Unified Blu-ray licensing is remedy to 'bag of hurt'

One of the most repeated and memorable quotes from the tech world in the last six months was Steve Jobs referring to Blu-ray as a "bag of hurt," not for any consumer end shortcomings, but rather for its complex licensing process.

Today, Sony, Phillips and Panasonic issued a joint press release announcing the creation of a "one stop shop" for Blu-ray licensing that will seeks to simplify and cheapen the process. The idea has been discussed numerous times since 2007, well before Blu-ray had even won the high-definition format war.

The license company created by Panasonic, Sony and Phillips would be a single point of contact for all essential patents for Blu-ray, DVD and CD technologies. Previously, for a manufacturer to make a disc player, licenses had to be obtained from no less than three separate bodies simply for the fundamental technology behind an the player.

Licenses were sometimes in excess of $20 per player depending on the type of machine being created. The new licensing fees taking effect later this year will be $9.50 for a Blu-ray player, $14 for a Blu-ray recorder, 11¢ for a read-only disc, 12¢ for a recordable disc, and 15¢ for a rewritable disc.

"By establishing a new licensing entity that offers a single license for Blu-ray Disc products at attractive rates," said Gerald Rosenthal, CEO of Open Invention Network, who will head up the new company. "I am confident that it will foster the growth of the Blu-ray Disc market and serve the interest of all companies participating in this market, be it as licensee or licensor."

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