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Old February 21st, 2008, 02:14 AM   #1
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Reports of Blu-Ray's expensive licensing fees?

Did anybody hear about the licensing fees that indies will have to pay to author and distrubute Blu-Ray HD discs?

This is from a Larry Jordan report I read today in the e-newsletter, Digital Production Buzz (New Bay Media):

"In a recent conversation with Bruce Nazarian, president of the DVD Association, during The BuZZ podcast, we were discussing the sudden shift toward Blu-Ray HD DVDs. While Blu-Ray may be good for Hollywood, it won't be good for small independent producers. This is due to all the hidden fees tacked on to replicating a Blu-Ray DVD.

For example, producers of industrial and non-broadcast content are required to pay a $2,500 licensing fee to author and distribute Blu-Ray.

Then, each producer is required to pay a $3,000 one-time AACS license fee, plus a per-title fee for EACH replicated Blu-Ray disc. Currently, Sony DADC is quoting that fee at $1,585 per title (per complete Blu-ray disc project).

Then there's the per disc replication cost, which varies by quantity, and finally, there's a $0.04 per disc fee for AACS and $0.01 per disc if you want SONY DADC to administer the payments to AACS on your behalf.

As Bruce indicates, we may be standardizing on Blu-Ray, but the prices won't be cheap."

What does the DVI Community think about this news?

Collis Davis
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Old February 21st, 2008, 02:35 AM   #2
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AACS is used on both BD and HD DVD. The license fees are the same in either case.

http://www.aacsla.com/support/

That's not to say that there aren't additional charges specific to BD or HD DVD duplication. If there are links on where to get the contract information, that would be helpful.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 03:03 AM   #3
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Readers can go here to listen to the Podcast referenced above, Thursday, Feb 21st around 6:20 pm Pacific time. Check out this URL:

http://www.digitalproductionbuzz.com/LiveThisWeek/

What is the enforcement mechanism regarding payment of the above license fees?

I, for one, will not be able to afford these fees. It would seem to me that when folks learn about these fees, there is likely to be a revolt, and a move to circumvent them.

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Old February 21st, 2008, 03:20 AM   #4
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I did pursue the link that Jon Fairhurst posted (thank you!) and learned that this AACS system is essentially a content protection scheme for the new optical disc technologies. So, really, this is an optional thing. My concern evolved out of thinking that this would be imposed on everyone. No.

As I understand it, only those producers who wish to avail of this protection scheme (and who can afford it) will opt for this. Correct me if I am wrong about this. Even within the DVD world, I've always thought it wasn't worth it to pay for these protections as Asian bootleggers can crack just about any copy protection scheme anyway!

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Old February 21st, 2008, 03:27 AM   #5
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Is this therefore not similar to macrovision where there is a licence fee payable? I can't imagine they're going to insist on a licence fee for every blu-ray disc that is burned... I guess set-top boxes will have burnable BD discs soon so will they have to pay a licence fee?
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Old February 21st, 2008, 03:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Risdon View Post
...I guess set-top boxes will have burnable BD discs soon so will they have to pay a licence fee?
I doubt it, but I am in no position to make this kind of assessment.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 04:18 AM   #7
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The License fee is built into the retail price of blank writeable discs, as it is already with blank CDs and DVDs.

My view on all this?

It's all media scaremongering/misinformation.

There's not gonna be any BIG change to the way things work. Blu-ray is going to be a little more expensive, because it's newer and bigger than the previous. But dire warnings of 1,000,000,000,000% price increases for people who want to burn their own are nonsense. (IMHO)
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Old February 21st, 2008, 06:15 AM   #8
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Sounds like Chris has the last word on this issue.

Thanks!

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Old February 21st, 2008, 11:59 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Collis Davis View Post
Sounds like Chris has the last word on this issue.
Not quite...

Unfortunately, not all players on the market will play BDs that lack AACS. Some players are lenient. Some require an empty AACS folder. Others will not play non-protected discs at all.

