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New Patent Pool Wants 0.5% Of Every Content Owner/Distributor's Gross Revenue For Higher Quality Video
In March, a new group named HEVC Advance announced the formation of a new patent pool [see: New HEVC Patent Pool Launches Creating Confusion & Uncertainly In The Market] with the goal of compiling over 500 patents pertaining to HEVC technology. The pool of patent holders, which is "expected" to include GE, Technicolor, Dolby, Philips, and Mitsubishi Electric has just announced their royalty rates and are going directly after content owners and CE manufacturers. HEVC Advance wants 0.5% of content owners attributable gross revenue for each HEVC Video type. To put in perspective how unjust and unfair their licensing terms are, they want 0.5% of Netflix, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and every other content owner/distributor's revenue, as it pertains to HEVC usage. Considering that most content owners and distributors plan to convert all of their videos over time to use the new High Efficiency Video Coding compression standard, companies like Facebook, Netflix and others would have to pay over $100M a year in licensing payments. The licensing terms apply to all content services that get revenue from advertising, subscription and PPV - which pretty much equals every content owner, OTT provider, broadcaster, sports league, satellite broadcaster and cable provider you can think of.
Making matters worse, HEVC Advance says their licensing terms [listed in detail here] are "retroactive to date of 1st sale", so companies would be required to make payments on content they have already distributed using HEVC. In addition to content owners, HEVC Advance is also going after CE manufacturers of TV, mobile and streaming devices. TV manufacturers would have to pay $1.50 per unit and mobile devices incur a cost of $0.80 per unit. Streaming boxes, cable set-top-boxes, game consoles, Blu-ray players, digital video recorders, digital video projectors, digital media storage devices, personal navigation devices and digital photo frames would cost a manufacturer $1.10 per unit.
While HEVC Advance is quick to say how "fair and reasonable" their terms are, they aren't. The best way to describe their terms would be unreasonable and greedy. MPEG LA, another licensing body for HEVC patents, charges CE manufacturers $0.20 per unit after the first 100,000 units each year (no royalties are payable for the first 100,000 units) up to a current maximum annual amount of $25M. HEVC Advance's rates for TV manufacturers is seven times more expensive than MPEG LA's licensing fees. In addition, MPEG LA charges content owners nothing for utilizing HEVC technologies in their business. (Updated 7/24: Removed reference to the licensing terms for AVC to make it easier to compare pricing)
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