Google's WebM Open Source threatened by patent pool for VP8

Google after a lot of deliberation decided to offer a single standard for web media format converting its newly acquired VP8 as a royalty-free licensing policy. This will ensure that there is a free and open standard for HTML 5 Web Video. However, the licensing handler for VP8 Video codec H.264, MPEG LA, is pulling the plugs on converting it into a no-revenue generator.


Why MPEG LA does not want VP8 in open source format?

Larry Horn, the MPEG LA chief believes a patent-pool license for VP8 and WebM as the organization wants to create a VP8 licensing system. The call is for patent holders on VP8 and WebM to submit patents applicable to Googles codec. However, they do admit that it is the patent holder to decide if VP8 needs to be licensed. He has reiterated that it is open to all players with VP8, Google included.

The organization is very clear that MPEG LA merely facilitates the creation of pool licensing to lower cases of infringement actions amongst users. If WebM and UP8 can come under essential patents then the patent owners will benefit and the rush to courts will be minimized. However, it is up to the Patent owners to decide if they want to impose the patents.

Googles’ call on the looming patent pool

Google apparently anticipated that the specter of licensing would be raised by MPEG LA is committed to allowing WebM Project a open source standard without any patent claims for all who use the WebM licensed.

Google every since acquiring the VP8 codec ealier last year was expected to open source the VP8 codec after it purchased the video compression company On2 Technologies. However the product has a H.264 patent. Google did the expected when it formalized the WebM and put out the VP8 as the web standard for web videos so that the hassles of licensing fee can be done away completely.

Quick supporters 

Google found quick takers for this freebie and Mozilla and Opera quickly offered it on FireFox and Opera. Though the codec was offered to support the nascent HTML 5 Video on Chrome, firefox and Opera, Google quickly dropped the H.264for fast-tracking the migration to WebM.

Presently Google runs the Adobe Flash on the You Tube with the licensed H.264. However, it offers the HTML 5 and is presently offering as new video on the WebM.  Therefore, Google needs both capabilities for its browsers – the WebM as well as the HTML 5 especially for its YouTube.

Advantage Microsoft and Apple

The two giants have no such constraints since they have both run H.264 and are already a part of the patent pool. As a matter of fact, Apple and later Microsoft are playing safe with patents and licensing issues on WebM as they believe the original open source on which WebM is created, the Ogga Theora is very hazy about the IP issues and would therefore be a part of the WebM legacy.

However, this space that needs to be watched for the fireworks are soon going to begin on will win the final war- Open Source or the licensing hats