At the same time as Apple's release of QuickTime 6, MPEG-LA has clarified the final licensing terms for MPEG-4, the next-generation video standard.

The biggest change is the group's acceptance that there's a difference between cable TV-type companies using the standard, and Internet-based businesses.

The original licensing agreement didn't acknowledge the differences between such businesses, and this was a bone of contention between Apple, MPEG-LA and others.

Web wise In February, Frank Casanova, Apple's director of QuickTime product marketing, told Macworld UK: "MPEG-LA hasn't recognized the difference between cable systems and the Internet. The licensing model they propose doesn't work for the Web."

In response, the licensing body has introduced: annual limitations on certain royalties “in order to introduce more cost predictability”; options that don't require royalty reports; threshold levels (50,000 or less subscribers) below which some royalties won't be charged; and alternative royalty models for certain businesses.

MPEG-LA has also introduced a six-month license “amnesty”. Parties who sign the license agreement during the first six months after the agreement is offered will not be required to pay royalties on licensed products sold during a certain period.

MPEG-LA CEO Baryn Futa said: “MPEG-LA is pleased to be able to offer innovative one-stop licenses that encourage wide use of these important new technologies by making them accessible across all business models and to all users, large and small.

“The license provides convenience to the marketplace and adapts seamlessly to marketplace change,” he explained.

Full details are available from MPEG-LA's Web site.