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25 April 2011, 21:08

WebM Community Cross-License initiative launched

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WebM logo Google, Matroska and Xiph.Org Foundation have announced the launch of the WebM Community Cross-License (CCL) initiative , which will see WebM CCL supporters cross-license patents, on a royalty free basis, that are essential to WebM between other members of the WebM CCL initiative. The move is intended to protect the emerging WebM ecosystem.

The founding members include the browser makers Mozilla and Opera Software along with hardware manufacturers AMD, Cisco, Huawei (via HiSilicon), LG Electronics, Logitech, MIPS Technologies, Samsung, STMicroelectronics (and ST-Ericsson), Texas Instruments, Pantech, Quanta Computer and Verisilicon Holdings. The actual agreement is still in the process of being developed but a "summary of provisions" sees the creation of an administrator (CCA) which will enter into individual agreements with all the partners to make patents available to anyone creating a VP8 encoder or decoder, Vorbis audio encoder/decoder, or stream reader/writer muxer/demuxer for the Matroska file format. The provisions say that partners need not disclose which patents they own are covered by the agreement.

The CCA says that licensing patents is a tangible way for members to show their commitment to WebM. It also notes that organisations and individuals who wish to use WebM do not need to join the CCL because, Matroska and Google make their technology available under an open-source BSD licence with an additional patent grant. The creation of the CCL comes just over one month after the MPEG-LA closed the initial submissions phase in the process of creating a royalty-bearing patent pool for WebM. The MPEG-LA's Tom O'Reilly confirmed to The H that the process is continuing and that the organisation had received submissions to its proposed pool.

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