AFTER HAVING LAUNCHED exclusively by a few companies, Blu-ray is about to be licensed to the world plus dog but don't expect prices to drop.
The BD4C Licensing Group, which is made up of Mitsubishi, Thomson, Toshiba and Warner Bros, has announced that it has commenced a worldwide joint licensing program for Blu-ray and the patents needed for Blu-ray Disc (BD) decoders, encoders, recorders, players, read-only discs, recordable discs, drives and BD/DVD hybrid discs.
Basically it means that anyone who wants to make a Blu-ray bit of kit can go to one place and get all the patents they need.
License royalties under the BD4C portfolio include four cents per Blu-ray Disc, eight cents per Blu-ray/DVD hybrid disc, and $4.50 per Blu-ray player, among others.
Like most cartels it does not seem to want to drop the price. Some blogs have been warning that this is actually a price hike. To make matters worse, the BD4C has said that prices could go up if more people join its consortium.
Interested parties are also free to negotiate separate license agreements, rather than taking a single portfolio license, with each of the four companies, which have committed to provide such licenses for their respective essential patents under fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms and conditions., the outfit said.
Ironically the companies have authorised Toshiba to act as licensor for the BD4C Licensing Group. Toshiba was the champion of the rival standard HD-DVD but is now a very enthusiastic member of the BD4C consortium. µ
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