Just a brief note to let you know that I’ve signed on as a consultant for Sisvel regarding their launch of the AV1 and VP9 patent pools.
Sisvel just announced patent pools on VP9 and AV1 and was aware that HEVC-related pools were controversial and were concerned about properly communicating its vision and goals. I’ll help them work with journalists and other influencers to communicate how and why the pool was formed. This work is on a part-time basis and I expect it to last no more than several months.
A number of reasons. Note that as a freelancer, I’ve helped many companies in our industry with their marketing strategies via consulting or writing, always disclosing these relationships when they might appear to present a conflict of interest. So, this consulting project isn’t as much of a diversion as you might think. However, I’m so involved with this licensing issue that I wanted to publicly announce this relationship, which was formed after the articles I wrote for Streaming Media and the Streaming Learning Center.
Second, marketing is something of a first love for me. I started in the compression business as VP of Marketing for a company called Iterated Systems, which sold the fractal image compression was used in Microsoft Encarta, which was a big deal last century. Before then, I had high-level marketing roles in several technology companies. Sisvel’s pools present an interesting marketing challenge that I wanted to take on.
Third, I believe in what Sisvel is doing. I’ve been a consistent supporter of companies enforcing their IP rights via patent pools, most noticeably relating to MPEG LA’s H.264 pool, which succeeded for all licensees and licensors in a big way. I’ve supported MPEG LA’s HEVC pool as reasonably priced and transparent. Though I initially criticized HEVC Advance for outrageous pricing and overreaching, I complimented their efforts to make the license more reasonable. I’ve consistently criticized Velos for their lack of transparency and indecisiveness relating to content royalties, not to mention the world’s most irritating website.
Before taking on this role, I spoke with Sisvel and their attorneys about the validity of the IP in their pools. I’m not a patent attorney, but it appears that their IP is valid and covers encoding and decoding with VP9 and AV1. I believe in the due diligence that the company did before launching the pool, their desire to be transparent and fair, and the integrity of their technical staff and CEO. Courts may decide otherwise, but unless and until they do, I believe that the companies in Sisvel’s pools have the right if not the obligation to monetize their IP.
What it Means
I’ve informed my editors at Streaming Media and I won’t be writing on the Sisvel pools or any related stories until this relationship ends and probably for some period after that.
If I write about this topic on Streaming Learning Center or elsewhere, I’ll include a mention of this relationship.
I won’t engage with AOM members on this topic as a journalist but may as a consultant.
This is a part-time gig. The main focus of the Streaming Learning Center will be course creation and moderation. I will attend and speak at NAB and Streaming Media Conferences. I will continue writing on other topics for Streaming Media and other outlets.