An industry body representing seven developers of DVD technology and formats said Tuesday it will start global licensing of patents for DVD-audio and recordable DVD products in early January.

The DVD6C Licensing Agency represents Hitachi Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Toshiba Corp. and Victor Co. of Japan Ltd., as well as U.S. firms AOL Time Warner Inc. and IBM Corp.

The agency’s license portfolio for recordable DVDs has gathered together essential patents owned by the seven member firms, it said, adding the licenses will cover both drives and media.

The joint licensing program was launched in June 1999 to provide one-stop shopping for DVD-related patents owned by its member firms, the agency said.

The DVD is a high-density compact disc for storing large amounts of data, including high-resolution audiovisual material.

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