With the European Union strengthening rules for big tech companies in the block starting in 2023, a new report shows that its antitrust regulators want to probe Apple, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and others due to the video licensing policy of the Alliance for Open Media (AOM).
AOM was founded a few years ago with the initial project pursuing “a new, royalty-free video codec specification and open-source implementation based on the contributions of Alliance members and the broader developer community, along with binding specifications for media format, content encryption, and adaptive streaming.”
But according to Reuters, the EU watchdog is not happy with that, as it wants to understand whether there is an infringement with the video licensing policy and how it will impact companies that are not part of this alliance.
The publication saw a questionnaire sent to some companies earlier this year that the EU antitrust regulators said they were investigating “alleged anti-competitive behavior related to the license terms of AV1 by AOM and its members in Europe.”
“The Commission has information that AOM and its members may be imposing licensing terms [mandatory royalty-free cross licensing] on innovators that were not a part of AOM at the time of the creation of the AV1 technical, but whose patents are deemed essential to [its] technical specifications,” the paper said.
AV1 aims to be a new industry standard, high-efficiency video codec, although it’s not been broadly adopted.
“The Commission confirms that it has a preliminary investigation ongoing into AOM’s licensing policy,” a spokesperson for the EU executive told Reuters. “The fact that the Commission has a preliminary investigation does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation on the existence of an infringement,” the spokesperson said, without providing further details.