Re: [Videolib] Digital Video Licensing

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Thu, 08 Mar 2007 12:17:29 -0800

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I'm not even vaguely talking about feature films, Jessica...but if I were,=
=20
my arguments still stand.

Gary

At 10:47 AM 3/8/2007, you wrote:
>Gary
>This is hard for me to sort through. Bottom line do you really see this as=
=20
>viable for most feature films ?
>Studio=92s seem pretty paranoid. I think they might eventually do something=
=20
>like they do now with licensing being year to year.
>Speaking for those of us dealing with foreign and independent films it=20
>might theoretically be impossible. Our contracts are generally limited
>To 7-10 years so even if we had the technology or whatever we can only=20
>allow use for set periods of time
>
>As usual this is all Greek to me
>
>
>On 3/8/07 1:08 PM, "Gary Handman" <ghandman@library.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>
>Some Thoughts on Digital Licensing for Video
>
>Because Berkeley is on the cusp of trying out on-demand delivery of=20
>portions of its video collection, I=92ve been doing a lot of talking and=20
>thinking about the issue of digital licensing of video content. It is=20
>apparent that the non-theatrical VOD marketplace is, at very best,=20
>immature and confused (and confusing) regarding economic models for VOD=20
>delivery. A number of models seem to be shaking out:
>
>A. Content maintained on vendor=92s remote server and licensed annually or=
=20
>semi-annually based on number of titles selected, institutional=20
>head-count, or number of synchronous users. I=92m not aware of any vendors=
=20
>offering flat annual licenses for unlimited institutional access to=20
>vendor-maintained VOD servers.
>
>B. Content encoded by vendor in one or more of several formats (Windows=20
>Media, QuickTime, mpeg4, etc.), and licensed for in-perpetuity use for a=20
>flat fee (e.g. Films Media Group). Variable licensing fees based on=20
>whether or not the institution has bought the licensed title in previous=20
>formats (tape or DVD). In some instances, fees may be based on number of=
=20
>titles licensed. In this model, client is responsible for uploading and=20
>maintaining these files on local server. (Client may also be required to=
=20
>transcode files=ADe.g. from mpeg4 to a streamable format).
>
>C. Above model but with term licensing: licensing for a set period of=20
>time, usually one to five years. At the end of the term, licenses must be=
=20
>renegotiated.
>
>D. Distributor offers digital licensing rights alone=ADi.e. without=20
>supplying the source files. Institution is responsible for encoding off=20
>of DVD or tape and uploading to local server. Either in-perpetuity or=20
>term licensing.
>
>E. Jon Miller of First Run/Icarus has suggested a model in which an=20
>entire catalog of a distributor (including new additions) is licensed=20
>annually for a flat fee. Not aware that one is actually putting this=20
>model into play
>
>F. Content encoded and delivered to client by an outside vendor which=20
>does not have control or rights over the content. Annual or per-title=20
>service costs. Examples of this type of service is CDigix (=20
><http://www.cdigix.com/).>http://www.cdigix.com/).=20
><http://www.cdigix.com/).%A0> These types of firms seem to be geared=20
>largely toward the delivery of content (including feature films) for=20
>higher ed teaching and learning (course reserve viewing, learning=20
>management systems, etc.). Many of these firms claim such use constitutes=
=20
>fair use or throw the issue of rights clearance on the shoulders of the=
client.
>
>Since I think that, at least in the short run, the models C or D above are=
=20
>likely to be the most common, I=92d like to offer a few opinions about=20
>it. In my book, the requirement for periodic licensing of video content=20
>(as opposed to in-perpetuity licensing) is both impractical and=20
>unwarranted in terms of fair market practices. I=92ve occasionally heard=
=20
>vendors compare term licensing of VOD content to licensing of journal=20
>databases and other online text resources. There really is no direct=20
>comparison. Journal databases, which offer indexing and full-text=20
>journals, are maintained remotely by a vendor and offer a content base=20
>which is continually growing. In some instances, online access to=20
>specific ejournals or aggregates of ejournals is provided at no cost if an=
=20
>institution subscribes to the print version of the publication(s). The=20
>licensing model for ejournals varies widely, from being on institutional=20
>head-count to flat fee annual licensing.
>
>VOD licensing is a considerably different matter. Once purchased by an=20
>institution, a physical tape or DVD, may be circulated or shown ad=20
>infinitum (or until the physical piece disintegrates) to individual=20
>viewers and classroom groups. If I need to show this to groups outside of=
=20
>the classroom, I can purchase PPR=ADa one shot cost. In most cases, once=
a=20
>distributor sells a title (or a few copies of it) to an institution,=20
>that=92s pretty much the end of that sale (except for replacements, and=20
>these are usually discounted). It is, consequently, unclear to me why I=
=20
>would be expected to =93re-buy=94 the same title every year or two or three=
in=20
>digital form, particularly if I already own a tape or DVD of the titles in=
=20
>question. It=92s not as if digital distribution is cutting into potential=
=20
>future sales of that title to my institution. There is no continuing=20
>maintenance or labor cost to the distributor for titles licensed for=20
>VOD. (There ARE, however, substantial costs to the client in model D=20
>above: the institution must invest in technology and staff to=20
>locally-encode and serve the material). In fact, the cost to distributors=
=20
>of tracking and administering term licenses would seem to be substantially=
=20
>higher than the one-time gambit of in-perpetuity licensing.
>
>Unlike ejournal databases, the only added value to the digital product=20
>from year to year is the convenience of 24/7 access. (I could go into a=20
>long and tedious screed here about the current inferiority of=20
>digitally-delivered images compared to DVD or even tape, but I=92ll=20
>refrain). I have a feeling that in many cases the model of term VOD=20
>licensing has been put into play simply because digital sounds new and=20
>sexy and that period licenses sound economically safer than licensing the=
=20
>files =93forever=94. I also think that there is yawning gap between the=
needs=20
>and outlook of video librarians vested with selecting, maintaining, and=20
>delivering standing collections and the needs of instructional tech=20
>players on campuses vested with =93point-of-need=94 delivery of classroom=
=20
>content. (The latter probably wouldn=92t blink at the concept of term=20
>licensing).
>
>In any case, your thoughts and comments would be interesting and=
appreciated!
>
>Gary Handman
>
>
>
>Gary Handman
>Director
>Media Resources Center
>Moffitt Library
>UC Berkeley
>ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
><http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC>http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC
>
> <http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC> "In societies where modern conditions=
=20
> of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense=20
> accumulation of spectacles."
>
>--Guy Debord
>
>
>
>
>
>Proud Resident of a BLUE STATE
>
>Jessica Rosner
>Kino International
>333 W 39th St. 503
>NY NY 10018
>jrosner@kino.com
>212-629-6880

