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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 Anonymous Coward on Friday February 11, 2011 @12:53PM (#35176008)

    If you think you have a patent to use against Vp8, signing it over to MPEG-LA is the last thing you should do. Look at their other pools, the few good patents are swamped by the dross. The earnings from your patents get shared with troll patents of no value.

    Even the CEO of MPEG-LA HAS A SEPARATE patent pool all for himself largely undiluted? His MobileMedia Ideas LLC, is like a patent pool, only he's bought patents and controls the pool.

    If he won't throw those patents into the diluted pool, neither should you.

  • by Omega Hacker ( 6676 ) <omega.omegacs@net> on Friday February 11, 2011 @01:03PM (#35176182)

    Dunno if you've ever actually read any MPEG specifications (I have), but the "open" standards process is not the best deal on the planet. Remember 802.11 "Draft N" and it's 5-year lifespan? That was a result of the standards process being held hostage by every vendor wanting to include their own pet features and patents. Constructing a standard around all those corporate filibusters took far too long, and the resulting standard is bloated and insanely complex. MPEG-4 and related (H.264 such) are stupidly huge standards that support all sorts of arcane features that nobody will ever use except as a) a marketing slide, and b) a patent to toss into the ring.

    As per your claim that "anyone" can contribute to the MPEG standards, have you looked at the list of people involved? Every one of them comes from a major vendor or "research" company (or their university proxies) and is paying stupid sums of money to join and attend (meets move all over the planet). The reality is that if I had an idea I wanted to propose for an MPEG standard, hell will freeze over long before I even get a hearing let alone add the feature. Google is far more likely to pay attention to their (codec-savvy) users' comments.

    I'll take unencumbered codecs with a single primary party keeping control over the standard every time.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Friday February 11, 2011 @01:40PM (#35176738)

    The answer is yes, I did find at least one instance, and according to the article it is possible to win such a suit. This charming lawsuit []

    Chamilia’s slander of title claims also failed. Allegations of patent infringement can be slander of title if they are false, reasonably calculated to cause harm, and result in special damages.

    That's an excerpt from the article relevant to the topic.

  • by DCFusor ( 1763438 ) on Friday February 11, 2011 @01:43PM (#35176798) Homepage
    Yes, for quite awhile now patents of all kinds (not only software) are used by the shortsighted large players to exclude any competition from smaller ones. The big boys make a show of suing one another, but then settle out of court with some cross license deal.

    The net result is that they no longer have to do any real innovation, and simply fight over a slice of the existing pie, rather than make the size of the pie as a whole bigger. Sure, they hate one another, but they fear any outsider who might come along with something new. Such an outsider has no chance against them, as it costs $1-10 million and years in court to get even an obviously bad patent thrown out. Multiply that by the number of garbage patents the bigs hold and the situation is untenable for anyone new coming along with a great new thing.

    Further, it's an assault on open source software, because those of us who write it cannot afford to defend against things like this, and it's almost impossible to write many lines of code without running afoul of some patent claim.

    Even google is catching this from Oracle at this point, despite Oracle's frequent past urging for Java to go completely free. Now that they own it, it seems they believe that some patents give them the rights to anything running on a VM of any kind (look out .NET and Perl!).

    We are witnessing the best law money can buy (surprised?) -- but it's not even the best law for those promoting it, because they are so shortsighted that they are actually going to create their own demise if they can't force this sort of thing to happen in every single country that has a market.. As one can see from the news, this is precisely what they are trying to do, and with some success.

    The true corrosion comes when anyone small does do something truly nifty. This leverage by the bigs means they can simply steal the new stuff while bankrupting the originator over all the stupid patents the bigs own. This of course means there is no incentive for that small guy to do anything nifty and humanity stalls out.

    It's hard to see how this system can be fixed in reality, as the bigs spend enough on politicians to perpetuate whatever they desire, and there's no reason to believe that throwing the bums out (as if we had a choice other than another set of bums) would do any good -- the new boss would wind up just like the old boss. It's the alternate version of the golden rule -- them with the gold make the rules. Where we failed is letting them get all the gold in the first place, now it's probably too late to do much of anything.

    Too Big To Fail is a rotten concept, and if that is really true for absolutely any enterprise, it should be priority one worldwide to force those too big to fail to break up. Period. Not regulate how they act once that is true -- make it not possible to be true. But, as we say here, goodluckwiththat.

  • by mrrudge ( 1120279 ) on Friday February 11, 2011 @02:26PM (#35177632) Homepage
    I've done quite a lot of professional video streaming via website for large well known companies. They don't know/care/understand open source, they don't know/care/understand patent liability.

    They want max bang for buck, where bang is video quality and buck is filesize/lack of streaming problems on a shitty connection.

    That's still h264. It's often *stunning* in it's ability to compress quality video. WebM becomes defacto standard when it's a better tool than the alternative.

    To compare this to png/jpg. They both have good uses, but jpg does better compression of photographic images, which is why your porn collection doesn't have any png's in it.

Adapt. Enjoy. Survive.