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Google concludes legal wrangling with MPEG LA over VP8, WebM

updated 08:36 pm EST, Thu March 7, 2013

Agreement with MPEG LA truly opens VP8 to open source

The years-long patent and licensing disagreement between Google and video codec licensing group MPEG LA has concluded. MPEG LA is granting a license to techniques essential to the Google-promoted VP8 video codec (and retroactively to earlier incarnations). The agreement also grants Google the right to sublicense VP8 to any takers of the currently badly adopted codec. As a result of the agreement, MPEG LA will stop trying to develop a VP8 patent pool.

Google originally released VP8 as a "licensing free" alternative to the H.264 video codec. "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. "We appreciate MPEG LA's cooperation in making this happen."

The prospect of a legal battle, along with vested interests in existing work and MPEG-LA, has led Apple and Microsoft to deliberately avoid including any WebM support in their own work. Early adopters are so far limited to Google itself as well as open-source advocates unwilling to pay for an H.264 license for web video, such as Mozilla in the Firefox browser and Opera.

No terms of the deal were announced. Patents held by as many as 12 companies and organizations were allegedly violated by Google in the development of WebM and VP8.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-06-01

    Good News

    That's great news that VP8 is finally legitimately usable (assuming Google doesn't decide to be a jerk about it down the line). The bad news, of course, is that VP8 is still fundamentally inferior to h264 on a purely technical level, so you're trading some quality for being "free."

  1. smacker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-24-03

    Not sure if good news

    On the one hand, yes, competition is good and all but in this case, I don't think so. For this format to play back I sure have to install some plugin and then we have the flash situation all over again. I think with formats, one standard should eventually win. At one point we had only VHS and at that point it saw wide adoption. Bluray won over HD-DVD and h.264 should win over VP8. The hell I install a plugin just to watch content from Google when everybody else is using h.264. Just pay the damn license already *rolleyes*

  1. MisterMe

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-04-07

    re: Not sure if good news

    your comment

  1. MisterMe

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-04-07

    re: Not sure if good news

    your comment

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