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Google enters into licensing agreement with MPEG LA

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#1 techbeck


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Posted 07 March 2013 - 20:45

When the WebM project was announced back in 2010, one its selling points was that it was open and free of the licensing needs imposed by competitors like H.264. That may have been slightly overstated, however, as Google and MPEG LA have just entered into a licensing agreement covering the video codec at the heart of the format. The codec is known as VP8, and while no financial figures are disclosed the agreement covers various patents from 11 different parties. Google also gains the ability to sublicense those technologies out to VP8 users, clearing the way for the company to push adoption of VP8 — and by extension, WebM — with impunity. "This is a significant milestone in Google's efforts to establish VP8 as a widely-deployed web video format," said Allen Lo, Google's deputy general counsel for patents.

MPEG LA is calling off the patent pool

Google bought VP8 in 2010 before open-sourcing the technology, but MPEG LA had stated publicly that it felt the codec infringed upon some of its patented technologies. MPEG LA licenses the technologies at the heart of an assortment of different video codecs and formats, including H.264 and MPEG-2. MPEG LA had gone so far as to start the process of forming a patent pool to go after Google for said infringement; with today's agreement, it will cease those efforts.

The agreement covers both VP8 and previous generations of the codec, and also affords Google the opportunity to use those techniques in one additional generation of the VPx family — an important consideration given that Google has already built VP9 into its Chromium web browser. While the licensing agreement isn't a direct admission that VP8 wasn't as unencumbered as had once been advertised, at the very least it's a clear signal that Google is more interested in pushing forward with its own set of preferred standards — even if there's an associated cost — rather than getting embroiled in a string of patent lawsuits.


#2 Torolol


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Posted 08 March 2013 - 00:09

as non DRM formats already ready-ly available to public,
i wont support the new format if its DRM ridden.

#3 ToneKnee


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Posted 08 March 2013 - 00:16

as non DRM formats already ready-ly available to public,
i wont support the new format if its DRM ridden.

Then you won't get access to movies etc. I can understand why companies want DRM. The issue I have with DRM is the way some companies have implemented it i.e. Games that are online only, music CD's that install rootkits etc.

#4 KSib



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Posted 08 March 2013 - 00:38

Last time I encoded in WebM it took FOR FREAKING EVER and still was super ugly compared to h.264.

#5 Growled


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Posted 08 March 2013 - 00:50

A good move on Google's part. Now they won't have to worry about legal problems regarding this issue down the road.

#6 thomastmc


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Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:11

This would be awesome if VP8 was as good as H.264. Maybe VP9 is, but it's also the last version allowed by this agreement.

The problem with VP8/9 vs H.264 is that H.264 is what TV is encoded in for OTA transmission, and what most Blu-rays are encoded in. It's supported natively by Windows and Mac, and it has a plethora of open source tools that support it like FFMPEG and X264. It's what the vast majority of video streamed on the internet is encoded in. It's what the vast majority of TV and movies are pirated in. And, on top of all that it is a great quality codec.

#7 +_Alexander


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Posted 08 March 2013 - 03:24

And yet h264 is still clearly superior.
Not to mention that h265