Good News about VP8 Licensing

I applaud the licensing agreement announced by Google, MPEG-LA, and additional patent-holders. The agreement appears to align with W3C’s Patent Policy which has a goal of assuring that W3C Recommendations can be implemented on a Royalty-Free (RF) basis. Google has also re-iterated its goal to provide the web with a Royalty-Free video codec.

Royalty-Free licensing terms have played an important role in making the Web the premier platform for innovation, and W3C adopted its patent policy to encourage the widest adoption of Web standards. This is the first high-quality video codec we are aware of available on Royalty-Free terms.

Video is huge. In May 2012 Cisco predicted that by 2016, video will be 55 percent of all consumer Internet traffic. Last month they indicated that by 2017, two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video. Given support from developers for using HTML5 to reach diverse platforms, and growing interest from the television, automotive, digital signage, digital publishing, gaming, and other industries, this decision to aim at royalty-free licensing is likely to give VP8 an advantage on the Web.

Royalty-Free video is critical for the Web in general and has recently received attention for WebRTC. In November 2012 the W3C staff conveyed to the IETF that “there should be a royalty-free standard web infrastructure which should include Real Time Communications on the Web.” While W3C does not endorse a particular technology for WebRTC, we are quite pleased that there is finally a Royalty-Free codec to choose from.

Congratulations to all parties involved for increasing the value of the Web for the global community.

5 thoughts on “Good News about VP8 Licensing

  1. Taking this as a signal that W3C will reconsider putting it into HTML5? The vocal parties that the workgroup was pandering to appear to not have a leg to stand on any more.

  2. What is the definition “high quality” in this sentence:
    “This is the first high-quality video codec we are aware of available on Royalty-Free terms.” ?

    Because, according to this article, you updated your opinion and now it isn’t “high enough quality”:

    Updated at 3:29 p.m. PT to clarify that the W3C is aware there are royalty-free video codecs but that the organization hasn’t yet found any that are of high enough quality.

    1. Greg, I agree that VP8 is high quality and as I indicated in my blog post, Google has a goal to make it RF.

      Since my blog post I have seen additional stories
      and as a result I am taking a more reserved stance until I have the opportunity to hear further legal analysis.

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