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NABA voices MPEG4-AVC licensing concerns
9/4/2003

TORONTO - The technical committee of the North American Broadcasters Association today expressed full support for the concerns raised by international broadcasters regarding proposed MPEG4–AVC licensing arrangements.

The World Broadcasting Unions Technical Committee, of which NABA is a member, believes that the currently proposed licensing arrangements for MPEG4-AVC will be a major deterrent for its use.

Unlike the MPEG2 licensing, which is based on equipment fees (resulting in MPEG2 becoming a massive worldwide success) the MPEG4-AVC licensing calls for fees based on usage (costs per minute used or the number of subscribers) and to a lesser extent for equipment fees. These fees are to be charged according to distinctions of type of use and type of receiver.

Dr. Joseph Flaherty, chairman of the NABA technical committee says North American broadcasters welcome and encourage open standards, but urges license-holders to recognize broadcasters will only adopt standards that offer cost effective solutions.

"License costs based on usage will deter broadcasters from adopting MPEG4-AVC," Dr. Flaherty said in a release. Further, he added, "NABA fully supports the position of the WBU-TC on the MPEG4-AVC licensing issue which is of great concern to the members of the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA)."

NABA endorses the WBU-TC statement on MPEG4-AVC which the WBU issued in May.
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World Broadcasting Unions united in concerns for MPEG4 licensing

TORONTO - The World Broadcasting Unions Technical Committee (WBU-TC) is the collective technical body for the world's eight broadcasting unions. It reflects the opinions of the world's national broadcasters across five continents.

Video compression technology is a major factor for broadcasters, and other content service providers in the consideration of new services. Their decision about which technology to choose is influenced by performance, availability, and licensing costs.

The WBU-TC believes that current licensing arrangements for MPEG4 Visual will be a major deterrent to its use. Unlike the MPEG2 licensing, which is based on equipment fees (resulting in MPEG2 becoming a massive worldwide success) the MPEG4 Visual licensing calls for fees based on usage (costs per minute used or the number of subscribers) and to a lesser extent for equipment fees. These are to be charged according to distinctions of type of use and type of receiver.

For MPEG4 Part 10 (H.264), an important successor technology, a licensing structure will be decided in the near future and it must not be a barrier to massive global adoption.

The WBU-TC believes that:

License costs based on usage are a deterrent to use. The more content the system is used to carry, the more it will cost. License regimes need to be arranged to encourage use, not to discourage it.

Distinctions proposed based on the type of receiver will not be practical to implement. DTT and DAB services will be used for fixed, portable and mobile reception, and may be used in both pay and free-to-air modes. Convergence means that only equipment fees, independent of use, are practical.

The broadcast community welcomes and encourages open standards, but license holders need to recognize that license cost is a factor in the choice of system. Licensing for open compression systems must encourage their use, not discourage it.

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