ESP Wiki is looking for moderators and active contributors!

WebM, VP8 and VP9

(Redirected from WebM)

WebM, VP8 and VP9 are components of an audio-visual format which aims to require no patent royalties, by avoiding some patented ideas and by getting royalty-free licences for others. WebM, VP8 and VP9 are primarily developed by Google and have the backing of organisations such as Mozilla, FSF, and Wikipedia.

WebM aims to replace H.264 as the most used video format for Internet video.

Background and technical details

WebM is the "container format", or the "wrapper". It's what the users sees: a .webm file. Inside this file is an audio stream, which could be Ogg Vorbis or Opus, and a video stream which could be VP8 or VP9. The container format provides information to keep the audio stream and the video stream in sync. The WebM container format is based on the existing Matroska format.

VP8 is the first video format published by Google. It was developed by On2, which was bought by Google, who released On2's software as free software (under a BSD-style licence).[1]

VP9 is an improved version, was released in 2013.

The Ogg Vorbis and Opus audio formats are developed by the Xiph Foundation. Since 2000, audio patents have been becoming less contentious and video patents more contentious, so most patent discussions about WebM focus on VP8 and VP9.

Before WebM, the highest quality video codec aiming to be patent-free was Xiph's Ogg Theora video format. With the release of WebM, the Xiph Foundation announced their support for it.[2] WebM thus replaces Ogg Theora in many ways, rather than being in competition with it.

Using and advocating WebM

Google's patent deals with MPEG LA


The CEO of MPEG-LA, Larry Horn, claims to be preparing a patent pool to be used against VP8, and thus WebM.[3] The threat may not be credible since similar claims were made against Ogg Theora but never materialised.

Google countered with a WebM Community Cross-License (CCL) initiative (25. April 2011).

The March 2013 announcement

In March 2013, Google announced a deal with MPEG LA offering some protection. For details see: Monty of's blog post, and the comments, and also the links and comments in this article, and the links in OSNews' article.

The May 2013 announcement

In May 2013, Google published a draft VP8 Patent Cross-license Agreement.

Can you help? Need to review that draft and summarise the good and bad points

Related court cases

Related pages on ESP Wiki

External links


  2. "Xiph.Org announces support for the WebM open media project". "The Xiph.Org Foundation is pleased to announce its support of the WebM open media project as a project launch partner. As announced earlier today at the Google I/O Developer Conference, the WebM format combines the VP8 video codec, the Matroska container, and the Vorbis audio codec developed by Xiph into a high-quality, open, unencumbered format for video delivery on the Web. Xiph will continue to contribute to WebM as a whole and collaborate in its further development and deployment."