A few weeks ago we put up a critique of Google’s proposed VP8 license. The associated article drew the attention of the Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC), a law firm that provides pro bono support to the open source software community. Dialogue with the SFLC left Simon with a few important clarifications to make with regard to his article.
The key observation to take away is that the VP8 is in no way incompatible with open source licensing. The license is for the benefit of OEMs and patent holders who might otherwise get a bit twitchy. For most open source developers the VP8 license doesn’t need to be used.
Furthermore, the license includes a clause offering “release from past infringement”. This means that developers really don’t need to worry about using the license at all; in the unlikely situation that an MPEG-LA patent holder actually tried an attack on the basis of your VP8 implementation, you could then sign onto the license and cover yourself against those claims retrospectively. Read the full story in today’s InfoWorld article.