Re: [rtcweb] Finishing up the Video Codec document, MTI (again, still, sorry)

Justin Uberti <juberti@google.com> Thu, 04 December 2014 02:25 UTC

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From: Justin Uberti <juberti@google.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2014 18:25:00 -0800
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To: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
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Subject: Re: [rtcweb] Finishing up the Video Codec document, MTI (again, still, sorry)
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Many companies, of various market capitalizations, are shipping VP8 today,
indicating the amount of concern they have for the Nokia declaration.

But as I said during the meeting, if you really are concerned about this,
we would be happy to give you a VP8 binary of some sort.

On Wed, Dec 3, 2014 at 6:08 PM, David Singer <singer@apple.com> wrote:

> You're missing something. I am considering a company that has ipr in
> *other* aspects of webrtc, that gives a license to that only to conformant
> implementations. Not the codec.
>
> What do you do? Defy the Nokia declaration, defy the 'must' and not do vp8
> and be non-conformant, or not do webrtc at all? None are good choices.
>
> Sent from my iPad
>
> > On Dec 3, 2014, at 5:25 PM, Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> >> On Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 5:33 AM, David Singer <singer@apple.com> wrote:
> >> As I understand it, the recent face to face meeting decided to draft
> the requirement that WebRTC browsers be required to implement both VP8 and
> H.264, and get feedback on this, on the list.
> >>
> >> This is some feedback.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> I’d like to point out that this could easily place companies in an
> impossible position.
> >>
> >> Consider: it is not uncommon for IPR owners to grant a license (often
> free) only to ‘conforming implementations’. (A common rationale is that
> they want to use their IPR to bring convergence and interoperability to the
> industry).  Let’s hypothesize that this happens, now or in future, from
> Company X, for some IPR in the WebRTC specifications.
> >>
> >> Consider also: we have an “unwilling to license” statement from Nokia
> on VP8, on the formal record (and including a long list of patents).
> >>
> >> Consider finally: a small company for whom WebRTC is important.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Let’s look at the choices:
> >>
> >> 1.  Follow the mandate, implement VP8, and risk a ruinous lawsuit from
> Nokia.
> >>
> >> 2.  Reject the mandate, do not implement VP8, and be formally therefore
> not conformant and therefore not in receipt of a license from company X;
> risk a ruinous lawsuit from X.
> >>
> >> 3.  Do not implement WebRTC, and risk a ruinous loss of relevance.
> >
> >
> > I don't see the risk of 1. having changed because of the IETF's
> > statement. Plenty of small companies are already doing 1. and have had
> > to risk getting sued by Nokia at this point in time already. In fact,
> > it's a risk that small companies always have to deal with since there
> > is so much patented technology around that you invariable will step on
> > something. I doubt very much that the IETF's decision has any impact
> > on small business' risk in that space at all.
> >
> >
> >> I do not think that the IETF should be placing anyone into the position
> of having three extremely unpalatable choices.
> >
> > For a small company in the WebRTC space, 3. is a non-choice. 2. Is
> > more of a business decision than an IP decision - which market are you
> > trying to address? Are you trying to be interoperable with (current)
> > browsers - then implement VP8. Are you trying to be interoperable with
> > legacy devices - then implement H.264 (and probably even H.263).
> >
> > If you are trying to argue for a large company, the situation changes.
> > However, as a large company, you tend to have an existing portfolio of
> > patents. You're already playing the game of patents. As long as your
> > hypothetical "IPR owners to grant a license only to ‘conforming
> > implementations’" doesn't happen, you are free to choose 2. and avoid
> > Nokia.
> >
> > As for the threat in your option 2. - I can only see Google with IPR
> > around VP8. Now, Google's IPR statement on WebM codecs, which includes
> > VP8 and VP9 currently states: "Google hereby grants to you a
> > perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free,
> > irrevocable (except as stated in this section) patent license"
> > http://www.webmproject.org/license/additional/
> > The word "perpetual" implies (to my non-lawyer eyes) that they can't
> > suddenly change this to mean "only if you are conformant to the
> > standard". So you can't be referring to such a risk associated with
> > VP8 being created by Google. I don't know which other company you
> > would want to be afraid of for your hypothetical threat in 2. Could
> > you clarify?
> >
> >
> > Best Regards,
> > Silvia.
> >
> >
> >> (Yes, I am aware that #2 is ‘unlikely’, but one day someone will decide
> that the “only to conformant implementations” clause needs to be real and
> enforced, and will do this; our hypothetical small company might prefer not
> to be the example case.)
> >>
> >> (I use a small company as the example, because for them the risk is
> bankruptcy, but of course no-one likes to step into the path of trouble
> even if they have the resources to weather it.)
> >>
> >> Dave Singer
> >>
> >> singer@mac.com
> >>
> >> David Singer
> >> Manager, Software Standards, Apple Inc.
> >>
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> rtcweb mailing list
> >> rtcweb@ietf.org
> >> https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/rtcweb
>
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