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.