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From pvolcko@concentric.net Tue, 22 Jun 1999 13:11:16 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 13:11:16 -0400 (EDT)
From: Paul Volcko pvolcko@concentric.net
Subject: [LinuxDVD] more AC-3 stuff

Upon further reading it appears there is no royalties associated with
Dolby Digital trademark usage, although there is a registration process
and verification that need to be gone through if the trademarks are to be
used. Further, on "implementation" licenses there are no associated
royalties. Implementation licenses go to IC designers/manufacturers and
software module developers who create something that can do encoding or
decoding, but nothing else. There is also a "system" license that does
involve royalites. These go to those who make a product that uses an
Implementation that is "sold" to end users. This system license also has
an inital fee associated with it, in addition to the royalties. 

I put sold in quotes because it is not made clear if there is a
distinction between those developers who intend to make profit off the
product and those who give it freely (although the later category would
still need to go through trademark registration use of trademarks is
wished). 

So Dolby has it's ass covered no matter what. They get a $10K-$20K
initial one time fee for an implementation of a decoder/encoder. They get
another $10K-$20K for an end user product that actually uses an
implementation, as well as units per quarter based royalties. If someone
makes an implementation that they also use in a product that they will be
marketing to end users, Dolby gets $20K-$40K plus royalities from that one
development/designer entity. 

So, if someone here wants to make an AC-3 decoder in software, they pay
$10K. They can only sell that or possibly even give it, to people who
want to utilize that in a DVD or DTV player application or audio encoder
product or something like that. The person who uses that AC-3 decoder in
a software application that plays a DVD or DTV signal will need to shell
out $10K and royalities. 

So, we can only hope that they don't charge you unless you intend to pull
a profit. There's another possibility, however slim, that a AC-3 to
stereo PCM downmixer would not fall under the full implementation license.
These two things are all we can really hope for to save us from a rather
large investment for a softwrae only implementation.

In the case of a hardware decoder that does AC-3 decoding (Hollywood+ and
Dxr3 do not fall into this group, I don't think), the software application
that plays the DVD's (or potentially DTV signals/streams) would not need
to license to anyone but the hardware manufacturer/vendor (if they had
license agreements at all).

Paul Volcko
LSDVD Project

From pvolcko@concentric.net Tue, 22 Jun 1999 16:09:34 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 16:09:34 -0400 (EDT)
From: Paul Volcko pvolcko@concentric.net
Subject: [LinuxDVD] Dolby response

I got a response from Dolby. My reading of the materials was right.

ANy ICs or Software Modules that do AC-3 decoding of any kind (including
downmixing) are a one time $10K license. Any hardware or software product
that incorperates said module(s) is another $10K license with royalties
tacked on.

I have a response in to them on some other questions, the one that would
be of most use to this list:

Do they get involved if a hardware solution is utilized in a DVD
application software program or is all licensing through the vendor and
the DVD group at that point?

I'll let you all know when I get something back. I'll also be sent the
license application information and some other stuff. Once I've poured
through that I'll put up a summary as well.

Paul Volcko
LSDVD Project

From pvolcko@concentric.net Sun, 27 Jun 1999 18:06:42 -0400
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 18:06:42 -0400
From: Paul Volcko pvolcko@concentric.net
Subject: [LinuxDVD] dolby ac-3 licensing

For those that have been following on the issue of Dolby AC-3 
Licensing...

I have recieved the information from Dolby Labs on liscensing. In 
short: 

Creating an AC-3 Software decoding module (2 channel output) will 
be a $10K license, no royalties. Taking that module and using it in 
a product of any kind will be another $10K with varying royalty 
amounts depending on the number of copies of the software 
product that are distributed. This is for AC-3 only, if dolby pro logic 
decoding is also included that is another $10K tacked on to both 
the implementation license and the system license with additional 
royalties.

There was an idea to make ths decoder and distribute it in a 
software program, but just don't claim it does AC-3 decoding. This 
will not fly. If the program plays any sound off a DVD that uses AC-
3 encoding then it is considered to be doing the decoding (duh, hi 
george!) and subject to the licensing described above.

Put succinctly... We be screwed.

Only hope for a publicly available AC-3 decoder is for someone to 
make the software modules that does the decoding, put it into 
some kind of API that incorporates something besides the AC-3 
decoding, and then releases that for free (they will be footing the 
bill for each copy of the API distributed). This is not likely to 
happen. There will probably be some cost associated with the use 
of the API, but it canbe greatly reduced compared to the cost of 
licensing each of the technologies. We need to find a corporate 
entity that will fund the licensing, allow for a group of people to 
develop the modules and the API, and then handle distribution. 
The cost of the API to the consumer will be significantly less than 
the cost of the individual licenses, but how much lower will depend 
entirely on how marketable such an API would be. 

If anyone has any questions on this you can direct them to Dolby 
or myself. Keep in mind a lot of people are interested in this so 
post to the list is possible.

Paul Volcko
LSDVD Project

From raubitsj@writeme.com Sun, 27 Jun 1999 18:20:05 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 18:20:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jeff Raubitschek raubitsj@writeme.com
Subject: [LinuxDVD] AC3 decoding project

just found an interesting link to an AC3 decoding project, i havent had a
chance to give it a try yet, just wanted to pass the link along.

http://www.engr.uvic.ca/~aholtzma/ac3/

so what is the legality of this? the feedback from dolby that someone
posted on this list earlier makes it sound like this isnt quite legal.

