AACS LA reduces copy protection charges for Blu-ray Discs
The Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administrator (AACS LA) has reduced the licence fees for its mandatory AACS copy protection for Blu-ray discs. The new scale of charges is primarily intended to benefit small studios and pressing companies that have yet to release any Blu-ray versions of their films due to the high cost.
Licensees no longer need to make a one-off payment of $3,000 for a Provider Agreement. Instead they pay $500 annually and can terminate their contract with the AACS LA at any time. The licence fee for a glass master used for producing a film disc has also been reduced from $1,300 to $500.
The cost of the licence fee per disc, on the other hand, remains unchanged, so manufacturers still have to pay the AACS LA four cents for every Blu-ray disc that they produce. A new entrant into the Blu-ray business now has to pay AACS LA $1,080 for their first production run (of 2,000 discs, for example) instead of the previous $4,380.
The fee adjustment, however, is only a partial concession by the AACS LA to small disc makers and independent film studios. They had also asked to be excused of the mandatory AACS encryption on Blu-ray discs, among other things, on the grounds that they have had industry clients who would love to produce small runs of interactive advertising films for their cars or industrial plant, pepped up with Java menus, but couldn't care less about copy protection, so they weren't prepared to pay unnecessary fees.
Blu-ray players, however, only play home-made Blu-ray discs in the BDMV or BDAV format without AACS copy protection. A prerecorded BD-ROM won't even replay if it isn't AACS encrypted. The additional BD+ copy protection, on the other hand, is optional.