• Case Opinions – Music Choice v. Stingray Digital

    Introduction

    I will start quoting, MultiChannel article that describes the genesis of this dispute..

    Stingray and Music Choice have a long history. In 2015, Music Choice sued Stingray for patent infringement after AT&T U-verse dropped Music Choice in favor of the Canadian company. Music Choice had claimed that Stingray’s service included digital audio music and video-on-demand features that infringed on its patents, features that Stingray enhanced after getting access to confidential information during talks about possibly buying Music Choice in 2015. Stingray counter-sued, asserting “claims of unfair competition, defamation, trade libel, tortious interference with existing and prospective contractual relationships, and unfair competition.” (Source: Multichannel)

    It was very interesting that in 2017, Stingray made a $120M offer to Music Choice, that was, rejected, not publicly, simply ignored. The offer was sweet basically no strings attached, and likely this case in dispute completely dismissed.

    “Canadian digital and music video company Stingray Digital Group said it has made an unsolicited offer to purchase pay TV stalwart Music Choice for $120 million. (Id) “

    As  consequence of this lawsuit, multiple other litigation steps have followed this case: IPR,  Counter Claims, Daubert challenges, and much more. I have been tracking this case I have a portfolio in the same are as “Music Choice” & “Stingray Digital”

    Now all my observations have become a reality and in a way, my analysis of this cases even in 2017 is now a reality. In summary, I concluded that:

    • Stingray IPRs was not going to be super successful, as the PTAB judges were not fully convinced with the arguments.
    • I still believe that Music Choice’s slashed patents by PTAB might have some light in appeal.
    • Damages Report, challenged by Stingray, with a multi-million dollar award was going to be accepted by the court
    • Alice defenses were futile by Stingray
    • Trial was going to be conducted and all other defenses denied

    Now this case is scheduled for trial Dec 9th, 2019 in Marshall, TX.

    Opinions

    Several rulings have gone unfavorable to Stingray Digital which includes adoption of Magistrate judge opinions and ordering denying the Daubert challenge made to Dr. Keith Ugone, the damages expert in the case representing Music Choice, Inc.  Clearly, a big reverse to Stingray specially when Dr. Ugone has testified that a “non-infringing alternative” presented by Stingray was not suitable and hence, the damages model was at least $23M from the numbers released in a court ruling.

     For that reason and the other reasons stated within the Order, the Court agrees with the conclusion reached within the Order. The Magistrate Judge’s Recommendation is therefore ADOPTED. 

    Music_Choice_v_Stingray_Digital_Group_Inc__txedce-16-00586__0324.0

    On second adverse ruling, Judge Payne has provided to Judge Gilstrap its report and recommendations regarding the Alice challenge that Stingray has made against Music Choice, Inc patents. The adverse ruling indicates that as a matter of law, Alice Step One, fails and there is no need to conduct any further steps,

    The Court concludes that each of the remaining asserted claims are not directed to an abstract idea at Alice Step One. Because the Court resolves the Alice inquiry at Step One, the Court need not proceed to Alice Step Two. Thus, the Court recommends that Music Choice’s cross-motion be GRANTED and that Stingray’s motion for judgment on the pleadings be DENIED. 

    Music_Choice_v_Stingray_Digital_Group_Inc__txedce-16-00586__0325.0

    As jury selection is due December 9th, 2019, clearly Stingray has a low change of surviving and in my opinion, Stingray has increase its chances to be found guilty of infringement and pay a hefty amount, likely a multi-million dollar judgment and a potential injunction relief favorable to stingray.

    What will happen?

    Stingray digital has to find a way to now settle this case or, discuss a way to present my patents as a non-infringing alternative to Music Choice, either way, its is not good to be in this position.

    Stingray made an offer for $120M to purchase Music Choice, and Music Choice rejected the offer, risked a trial and now their position has been getting more solid day after day.  I would assume that it will have to make an offer around that to settle? That means that Stingray’s revenues in the US, which totals $9M per Quarter or $36M/year are now at risk.

    The current damages report shows a $23M loss profits made by Music Choice as of this date, however a full report is only REDACTED and unavailable to the public.

    “Revenues in the United States increased 12.2% to $9.4 million (12.9% of total revenues) and in Other Countries, revenues increased by 31.3% to $16.1 million (22.1% of total revenues)” (Source: Globenewswire).

    Greenberg and Trauig is defending Stingray and Dechert Law, LLP is Music Choice’s plaintiff. I will keep track on more updates to follow.

     


     

  • Why Cloud to Cable : MVPD Licensing Portfolio and Technology.

    Why Cloud to Cable?

    Cloud to Cable is a patented solution for music streaming providers to distribute content to MVPDs. Amplify your offering from online streaming to Cable TV & IPTV systems with linear channels and SVOD subscritions. Create visually appealing streams with great sound, bundled with a mobile experience through the MEVIA app.

    Music and Video are ready in all broadcasting platforms for easy monetization from your affiliates in MVPD, IPTV, Smart TVs & Mobile systems.Cloud to Cable are high-performance servers ready for your customer’s CABSAT headend, with a fault-tolerance design forquick integration. The content is available in mobile applications and Cable TV Broadcasts as SVOD or linear channels, all at once.

