Google have released a draft agreement designed to help VP8 adoption by licensing a number of relevant patents on a royalty free basis. It sounds good, but the details of the license still need some work. Hopefully we’ll see some changes to this draft before the final license is released.
There are a number of issues with the document as it stands. One key problem is that it’s not sub-licensable; every user wanting to benefit from the agreement would need to make an individual response. That might not seem like a problem to corporate benefactors, who can sign once for all products and staff, but in the open source world it has potential to be very disruptive or at least rouse suspicion.
Google’s opponents in the MPEG-LA patent holder community should consider this document a successful disruption of VP8’s progress. It would slow down adoption and leave the open source community scratching its head and considering the extent to which the license is just an optional extra. Read more in today’s InfoWorld article.