Ok, I know I said my next blog post would be on creating Windows Media Photo files.  I am working on that and will post it soon.  But I wanted to take a brief detour to let everyone know the licensing information for implementing Windows Media Photo on devices or other platforms is final and the details are now posted on the Windows Media website:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/wmphoto/default.aspx

Our stated goal has always been to provide licensing terms that encourage (or at a bare minimum, certainly don’t inhibit) broad cross-platform adoption of the file format.  The licensing terms are designed to strike a balance between protecting Microsoft’s intellectual property (which also helps us provide important insurances to our licensees) and eliminating barriers to adoption.

So, to begin with, Microsoft is providing the Windows Media codec in Windows Vista and in .NET Frameworks 3.0 (a.k.a. WinFX.)  Anytime you implement support for Windows Media Photo in your product using a codec shipped by Microsoft, no license is required.  In addition to Windows Vista and .NET Frameworks 3.0, we’re also planning to provide Windows Media Photo codecs for WinCE (and the various flavors of Windows Mobile), and a universal binary QuickTime compatible codec for Macintosh OS X.  Again, anytime you’re using the codec we provide, there’s no license required.

Anytime you choose to build your own codec implementation (such as implementing it on a device) you need a license to receive the Device Porting Kit (DPK.)  The DPK contains complete technical documentation, reference ANSI-C source code, sample applications, and additional documentation and software utilities.  The DPK supports both little-endian and big-endian processor architectures.

There are no source code (or any other) license fees to receive the DPK (it’s FREE!)  Royalties only apply in certain circumstance, and only if and when you actually ship products incorporating a Windows Media Photo codec.

If all you want to do is evaluate the codec technology or simply have the necessary technical information to support the use of the Windows Media Photo file format, then you can execute the agreement to receive the DPK for free, and never have to worry about royalties.

If you want to implement the codec on your own systems for your own use, including on your systems that provide services to customers, you’re never actually shipping a product, therefore you would never incur a royalty fee. 

Even when you do ship a product that incorporates the Windows Media Photo codec, in many circumstances it’s free:

Windows Media Photo is royalty-free

-          until 2010.

-          after Microsoft’s related patents expire.

-          for any software product that runs on a Microsoft operating system.

-          when implemented as a component of XML Paper Specification (XPS.)

-          for the first 50,000 units shipped each year.

 

For units in excess of 50,000 per year, for non-Microsoft OS or non-XPS implementations, after 12/31/2009 and before the Microsoft patents expire, the following royalties apply:

-          $0.05 per unit, -OR-

-          $50,000 per year for the entire company,  for all products.

 

As you can see, our licensing policy offers virtually no restrictions for anyone interested in evaluating, implementing or shipping support for Windows Media Photo in products.   For all the details, check out the Windows Media Photo licensing website:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/licensing/wmphoto.aspx

You can download a sample license agreement and there are links to request a license or ask additional questions about licensing Windows Media technologies.