Re: [rtcweb] VP8 IPR agreement announced.

Stephan Wenger <> Sun, 10 March 2013 02:15 UTC

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From: Stephan Wenger <>
To: Ron <>, "" <>
Thread-Topic: [rtcweb] VP8 IPR agreement announced.
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Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2013 02:15:22 +0000
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Subject: Re: [rtcweb] VP8 IPR agreement announced.
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Hi Ron,
Please see inline.

On 3.9.2013 16:49 , "Ron" <> wrote:

>On Sat, Mar 09, 2013 at 11:08:29AM +0100, Harald Alvestrand wrote:
>> On 03/08/2013 09:14 PM, Stephan Wenger wrote:
>> >
>> >I want to ask two more pieces of information that would allow me
>> >to put this announcement into context.
>> >
>> >First, who are those 11 rightholders?  I'm sure you agree that, in
>> >order to make a meaningful risk assessment, that information is
>> >needed.
>> Stephan, at the moment, we have no agreement with the rightsholders
>> that permits us to disclose their names. We're discussing that topic
>> with them, but we will not name them without an agreement to do so.
>I'm a bit mystified by why Stephan thinks this is somehow essential
>for anything more than curiosity sake.  Didn't he previously reassure
>us that we could trust MPEG-LA to negotiate needed licences for us,
>without any of the sort of additional guarantees and indemnities that
>were being insisted of Google?

I don't think I have ever said anything like this.  I may have previously
said something along the following lines:

A pooling arrangement (in the traditional sense), combined with a RAND
commitment by a large percentage of potential rightholders (i.e. through
their participation in a RAND SDO) can, IMO, indeed create a licensing
ecosystem that would reduce (though never eliminate) the risk of using a
technology and be hit by business-damaging royalties or injunctions.  In
the deal currently under discussion, we don't seem have to have either
factor in play.  At least not in a way verifiable by me.

If I knew the rightholders, I could correlate their names and portfolios
with a landscape study I may have performed, and then could decide a) the
rightholder group under whose rights which I would be licensed if I pick a
google sublicense is all I worry about, b) there are a few rightholders
where I don't have a license through google, but that's a risk I'm willing
to take given the benefits get, or c) I continue to stay away from VP8.
Given the nature of the google deal, I could also take a shortcut--as the
license google has appears to encompass all VP8-essential patent claims of
these 11 rightholders, I could just make a per company risk/benefit

Further, one nice thing about pools is that they set a market price for
patent licenses for the standard in question, which, in combination with a
RAND commitment, MAY limit the damages and royalties and MAY also rule out
injunctions.  Both aspects are currently being litigated and hotly debated
in the academic and standards/patents communities, which is why I wrote
"MAY".  We will know better in a few years.

>Why can we not trust them to have done so now, when they clearly
>released a formal statement saying they have?

It's not clear to me to what you refer here.

>If anything really does remain in order to make a meaningful assessment
>I would think it would be a careful examination of why this apparent
>double-standard still persists.
>> Of course, the rightsholders are free to disclose themselves.
>Since it seems like a pretty good bet that most if not all of them
>are represented here and have participated passionately in this
>discussion, I assume they are actually under an obligation to under
>the IETF IPR rules, should their IPR actually be relevant ...

Your understanding of the IETF IPR policy has, umm, a few holes.  Suggest
you read BCP79.  To summarize, only individuals have an obligations for
disclosure, and only if they a) have reasonable and personal knowledge of
IPR reading on the standard, b) have contributed, and c) the IPR is owned
by their employer.  Given the rather limited overlap between the video
coding community and IETF participants, it's rather unlikely that you find
people with a disclosure obligation under all three factors.  Of course,
people are also encouraged to disclose if only factor a) above is correct,
but there is no obligation, and given the risk of disclosures, such
voluntary disclosures are not particularly common and typically come from
academics (though others are by no means unheard of.)

>So if they don't, then we can only assume that is yet another data
>point solidly indicating that they also don't believe that anything
>they have actually does read on this technology.  And that the
>'agreement' may be as simple as not pressing a case with the DOJ
>to tear their whole crooked circus down, and not embarrassing them
>in public for being the simple grifters that they are.

I leave it to others to comment on this rant.

>So long as we're all perfectly clear on the actual status of what
>is now even more obviously the preferred MTI technology to choose,
>I guess I can live with that compromise.
> Good outcome is good,

On that, we agree.

> Ron
>rtcweb mailing list