So it seems that a key requirement is that 1) Players be able to play non-protected content, and 2) authoring systems need to make compliant discs, such as with empty AACS folders, if really required.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 12:50 PM   #10
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I don't think this will be a big deal. If the client is faced with spending a couple thousand dollars to get a disc to work with their current player or just buy a new player for under $300 or so....I'm sure they will just buy a new Blu-Ray player. Or take web delivery.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 02:22 PM   #11
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I don't think this will be a big deal. If the client is...
You are assuming a client. But what of small, general distribution?

You can't realistically ask the people who attended a wedding/school play/amateur sporting event to purchase new BD players from your recommended list.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 04:35 PM   #12
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This got me irritated after seeing on a couple of forums, so I sent an email to the Blu-Ray Association for licensing.

Apparently, for wedding and event videographers, there is good news, but as he states, for movies, you will have to pay.

Here is the email response:

Dear Jerome,

For a small size company like you, we have a cost free license agreement called Logo License Agreement.

This permits you to use an official Blu-ray logo for your advertisement and promotion at no cost. I presume that the BD disc you intend to distribute is BD-R disc containing wedding and event video and the number of copies are small unlike movies.

Appreciate if you can download the Logo License Agreement application and send it back to us http://www.blu-raydisc.info/license_app/lla_apps.php

Thanks,

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Blu-ray Disc Association
License Office
10 Universal City Plaza, T-100
Universal City CA 91608 USA
Fax: 1-818-763-9027
E-mail: license@bdamail.com
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Old February 21st, 2008, 05:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
AACS is used on both BD and HD DVD. The license fees are the same in either case.
The key difference - and its a major difference - is that AACS was optional on HD DVD but mandatory on Blu-Ray. So a small indie publisher could order up batch of 1,000 HD DVDs without AACS to save the $2,500.

Its been confirmed by both adult studios and at least one independent publisher (R&B Studios I believe) that Blu-Ray generally costs a good chunk more to publish and that they *must* pay AACS fees for their Blu-Ray releases.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 10:14 PM   #14
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I have a few questions on this topic:

How many BD's can you make before you're required to use AACS? Or is this rule simply for replication (pressed discs)?

How many players don't play non-AACS discs? A majority? Are they only the earliest players? How about the Playstation 3?

Second, according to the email Jerome recieved, if we apply and get accepted to the Logo License Agreement, we can use the Blu-Ray logo freely on our packaging, unlike DVD? If I understood that correctly, then that's at least one thing they've done right.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 10:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
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I have a few questions on this topic:

How many BD's can you make before you're required to use AACS? Or is this rule simply for replication (pressed discs)?
From what I"ve gleaned - and that's limited so add a pound of salt - you can burn all you want to at home. But you'll never burn a "real" holywood type AACS encrypted film at home because you don't have the tools to do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harris View Post
How many players don't play non-AACS discs? A majority? Are they only the earliest players? How about the Playstation 3?
Well that's where it gets fuzzy. There was a substantial amount of discussion on this subject at another forum and it included at least 2 Blu-Ray industry insiders, including one that worked directly for Sony. The insiders had to do research on this topic and I'm not sure if the entire discussion was really drawn to a solid conclusion. At the very least, I believe most existing players and hopefully all future players should support "basic" BD discs, which are essentially the video files and menus. Now advanced authored discs with Java authoring... I'm not so sure. Security flags may kick on players when non-AACS discs of that nature are played, possibly under the assumption that its a pirated copy of a real film. But don't take my word on this, it really needs to be researched.

I just installed my first BD burner today, so I'm going to revisit all the BD authoring materials I can get my hands on to see what the final story is. I'm not looking forward to it, because BD *is* heavily DRM'd. Its one of the reasons that several studios chose Blu-Ray exclusively to begin with. As it stands right now, I'm afraid I won't be able to author advanced discs with features like PiP or internet connectivity, but I hope I'm wrong.
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