Posted by: commonsresource | May 21, 2010

Party On? pt. 2– WebM & patents

Today’s Network World post by Nick Spence is entitled Steve Jobs: Unimpressed with Google open source video codec. Nick references a Register post on a purported email response by Steve Jobs to a “What did you make of the recent VP8 announcement?” question. While this brief response consisted of this url, it is a url that well warrants a look at!

According to Cade Metz’s Register post, the url is a link to a May 19, 2010 post by Jason Garrett-Glaser on his Diary Of An x264 Developer blog that states “that VP8 “appears to be significantly weaker” in terms of compression and slower to decode than H.264, the patented codec that Apple uses for HTML5 video in its Safari browser.”  Of particular interest is Jason’s following patent related observation:

Finally, the problem of patents appears to be rearing its ugly head again. VP8 is simply way too similar to H.264: a pithy, if slightly inaccurate, description of VP8 would be “H.264 Baseline Profile with a better entropy coder”. Though I am not a lawyer, I simply cannot believe that they will be able to get away with this, especially in today’s overly litigious day and age.  Even VC-1 [commons re:source – released by Microsoft a few years ago] differed more from H.264 than VP8 does, and even VC-1 didn’t manage to escape the clutches of software patents. Until we get some hard evidence that VP8 is safe, I would be extremely cautious.  Since Google is not indemnifying users of VP8 from patent lawsuits, this is even more of a potential problem.

Is the Party on or not? Too early to tell!

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