Re: [rtcweb] Proposal for H.263 baseline codec

Basil Mohamed Gohar <basilgohar@librevideo.org> Thu, 29 March 2012 15:15 UTC

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Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 11:15:03 -0400
From: Basil Mohamed Gohar <basilgohar@librevideo.org>
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Subject: Re: [rtcweb] Proposal for H.263 baseline codec
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On 03/29/2012 10:57 AM, Basil Mohamed Gohar wrote:
> On 03/29/2012 10:53 AM, Stephan Wenger wrote:
>> On 3.29.2012 16:24 , "Basil Mohamed Gohar" <basilgohar@librevideo.org>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> On 03/29/2012 10:20 AM, Stephan Wenger wrote:
>>>> The second part of your sentence may or may not be true, depending on
>>>> your
>>>> relationship with google, your willingness to use the webm
>>>> implementation
>>>> in unchanged form, and other factors.  Please see the webm license
>>>> conditions, which AFAIK can be found here:
>>>> http://www.webmproject.org/license/additional/
>>> Correct.  I think you are referring to this part, explicitly:
>>>> If you or your agent or exclusive licensee institute or order or agree
>>>> to the institution of patent litigation against any entity (including
>>>> a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that this
>>>> implementation of VP8 or any code incorporated within this
>>>> implementation of VP8 constitutes direct or contributory patent
>>>> infringement, or inducement of patent infringement, then any patent
>>>> rights granted to you under this License for this implementation of
>>>> VP8 shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.
>>> Perhaps I assumed that that is a very reasonable part of the license.
>>> That is, if you are suing someone alleging a patent infringement within
>>> VP8, you are no longer granted the license to use VP8's patented
>>> technologies that Google owns.
>> Yes, that's one issue.  Call it personal preference for different type of
>> reciprocity conditions :-)  (I could rant about it for hours, but let's
>> continue to pretend that this is mostly a technical mailing list)
>>
>> The other issue, though (the fact that the license grant extends only to
>> the VP8 implementation as provided by google, and does not extent to
>> derivative works such as hardware implementations) should be moderately
>> alarming even for an open source person.  With respect to this clause, I
>> will note that I criticized the licensing conditions in private and in
>> public (IETF mike) several times, months ago, and nothing happened.
>> Suggests to me one of three things: (1) google is a large company and
>> decisions take time, or (2) google's legal is currently occupied with
>> other stuff, or (3) that the choice of language is intentional, and
>> intended to prevent forks.  Take your pick.
>> Stephan
> Stephan,
>
> If the license wording is meant to limit the patent grant only to
> software implementations, then I will raise this issue myself, because
> that's a glaring hole and huge setback to the adoption of the format. 
> If I find anything out about this, I'll report back here.  The fact that
> there are already hardware implementations, though, seems to imply that
> in reality, this is not the case.  Google has been open to changing the
> licensing situation of VP8 in the past when issues like this were
> brought up.
>
> I do not, however, want this to be a point of FUD.  I would welcome
> anyone from Google on this list authorized to speak about this to
> clarify this ASAP.  A public statement like that should allow us to
> discount this worry.
>
A quicker follow-up than a requested, and by someone from outside of Google.

The first license you linked to appears to cover the libvpx
implementation itself.  It's solely a software implementation, obviously.

The VP8 bitstream is licensed separately, here:

http://www.webmproject.org/license/bitstream/

And that appears to make no distinction between software or hardware. 
It relates to the VP8 format (a.k.a., the bitstream) itself.  If I'm
wrong, hopefully someone can correct me.

-- 
Libre Video
http://librevideo.org