MPEG LA Extends Free Use of H.264
DENVER: MPEG LA, the licensing body for MPEG compression
patent portfolios, said it would extend free use of MPEG-4/H.264 for online
video that’s free to end users. The royalty-free policy will continue through
the next licensing term running Jan. 1, 2011 through Dec. 31, 2015.
“MPEG LA’s AVC Patent Portfolio License provides coverage for devices that
decode and encode AVC video, AVC video sold to end users for a fee on a title
or subscription basis and free television video services,” MPEG LA said. “AVC
video is used in set-top boxes, media player and other personal computer
software, mobile devices including telephones and mobile television receivers,
Blu-ray DiscTM players and recorders, Blu-ray video optical discs, game
machines, personal media player devices and still and video cameras.”
These various uses are covered under different categories of the H.264
license, one for equipment makers and another for content distributors. The
content distribution category is further subdivided into free TV, Internet
broadcasting, title-by-title and subscription. The Internet broadcasting subcagetory
includes free streaming.
The fee structure for free TV and for Internet broadcasting is either $2,500
per H.264 encoder or an annual fee of $2,500 to $10,000, depending on the size
of the market served. Title-by-title, for videos 12 minutes or longer, is 2
percent of the retail price or 2 cents per title. For subscription, the license
ranges from $25,000 a year for up to 250,000 subscribers, to $100,000 a year
for 1 million or more, with a cap of $5 million.