Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Acacia Update: In an attempt to get more colleges and universities to pay royalties on revenue-generating distance-education programs that include the use of streaming video, Acacia Research Corp.--the company that claims to own the patent on streaming video technology--will issue a revised licensing proposal to schools. The letter, which schools should begin receiving this week, marks the latest salvo by Acacia in the fight for streaming video and audio technology ownership on the Internet.

The letter comes because schools have been slow to respond to Acacia's initial requests for royalty payments. Though a few academic institutions reportedly have acquiesced and entered into agreements with the company, the majority of schools thus far have resisted. Paying up to a 2-percent royalty for every audio and video clip streamed by students and professors is ridiculous, they assert, and threatens the very existence of distance-education programs in America's schools.

Amid the schools' concerns, Rob Berman, Acacia's general counsel, said the company reworked its original proposal, issued in July, to provide a more school-friendly licensing structure.

Under the original agreement, Acacia had demanded a minimum payment of $5,000 from any school that uses streaming video or audio for "educational purposes," including online and traditional courses, virtual campus tours, sporting events, and promotional spots for prospective students.

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