[theora] Fwd: VP8

Richard Watts rrw at kynesim.co.uk
Sun May 23 05:12:02 PDT 2010

Basil Mohamed Gohar wrote:
> On 05/22/2010 11:09 PM, Dave Johnson wrote:
>>> Thank you for writing.  We appreciate hearing from you and the
>>> opportunity to address your question.
>>> MPEG LA provides pool licenses for many different video codecs such as
>>> AVC/H.264, MPEG-2, VC-1 and MPEG-4 Part 2.  We do not advocate for one
>>> over another; rather, we provide one-stop licenses for the convenience
>>> of video providers and users who make choices among them.  
>>> Therefore, our announcement of interest in providing a license for VP8
>>> is not a matter of protecting our revenue stream from other codecs (many
>>> of which are used in parallel).  To the extent patent rights held by
>>> many patent holders are necessary for VP8, they need to be dealt with
>>> whether or not MPEG LA offers a license.  Our interest is in pooling
>>> them so they may be made available for the convenience of users on the
>>> same terms under a single license as an alternative to the present
>>> fragmented way that necessitates individual negotiations with many
>>> different patent holders.   If we succeed, what it can mean is that
>>> there will be a more efficient way for the market to access VP8 patent
>>> rights, and that translates into broader adoption of VP8 for video
>>> providers and consumers like you who choose to use it in providing and
>>> receiving video services.
>>> If you have additional questions, please let me know.  I will be glad to
>>> answer them.
> How helpful of them!
> But seriously, this is some really messed-up thinking.  The folks over
> at MPEG-LA really cannot grasp the concept that not everything needs to
> be held under a software patent.  

  That's not true at all; Tim is entirely correct and the MPEG-LA in my
experience do an excellent job of collecting and licencing all the
patents necessary to implement the codecs they look after on what are,
frankly, usually extremely reasonable terms.

  It is not the MPEG-LA's fault that the system is broken. Given that
the system is broken, they do a good job of making it possible for
video systems to interoperate and I think it's very reasonable that
they should look into establishing a patent pool for VP8.

  Obviously, I'd rather hope that google's due diligence was good
enough that there were no essential patents required for VP8 per se -
there obviously will be for VP8's use with things like MPEG-2
systems - but if it wasn't, I'd much rather have the MPEG-LA's
non-discriminatory and generally reasonably priced and accessible
terms than (e.g.) the audio codec peoples' multi-dollar per device
royalties and 'we'll licence only if you refuse to play any other
format' terms.

  Equally obviously, it is in the H.264 patent holders' interests
to spread FUD about VP8 and that is just what they have been
doing. I haven't caught the MPEG-LA at it yet.

  If you want a villain, try Microsoft - who believe they hold
essential patents on Linux. Unlike the MPEG-LA, they don't have
non-discriminatory terms. Unlike the MPEG-LA, they licence for
whatever won't _quite_ drive their victims to bankruptcy. And
unlike the MPEG-LA, they won't state which patents they hold they
believe to be essential so people can have the choice of using
them or not.


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