Tuesday, April 26, 2005

STORM BREWING AHEAD FOR MPEG LA? (InformationWeek.com) For the second time in just a few weeks, and responding to what it says are ongoing industry concerns about licensing terms proposed by MPEG LA for the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) Digital Rights Management (DRM), the Alliance has reiterated that it wants to distance itself from MPEG LA and its licensing terms for OMA DRM.

In its second and frustrating sounding statement, the OMA stressed Monday that it does not have a relationship with MPEG LA and did not participate in the development of the license terms suggested by MPEG LA for OMA DRM.

Earlier this year, the MPEG LA licensing agency unveiled a joint portfolio license covering essential patents for the OMA's digital rights management scheme.

While the Alliance's approach is designed for mobile handset applications covering a relatively limited segment of the broader digital rights landscape, industry observers viewed that announcement as the critical first step for sorting out disputes among competing DRM technologies.

Under the proposed patent pool, MPEG LA said royalty rates for patents essential to digital rights management functionality would be $1 per device. That amount would be paid by product manufacturers. Service providers would pay 1 percent of any transaction in which users pay for digital content employing OMA's version 1.0.

That scheme, however, angered the GSM Association, suggesting the 'per device' fee touted by the MPEG LA was unreasonable and excessive, and that its members consider the 'per transaction' fee as unworkable in the market.

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