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Are They Serious About MPEG-4 License Fees?

Technology news sites have reported on the debate around proposed fees for the use of the MPEG-4 patent collection. The best article we have found summarizing the fees was published on News.com on February 8.

One of the proposed fees is a sort of an exhibition fee that amounts to approximately two cents per hour, each time a work encoded in MPEG-4 is viewed. Many people in the technology industry (example: Doc Searls) find this proposal unworkable.

We could understand an exhibition fee if the only place MPEG-4 were going to be used was at theaters or amusement parks. But these patents will almost certainly be required for future consumer electronic devices. Consumers will never fork over a fee each time their son or daughter watches The Lion King on the TV in the living room. They're used to buying DVDs and VHS tapes for a low, one-time fee and being able to play it as often as they wish. This genie can't be put back in the bottle.

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