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

"In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life=20
presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles."

--Guy Debord

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Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

I'm not even vaguely talking about feature films, Jessica...but if I were, my arguments still stand.

Gary

At 10:47 AM 3/8/2007, you wrote:

Gary This is hard for me to sort through. Bottom line do you really see this as viable for most feature films ?
Studio=92s seem pretty paranoid. I think they might eventually do something like they do now with licensing being year to year.
Speaking for those of us dealing with foreign and independent films it might theoretically be impossible. Our contracts are generally limited
To 7-10 years so even if we had the technology or whatever we can only allow use for set periods of time

As usual this is all Greek to  me


On 3/8/07 1:08 PM, "Gary Handman" <ghandman@library.berkeley.edu> wrote:

Some Thoughts on Digital Licensing for Video
 
Because Berkeley is on the cusp of trying out on-demand delivery of portions of its video collection, I=92ve been doing a lot of talking and thinking about the issue of digital licensing of video content.  It is apparent that the non-theatrical VOD marketplace is, at very best, immature and confused (and confusing) regarding economic models for VOD delivery.  A number of models seem to be shaking out:
 
A.  Content maintained on vendor=92s remote server and licensed annually or semi-annually based on number of titles selected, institutional head-count, or number of synchronous users.  I=92m not aware of any vendors offering flat annual licenses for unlimited institutional access to vendor-maintained VOD servers.
 
