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InfoQ Homepage News Google and MPEG LA End All Disputes on VP8

Google and MPEG LA End All Disputes on VP8

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Google has obtained a license for any algorithm that may be essential to VP8 and MPEG LA has a patent for it. Google has the option to sublicense VP8 royalty-free to third party implementers, opening the way for wide adoption of the VP8 codec.

Google has announced an arrangement with MPEG LA and 11 patent owners to license any “techniques that may be essential to VP8”. Google has also the option to sublicense those techniques free of charge to any third party that uses the libvpx implementation of VP8 or the VP8 data format specification. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

MPEG LA also announced reaching an agreement with Google, adding that they will no longer seek to form a VP8 patent pool, being pleased to “facilitate agreements with Google to make VP8 widely available to users.”

Google mentioned the intention to publish the sublicensing terms in the following weeks, but anyone could guess what those are going to be since Google reiterated their intent to provide an “open, royalty-free video codec that anyone can use, and that can inspire future innovators. Today's announcement is an important step toward that goal.”

Now that the licensing troubles are no longer an issue, Google, Mozilla, and Opera can push VP8 forward. Together they currently have about 60% of the browser market according to StatCounter, but chances are the codec won’t see wide adoption unless website masters and CDNs will perceive it as providing substantial performance improvement. In the meantime, Google has recently announced that Chrome for Android will use a proxy that optimizes and transcodes all images to the WebP format in the near future. WebP is an image format that uses an algorithm taken from VP8, and provides 25% reduction in image size for lossless images compared to PNG, and 25-34% compared to JPEG when using the lossy format, according to Google.

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