Google’s WebM video format might not be so free after all, says MPEG-LA

Google might be trying to shake up video on the web by releasing the WebM video format and VP8 codec under a royalty-free open-source license, but we’ve already heard the format’s uncomfortably close relationship to H.264 might cause some patent concerns, and the MPEG-LA, which licenses the H.264 patents, doesn’t seem to be sitting still. CEO Larry Horn told All Things Digital that MPEG-LA is looking into forming a patent pool in order to license vendors who want stay clear of any patent disputes while using WebM — the idea would be to avoid any patent liability down the road by simply paying for a license now, especially since Google doesn’t seem to be promising anything when it comes to protection from lawsuits. We’d wager all this means WebM will go from royalty-free to patent-encumbered just as soon as MPEG-LA gets its paperwork in order — the same thing essentially happened to Microsoft when it tried to release the VC-1 format royalty-free — and that means video on the web might soon be right back where it started. We’ll see what happens.

Google’s WebM video format might not be so free after all, says MPEG-LA originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 21 May 2010 11:48:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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