1996 LA Times Comments

Comments on a 1996 LA Times DVD Story

by Dana Parker

 

The L.A Times story was THE single most inaccurate and misleading story (of many) to be published about the Philips/Sony announcement.

If you need a representative story about this that has the facts, use the Reuter's story or the one in Television Digest.

The idea that Philips and Sony could bring a DVD player to market using only their own patents, in order to revive the format war, is absurd. DVD requires a combination of patented technologies owned by many companies.

Nor is the offering of licenses from several separate companies a new idea. This is what happens with CD now - Philips and Sony do not own all of the patents, and each manufacturer of CDs and players must license the technologies from their respective owners. Even with DVD, if there were to be a "one-stop-shop" for licensing of DVD-related patents offered by the Consortium companies, this is would not prevent companies in or out of the Consortium with DVD-related patents from licensing theirs independently of the Consortium.

It was stressed in the Philips/Sony announcement that the offering of patents independently is in no way intended to be a threat to the Consortium, to the format, or to the launch. The reaction of other Consortium members was mostly favorable - they see this as a way to speed things up, although it will be somewhat more inconvenient to go to several sources for licensing. My own understanding is that where previously NO patents were licensable, now at least some of them are - how could that possibly result in a further delay? The issue of licensing patents and the issue of creating a specification are entirely separate. Stories like this one only perpetuate the confusion.

Regards,

Dana J. Parker
Contributing Editor, DVD Report


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