Tickling The Dragon’s Tail

In the early days of nuclear fission research, there used to be a game called “tickling the dragon’s tail,” (a test rig photo) which basically was experimenting with assembling a critical mass by moving fissile materials closer to one another and observing the result. It looks like the DVD patent holders and, more importantly, the copyright industries, are playing their own dangerous game with a no-longer-sleeping dragon: China sends DVD royalties South

In an attempt to woo China back into the fold, the group of manufacturers responsible for setting royalties on DVD discs and equipment has slashed the rates that licensees must pay.

DVD6C, which represents five Japanese manufacturers plus Warner Home Video and IBM, has cut the royalty rate for DVD players and drives by 25 per cent – from $4 to $3 – and the per disc rate by 10 per cent, from 5 cents to 4.5 cents. The rate payable on DVD recordable discs, DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM, has also been cut, from 7.5 cents to 6.5 cents. The new rates will apply retroactively from January 1.

Last week China formally adopted its home-grown EVD video disc format as the national standard. EVD means no royalties need be paid to the DVD licensing bodies, and it has the added bonus of playing HD-TV images too. Chinese manufacturer Wuxi is suing the 3C and 6C licensing groups claiming that they’re discriminating against Chinese manufacturers, and the suit seeks to rule the DVD patent pool invalid.