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

Basil Mohamed Gohar <basilgohar@librevideo.org> Thu, 29 March 2012 14:57 UTC

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Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 10:57:21 -0400
From: Basil Mohamed Gohar <basilgohar@librevideo.org>
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Cc: "rtcweb@ietf.org" <rtcweb@ietf.org>
Subject: Re: [rtcweb] Proposal for H.263 baseline codec
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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.

-- 
Libre Video
http://librevideo.org