-jeff

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jeff Raubitschek 
Computer Engineer
raubitsj@writeme.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From pvolcko@concentric.net Sun, 27 Jun 1999 20:35:43 -0400
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 20:35:43 -0400
From: Paul Volcko pvolcko@concentric.net
Subject: [LinuxDVD] AC3 decoding project

On 27 Jun 99, at 18:20, Jeff Raubitschek wrote:

> 
> just found an interesting link to an AC3 decoding project, i havent had a
> chance to give it a try yet, just wanted to pass the link along.
> 
> http://www.engr.uvic.ca/~aholtzma/ac3/
> 
> so what is the legality of this? the feedback from dolby that someone
> posted on this list earlier makes it sound like this isnt quite legal.
> 

Well, it's in Canada. I don't know what kind of issues come into 
this beacuse of that. There is also some interesting language at 
the header of each file in the source code. Something to the effect 
of this code is not gaurenteed to be mechantilable or otherwise fit 
for any particular purpose. This language came from the GNU 
public license and is part of the NO WARRANTIES section at the 
end. It has a nice feel good quality to it and at face value would 
seem to make it perfectly legal to do what he has done. I can't 
believe it though. Otherwise why would ANYONE seek licensing if 
they can simply make their own license which has some of the 
same WARRANTIES lanuage of the GNU but modified to their 
needs otherwise. Doesn't make a whole lotta sense.

I just got done reading some stuff in the A/52 standard of the 
ATSC. There is one footnote section that states (paraphrased) that 
the information in this standard may be included in a patent and 
that this standard makes no modification to that patent. As such 
the publisher of the standard and the information therein should be 
contacted for licensing information. So it would appear that Dolby 
holds the patent on the aC-3 method and therefor is the publisher 
of the information either directly or indirectly. Therefor the 
publication of this code under the GPL is not legal. 

Again... I am not a lawyer. I'm just calling them as I see them 
here. When I don't know things for sure I tend to take a 
concervative stance, so I may have made statements that are 
incorrect here, but they are probably on the "safer" side of wrong 
than the "sorry" side of wrong.

On a side note I have sent some email to the person who coded 
and posted this ac3 decoding stuff. I'll keep the list apprised of 
what he has to say in response. My questions centered around 
licensing and any cost reductions due to educational institution tie 
ins.

Paul Volcko
LSDVD Project

From pvolcko@concentric.net Sun, 27 Jun 1999 20:40:33 -0400
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 20:40:33 -0400
From: Paul Volcko pvolcko@concentric.net
Subject: [LinuxDVD] The GPLed AC-3 Decoder

I got a reply from the author of the code and he says that he did 
not license it. His reason for not thinking anything of it was 
because he wasn't calling it an official Dolby Digital decoder. Much 
the same line of thinking that has been suggested here previously. 

He also seems somewhat interested with getting a valid GPLed or 
at least public binary version of the AC-3 decoder into circulation. I 
gave him the URL to this lists home site, maybe we'll be hearing 
from him soon.

Paul Volcko
LSDVD Project

From andreas@andreas.org 28 Jun 1999 15:49:57 -0400
Date: 28 Jun 1999 15:49:57 -0400
From: Andreas Bogk andreas@andreas.org
Subject: [LinuxDVD] The GPLed AC-3 Decoder

"Paul Volcko" <pvolcko@concentric.net> writes:

> I got a reply from the author of the code and he says that he did 
> not license it. His reason for not thinking anything of it was 
> because he wasn't calling it an official Dolby Digital decoder. Much 
> the same line of thinking that has been suggested here previously. 

As far as I understand it, AC-3 is covered by a software patent
only. Software patents don't apply in Europe (although "they" are
trying to change that), and convergence, my company, has a very decent
lawyer. I'll research the situation, one solution could be to host
that development at our site (or somewhere in a data haven). No
commitment yet, just an idea.

Andreas

-- 
"We show that all proposed quantum bit commitment schemes are insecure because
the sender, Alice, can almost always cheat successfully by using an
Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen type of attack and delaying her measurement until she
opens her commitment." ( http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/quant-ph/9603004 )

From pvolcko@concentric.net Mon, 28 Jun 1999 15:22:20 -0400
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 15:22:20 -0400
From: Paul Volcko pvolcko@concentric.net
Subject: [LinuxDVD] The GPLed AC-3 Decoder

> As far as I understand it, AC-3 is covered by a software patent
> only. Software patents don't apply in Europe (although "they" are
> trying to change that), and convergence, my company, has a very decent
> lawyer. I'll research the situation, one solution could be to host
> that development at our site (or somewhere in a data haven). No
> commitment yet, just an idea.

Well, I just got off the phone with one of their technical licensing 
guys. It would seem that it is more than a software patent. They 
have strict technology patents. If anyone makes an ASIC, 
Software Module, DSP, or whatever else that implements AC-3 
decoding and distributes it in any fashion publicly then they are 
required to license the technology from Dolby Labs. For those 
using an already licensed chip or software modules, the same 
thing goes. If you make a decoder baord or dvd player component 
or software application or whatever, anything that utilizes a AC-3 
decoding implementation, you are required to license that product. 
If someone gets the bright idea of taking a computer, a high quality 
AC-3 decoder board, an MPEG decoder board and software that 
plays DVD's, and sells that as a unit, they don't have to license the 
technology or the system (since that has already been done by the 
individual components vendors). Also, trademark licensing does 
not have any fees associated with it, so you can use the DD logo 
(after having them say it's okay as you use it) wihtout any costs. 

So thats the dope. Only way anyone's going to see a free software 
based DVD player application is if someone decides to risk 
prosecution for patent and perhaps copyright infringement. Not to 
mention breaking contracts with other technology sources (such as 
the DVD Group, MPEG-2, and CSS). 

Paul

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