joint VP8 patent license, any party that believes it has patents that are essential to the VP8 video codec specification is invited to submit them for a determination of their essentiality by MPEG LA’s patent evaluators. At least one essential patent is necessary to participate in the process, and initial submissions should be made by March 18, 2011. Although only issued patents will be included in the license, in order to participate in the license development process, patent applications with claims that their owners believe are essential to the specification and likely to issue in a patent also may be submitted."
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MPEG LA Attempts To Start VP8 Patent Pool

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  • by denis-The-menace ( 471988 ) on Friday February 11, 2011 @12:59PM (#35176120)

    you either do not write codecs
    you do not expect to be caught writing a H.264 codec.

    MPEG-LA is the patent troll/layer firm that wants to collect $ for Software Patents on mathematical equations that compresses bits of information that happens to be a video. If it can scare/threaten/sue people into buying a license to create/use/distribute a H.264 codec then they will have accomplish their goal.

    This WebM patent pool is a FUD tactic similar to MS' patents on Linux. You are free to create a WebM codec as much as you are free to write a Linux derivative. not so with H.264.

  • by rwv ( 1636355 ) on Friday February 11, 2011 @01:09PM (#35176288) Homepage Journal

    H.264 is "open" like the Microsoft Open Office XML [] standard is open. There are bear-traps that can prevent you from using it successfully. In the case of OOXML, one of those bear-traps is requiring your documents to interpret "Proprietary Microsoft Binary Blobs".

    H.264, being patent protected, means that the patent holder reserve the right to say, "Go pound sand" when your five-year license expires.

    WebM is controlled by Google.... but Google has effectively put its patents into the public domain so that ANYBODY can implement a WebM/VP8 video codec.

  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Friday February 11, 2011 @02:27PM (#35177646)

    It is widely used with a huge range of hardware implementations.

    Quoting from wikipedia: AMD, ARM, and Broadcom have announced support for hardware acceleration of the WebM format.[31][32] Intel is also considering hardware-based acceleration for WebM in its Atom-based TV chips if the format gains popularity.[33] Qualcomm and Texas Instruments have announced support,[34][35] with native support coming to the TI OMAP processor.[36] Chip&Media have announced the fully hardware decoder for VP8 that can decode full HD resolution VP8 streams at 60 frames per second.[37]

    It gives much better compression than WebM will ever have.

    No. VP8 already has better compression efficiency than h.264 and at the same time being on par in quality with h.264. From the technical point of view, WebM has the potential to be a lot better than H.264.

  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Friday February 11, 2011 @02:51PM (#35178066) Homepage

    Both codecs are free in different ways. WebM is gratis; free as in beer; it costs no money to implement and distribute, but not to contribute to. H.264 is libre; free as in speech; you must pay to distribute an implementation, but anyone can contribute to the spec.


    WebM has a frozen bitstream standard. You cannot contribute to this standard, because it is frozen. However, you are free to contribute to the support software: encoders, decoders, tools. And there is vast room for improvement of the encoders, plenty of work there to keep you busy.

    H.264 also has a frozen bitstram standard. During the development phase, which is now over, you could have contributed to the development process, but only if you could afford the fees to attend the meeting. I am not sure exactly how much that cost, but I saw one posting here on Slashdot claiming it was on the order of $40,000 per person per meeting. In fairness, you could probably pitch your ideas for free to one of the large companies that was sending representatives (e.g. Microsoft, Apple) and possibly get your ideas in anyway.

    H.265 is under development now. Go ahead and try to contribute some ideas to it. Please report back here on Slashdot for how well that works out for you.

    So, the important thing here is: H.264 and WebM are both frozen standards. Both have free software projects implementing them, to which anyone can contribute. But only one of them is fully free. H.264 is controlled by MPEG-LA, so you can only distribute H.264 (or even use H.264) with their permission, on their terms. If they decide "no H.264 licenses will be offered to Linux users" then the Linux users will have no legal way to use it. (That's a silly, extreme example, and I have no reason to think they will do that. However, they really are asserting that the mere act of using a camera that records in H.264 makes you subject to their whims, which is intolerable.)

    Like I said, I think the ability to contribute the codec vastly outweighs the ability to implement it for free.

    I'm sorry, but H.264 is frozen too. You are simply mistaken on this point.


BLISS is ignorance.