    For more details:

    Technology Licensing

    Some existing patents, now expiring, cover VOD linking and Visual Complement to generate music streams for MVPD (Multi-video Programming Distribution) providers.

    Our innovative technologies achieve better results and more benefits under patents US Pat. 10,123,074 , US20190037271, PCT 16/152,606 and EP3238457 (under prosecution) with 39 approved claims.

    The MEVIA App is in charge of interfacing with the end-user via mobile phone or smart TV.

    These patents are implemented in software and hardware for music broadcasting as a “Music for Cable TV” service for operators.

    The software includes modules in Python, C/C++, and PHP, Linux OS-baseline only. Servers are configured for high-reliability and fault-tolerance designed for MVPD systems.

    The system creates visual components and mixes high-end audio with the HTML-based interfaces that are then broadcasted into the CABLE TV System, IPTV Network, or to the mobile devices.

    The technology and patents are available for licensing or acquisition.

  • What is Cloud to Cable TV?

    What is Cloud to Cable TV?

    Use Case : Music for Cable | Amplify your Reach®

    First Patent is Allowed and will be granted

    The patent filed for an important component of the “CloudtoCableTV” architecture has received a “Notice of Allowance” meaning that a patent will be granted as soon as fees are paid by me.  I will also file for continuations and other divisional, including the European Patent Office action that is also pending as part of a PCT Filing.   This is the first patent created and issued at the “EGLAVATOR

     

    The Problem

    Creating any “TV/Cable Network” is difficult.  The complexity of content distribution to cable/mobile operators (“affiliates”) is enormous and requires time, effort, lots of capital, and the use of multiple complex technologies.  As one example, satellite time required to distribute TV/music content cost thousands if not millions of dollars per year. In the case of music distribution, this is more complex, as revenues may need to be split among multiple brokers and intermediate agents.

    Additionally, current cable TV subscribers want to consume their TV and music content ontheir mobile devices and tablets. Users want to enjoy their cable TV subscriptions at home, school and office,  — any time, any where.

    Over-the-Top Platforms (OTT) are widely used today to sell individual subscriptions but not that many systems can reach out to millions of viewers without Cable TV’s help. Hence, Cable TV distribution provides a volume monetization outlet by tapping into millions of subscribers worldwide. Cable TV is the best monetization outlet for new networks including music channels, TV, and video Video on Demand (VOD) content.

    In this white paper, we introduce MEVIA as a novel platform solution for content distribution to mobile, web, and Cable/Satellite TV systems. MEVIA effectively reduces cost and maximizes returns.

     

    The Solution

    MEVIA is a unifiedmultimedia platform that enables quick and easy distribution of TV, video, and music package content to cable and mobile operators.  MEVIA connects the worlds of web/mobile with Communications Service Provider (CSP) or Multi-System Operator (MSO) content distribution headends.

    Our “Cloud to Cable” technology is a patented system that distributes and delivers TV, music, and video channels to satellite and cable TV operators as well as to mobile/web, providing a unified user experience. MEVIA is true to our “Amplify your reach®”slogan.

    MEVIA also includes customizable mobile applications and specialized equipment for Satellite and Cable TV broadcasting.

    When a content owner decides to distribute their content with MEVIA, the first step is to load TV feeds, music assets, and/or video content into MEVIA storage or ingest servers. The content is then made available securely in all the affiliate systems on Cable TV and mobile/web distribution via our mobile application. Finally, a content ownermay define special playlists and grid programming.Different pricing structures can be enables such as on aper subscriber-basis,per download, or a flat rate.

    What Type of TV, Music, and Video Offers are Available?

     

    The range of multimedia services that can be offered are:

    • VOD or Video On Demand
    • Linear Television Networks

     

    A media owner could offer, for example, a Cable TV and Mobile package that includes:

    • Thousands of VOD files
    • 50+ Music channels with customizable screens
    • 5+ Linear concert channels

    What Type of Formats?

    MEVIA uses all commonly available encoders and transcoders for audio and video, hence any file from any format can be ingested, processed and broadcasted. The most popular formats are MPEG, MP4, with encoding in H.264,. H.265, AAC, AC-3, and MP3.

    How does MEVIA Work?

    In essence, MEVIA connects to any web-based platform, rendering its contents and preparing multiple broadcast-ready streams for operators, mobile, and web.

    These streams can deliver:

    • Music with enhanced metadata
    • TV/Video with real-time enriched web-based information, such as twitter feeds
    • Music-only content

     

    In summary, Cloud to Cable and MEVIA provides three main delivery mechanisms:

    • Applications – Mobile and Web
    • Linear streams – Cable Systems and Satellite Operators
    • Over-the-Top Applications for Apple TV, Chromecast, Smart TVs,and private systems

     

     

    We will present howthe business model works, some case studies. and our mobile application.

