In Defense of MPEG LA

MPEG LA is the licensing authority that manages the patent portfolios for MPEG-2 and H.264 patent groups. The organization has received some bad press lately from Steve Forbes, writing in Fox News, and Howard Williams, writing for TelecomTV. The common complaint seems to be that MPEG LA is charging royalties for old and expired patents, which, in the words of Williams, resulted in consumers paying “vastly” more for DVDs and other products.

In an opinion piece that I wrote for Streaming Media Magazine, I refuted their claims. Unlike (apparently) either author, I actually looked at the royalty charges, and saw that they were $0.016 (less than 2 cents) per DVD and $2.00 per encoder/decoder. I concluded: 

In a time where the Wall Street bankers who tanked our economy with knowingly toxic assets still make eight figure salaries, where the budget deficit is $17 trillion, and where Justin Bieber makes $58 million, you would think Forbes and Williams could find a more suitable target for their financial-related outrage than $.016/disc. That’s my two cents, anyway.

Click here to read the opinion piece in Streaming Media Magazine. 

About Jan Ozer

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I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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