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Dolby Laboratories Announces MPEG-4 AAC Licensing Program

Nokia joins AT&T, Dolby, Fraunhofer, and Sony in
enabling next-generation audio solutions

San Francisco, CA, March 26, 2002—Dolby Laboratories, a leader in multichannel sound, today announced the launch of a newly expanded MPEG-4 AAC licensing program. Joined by the co-licensors, Dolby is building on its successful MPEG-2 AAC program to address streaming, wireless, and multimedia applications.

Acting as the licensing administrator for patents held by AT&T, Dolby, Fraunhofer IIS-A, and Sony, Dolby is pleased to announce the addition of Nokia to the group of co-licensors. Dolby will immediately begin offering MPEG-4 AAC licenses worldwide under fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory terms. Furthermore, a convenient migration path for existing MPEG-2 AAC licensees will be made available.

http://www.aac-audio.com

Dolby Laboratories Announces MPEG-4 AAC Licensing Program

Reply #1
Quote
fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory terms


Bullshit.  You'll have to have an annual profit of a hundred million U.S. dollars to afford the licensing.
A fearless audio explorer in search of Truth, Beauty, and the elusive MPC-busting sample!

Dolby Laboratories Announces MPEG-4 AAC Licensing Program

Reply #2
Why?

- There are no annual fees, they even defined annual MAXIMUM (MP3 has $15,000 annual minimum)

- There are no content fees (MP3 has streaming fees)

- Initial fee is $10,000


Seems pretty fair and non-discriminatory to me, it is not free but it is certainly not unfair. MPEG stuff is a big business, and nobody expected MPEG algorithms to be royalty free.

PS: I am also not satisfied with the terms - free license for freeware decoders would be a major plus, I hope that they'll change their mind one day.

Dolby Laboratories Announces MPEG-4 AAC Licensing Program

Reply #3
OK, so I exaggerate, but it looks like the (one-time, am I reading this right?) fee is $550,000 for a stereo codec that is freely available to anyone in the world.  You can make a stereo decoder for the mere pittance of $50,000, but what fun is that?

Fair would mean "free if you don't sell it", at least in my book.  Maybe I'm insane, though.

This licensing scheme is confusing, though.  If you make a 5.1 surround sound AAC product do you pay for 5.1 channels or 6? 
A fearless audio explorer in search of Truth, Beauty, and the elusive MPC-busting sample!

Dolby Laboratories Announces MPEG-4 AAC Licensing Program

Reply #4
Hmm - at this point only a small portion of companies would allow free AAC codec in their downloadable software. Same fun with MPEG-4 video: $1,000,000 annual cap for a software DEcoder!

But the same situation applies to MP3, and we have few free, legal MP3 encoders (MusicMatch, etc..) - it seems that some companies have clever business model, or they have managed to include essential patent holders into investment pool

If someone is going for a cheap (free) and high quality solution Ogg Vorbis is a way to go - but if open, high quality international standard is to be concerned, I would go with AAC.

Dolby Laboratories Announces MPEG-4 AAC Licensing Program

Reply #5
Ivan, i agree that i was astonished about the licensing they did. It probably still doesnt deserve the word 'fair' but at least is sounds 'feasible' !

Makes me wonder again if .mp4 could be a preferred alternative to my beloved MCF .... if there just weren't the other licensing costs

BTW, its a real pitty we lost you as a member on our board with the big database crash .. your input on the 'war of formats' was very founded and alway highly apreciated.

Dolby Laboratories Announces MPEG-4 AAC Licensing Program

Reply #6
Quote
Originally posted by ChristianHJW
your input on the 'war of formats' was very founded and alway highly apreciated.


As usual... here too.
(In those damn wars of AAC x MPC...)

Thanks, Ivan.

Dolby Laboratories Announces MPEG-4 AAC Licensing Program

Reply #7
Well, MusicMatch can probably afford it:

According to their press releases, they have 100,000 subscribers to Radio MX.  At $40 per year (conservative -- undoubtedly some have the $5/month subscription for $60/year), that's $4 million in revenue per year.  Assuming they stream in MP3, that costs them 2% of their revenue, or $80,000 a year.  The rest goes elsewhere.

Also, they claim 24 million registered copies of Jukebox have been sold, so that's a load of revenue at $20 each.  $5 of that cost goes to Thompson, leaving MusicMatch $15 per Jukebox for other things.

The wild cards are advertisers (revenue) and people who download the free player (each copy costs MusicMatch $5).

So that's why they (and Real, and whoever else sell these things)hide the free download button -- each download costs them $5 thanks to the screwed-up per-unit licensing.

I could live with the n% of revenue model for codec licensing, BTW.  That's what I would call fair.  Leaves room for the hobbyist/researcher/whatever, and the company still gets their money.
A fearless audio explorer in search of Truth, Beauty, and the elusive MPC-busting sample!

 

Dolby Laboratories Announces MPEG-4 AAC Licensing Program

Reply #8
Well, Thompson Multimedia owns part of MusicMatch, so, it's easy to set agreements with the patent holders.

 
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