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Google alters WebM to make it safer against patent lawsuits

updated 05:55 pm EDT, Fri June 4, 2010

Google separates WebM patents from copyright

Google today changed the license for its WebM video standard to help shelter users against possible patent lawsuits. It's now been reworded to only deny access to the patents themselves in the event of a lawsuit shutting them down. Previously, the license would have cut off all rights, locking any patent users out of use altogether.

The method both prevents shutting down more rights than necessary and should also better fit the GPL v2 and v3 open-source licenses.

While helpful to developers by shifting some of the responsibility back to Google, the license change doesn't entirely avoid the patent disputes themselves. Apple, MPEG-LA and others have questioned the validity of claims that WebM was royalty-free and could neutralize the use of the format if they successfully sue and force patent license payments.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. shawnce

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2000

    +7

    The license wasn't...

    The license wasn't changes to make it "safer against patent lawsuits". It was changed to remove the already existing "you sue Google over a patent and you lose rights to use WebM" from the source code license side of things and into its own separate agreement that does essentially the same thing. The reason they pulled out this patent element from the source code license was to make the source code license compatible with GPL license code that wants to use WebM. It doesn't increase or decrease any "patent safety".

  1. godrifle

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006

    0

    I don't think...

    ...the author of this article knows anything about the topic covered in this article.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    What???

    ...the license change doesn't entirely avoid the patent disputes themselves. Apple, MPEG-LA and others have questioned the validity of claims that WebM was royalty-free and could neutralize the use of the format if they successfully sue and force patent license payments.

    Gee, what a shocker. FUD being raised from the competition to try to keep people away from leaving their proprietary 'standard' for another.

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