Patents are ammo in YouTube and Netflix's video wars

March 4, 2011: 10:30 AM ET

The Justice Department is investigating whether a "patent pool" is abusing the system to try and cripple a new Google-developed open-source video standard.

Google's (GOOG) YouTube and other video downloading websites like Netflix (NFLX) license the video streaming technology for the video they provide (called H.264) from a consortium of companies that collectively operate a LLC Patent pool called MPEG LA.  The group says that they are a patent pool or "convenience store" for companies that wish to license video software.  But for those on the outside however, MPEG LA seems more like a monopoly.

In May of last year, a German Software company called Nero filed an antitrust suit against MPEG LA, claiming it "unlawfully extended its patent pools by adding non-essential patents to the MPEG-2 patent pool" and has been inconsistent in charging royalty fees.

A report today says that there could be more legal trouble on the way for MPEG LA. More

  • Google to drop support for embedded H.264 video

    In a surprising move yesterday, Google announced that it would no longer support the web's most common video format in its browser.  The web is not pleased.

    The web is up in arms at what appears to be a double standard in keeping things open over at Google (GOOG).  In a blog post on their Chromium blog, Google wrote that it would no longer support H.264 video as an HTML5 embedded MORE

    - Jan 12, 2011 2:55 PM ET
  • WebP: Google's attempt to change images on the web

    Just like its WebM for video, Google's WebP aims to reduce file sizes and speed up delivery of media to browsers.

    It is a pretty daunting task that Google is proposing: change the whole web over to a new image format.  .GIF then .JPG and the newer .PNG formats have standardized over the years and aren't likely to change any time soon.  Google today has offered up its Open Source WebP format MORE

    - Sep 30, 2010 9:57 PM ET
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