B.  Content encoded by vendor in one or more of several formats (Windows Media, QuickTime, mpeg4, etc.), and licensed for in-perpetuity use for a flat fee (e.g. Films Media Group).  Variable licensing fees based on whether or not the institution has bought the licensed title in previous formats (tape or DVD).  In some instances, fees may be based on number of titles licensed.  In this model, client is responsible for uploading and maintaining these files on local server.  (Client may also be required to transcode files=ADe.g. from mpeg4 to a streamable format). 
 
C.  Above model but with term licensing: licensing for a set period of time, usually one to five years.  At the end of the term, licenses must be renegotiated.
 
D.  Distributor offers digital licensing rights alone=ADi.e. without supplying the source files.  Institution is responsible for encoding off of DVD or tape and uploading to local server.  Either in-perpetuity or term licensing.
 
E.  Jon Miller of First Run/Icarus has suggested a model in which an entire catalog of a distributor (including new additions) is licensed annually for a flat fee.  Not aware that one is actually putting this model into play
 
F.  Content encoded and delivered to client by an outside vendor which does not have control or rights over the content.  Annual or per-title service costs. Examples of this type of service is CDigix ( http://www.cdigix.com/).  < http://www.cdigix.com/).%A0 >  These types of firms seem to be geared largely toward the delivery of content (including feature films) for higher ed teaching and learning (course reserve viewing, learning management systems, etc.).  Many of these firms claim such use constitutes fair use or throw the issue of rights clearance on the shoulders of the client.
 
Since I think that, at least in the short run, the models C or D above are likely to be the most common, I=92d like to offer a few opinions about it.  In my book, the requirement for periodic licensing of video content (as opposed to in-perpetuity licensing) is both impractical and unwarranted in terms of fair market practices.  I=92ve occasionally heard vendors compare term licensing of VOD content to licensing of journal databases and other online text resources.  There really is no direct comparison.  Journal databases, which offer indexing and full-text journals, are maintained remotely by a vendor and offer a content base which is continually growing.  In some instances, online access to specific ejournals or aggregates of ejournals is provided at no cost if an institution subscribes to the print version of the publication(s).   The licensing model for ejournals varies widely, from being on institutional head-count to flat fee annual licensing.
 
VOD licensing is a considerably different matter.  Once purchased by an institution, a physical tape or DVD, may be circulated or shown ad infinitum (or until the physical piece disintegrates) to individual viewers and classroom groups. If I need to show this to groups outside of the classroom, I can purchase PPR=ADa one shot cost.   In most cases, once a distributor sells a title (or a few copies of it) to an institution, that=92s pretty much the end of that sale (except for replacements, and these are usually discounted).   It is, consequently, unclear to me why I would be expected to =93re-buy=94 the same title every year or two or three in digital form, particularly if I already own a tape or DVD of the titles in question.   It=92s not as if digital distribution is cutting into potential future sales of that title to my institution.  There is no continuing maintenance or labor cost to the distributor for titles licensed for VOD.  (There ARE, however, substantial costs to the client in model D above:  the institution must invest in technology and staff to locally-encode and serve the material).  In fact, the cost to distributors of tracking and administering term licenses would seem to be substantially higher than the one-time gambit of in-perpetuity licensing.
 
Unlike ejournal databases, the only added value to the digital product from year to year is the convenience of 24/7 access.  (I could go into a long and tedious screed here about the current inferiority of digitally-delivered images compared to DVD or even tape, but I=92ll refrain).   I have a feeling that in many cases the model of term VOD licensing has been put into play simply because digital sounds new and sexy and that period licenses sound economically safer than licensing the files =93forever=94.  I also think that there is yawning gap between the needs and outlook of video librarians vested with selecting, maintaining, and delivering standing collections and the needs of instructional tech players on campuses vested with =93point-of-need=94 delivery of classroom content.  (The latter probably wouldn=92t blink at the concept of term licensing).
 
In any case, your thoughts and comments would be interesting and appreciated!
 
Gary Handman
 


Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

  < http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC > "In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles."

--Guy Debord





Proud Resident of a BLUE STATE
 
Jessica Rosner
Kino International
333 W 39th St. 503
NY NY 10018
jrosner@kino.com
212-629-6880

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

"In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles."

--Guy Debord

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VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video producers and distributors.