    Business Model

    The business model used by MEVIA issubscriber-based and perfectly aligns with the proven “Multichannel Video Provider Distributor” (MVPD)business model.  In this model, operators purchase packages from companies such as Time Warner, SONY, ESPN, Disney, CNN, and many others at prices that range from cents to several dollars paid per subscriber.  The MVPD generates revenue through adding targeted distribution capability.  In this case, an MVPD will use MEVIA to purchase TV, Music, and Video content, pay the content owner and resell that content rights to all their subscribers as part a “Digital” or “Premium” package, or as any format that the operator chooses to use. For Example a Cable TV Operator may purchase ESPN package for $3.95/subscriber and sell a premium package with ESPN For $29.99/subscriber, it is likely that other similar network would cost the operator between cents per subscriber to a few dollars.  Package pricing depends on volume and in some cases, years of negotiations and agreements.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    MEVIA will provide as many channels as are included in an agreement with a specific provider,and will deliverthat contentto the operator in the format that their system supports– Linear TV, VOD, or Interactive.

     

    Case Study: CABLEVISION MEXICO

    As an example, CABLEVISION MEXICO needed 50+ music channels branded under their name “CABLEVISION”in market.  They provided a set of backgrounds that were used for customizable screensbroadcasted to their users on channels 800-850. The broadcast should include their logo and artist/song metadata, as shown here:

     

    MEVIA created all the music channels simultaneously and broadcasted a lineup ready for more than 1 Million subscribers in Mexico City. Similar screens were made for AXTEL TV, a smaller operator in Mexico City.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Sample Set Top Boxes for DMX and CABLEVISION Music


    Case Study: MOOD MEDIA

    MOOD MEDIA ingested thousands of song files into MEVIA’s storage platform via secured FTP (SFTP). The files were stored in 256Kbps format in some cases where stored in MP3 in others AC-3.\

    The multimedia content might be hosted within MEVIA’s storage platform and content management. In this case study, a product was created for DMX Music/MOOD Media in 2013-2015 timeframe where all the assets were hosted by MEVIA. MEVIA applications and platform was used to synchronize up to 10+ Cable Operators broadcasting multiple packages with 50+ music channels,some with audio-only some others with video and metadata.   MOOD MEDIA had over 20M subscribers in operators that included TIGO, CLARO, and many others.

    In this case, a customized HTML web application and native applications were used together for mobile/web and OTT that complemented the Cable Operator offering.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Demonstration: Case Study Using Spotify (Internal Test)

    Assume a CSPhas decided to make a deal with “Spotify” and would like to broadcast music to  2M subscribers with a package composed of 50 music channels from Spotify and a few music video channels from a different provider,VEVO.

     

    Without our Cloud to Cable technology, this would be a daunting task, besides the associated cost for satellite fees, and additional complications.  In this figure, MEVIA facilitates distribution of a web application to be part of the Cable TV channel line-up.

     

    MEVIA Cloud will connect to the web-provider and retrieve all required webassets that are currently in use by Spotify. The authentication and authorization can also be linked in connection with the Cable Operator and MEVIA provides a method for single sign-on.

     

    MEVIA can accommodate 50-100 music channels broadcasting in SD, HD, or even 4K depending on the bandwidth that the operator may have available for this service.

     

    Now, an Operator will be able to offer a particular set of Spotify playlists to its subscribers and increase Spotify® music viewership by 2M subscribers.

     

    Similarly, VEVO has no cable TV product offering, MEVIA can enable both VOD and Linear Programming streaming from the same appliance using our caching and distribution network that has been put in place for Spotify®

    [spiderpowa-pdf src=”http://edwinhernandez.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/MEVIA-box-appliance.pdf”]MEVIA-box-appliance

    Case Study: SKY Brasil and SKY TUNES Application

     

    SKY BRASIL® created SKY TUNES,a product that was powered by MEVIA from 2013-2015.  MEVIA provided all OTT streams for thousands of customers in that part of the world. SKY TUNES mobile applications were downloaded by millions of subscribers in IOS and Android.   MEVIA provided to SKYTUNES APIs, streams, and playlists for the application, as well as analytics.

     

     

     


     

    Multimedia Ingest

    Ingest of media can be done to our cloud storage in our platform, by simply adding and dropping all the required music files in MP3, AAC, or AC-3 Formats.

    Movies can also be uploaded and ingested by accessing the storage and uploading all the required MP4, MPEG-2, or any other format encoded in any known video encoder, suchas H.264, H.265, MPEG2 Video, and many others.

     

     

    Mobile Apps for MEVIA

    MEVIA provides two middleware components, one for music content that was branded initially as “Mediamplify Music” and MEVIA Apps. The fist app is music-centric only, and is capable of handling thousands of music channels in linear format, including“keyword” seed stationscapability.  MEVIA is more video and music centric, in other words playback of video and music for IOS and Android. The sample implementations and can be customizedwith any additional branding or screens as the operator requires.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Patents and Trademarks

     

    Amplify your Reach ® is a registered trademark of EGLA COMMUNICATIONS

    US15/538,911 and PCT/US2015/067464 METHOD, SYSTEM, AND APPARATUS FOR MULTIMEDIA CONTENT DELIVERY TO CABLE TV AND SATELLITE OPERATORS

     US PATENT 7339493MULTIMEDIA CONTROLLER

     


    For a PDF version of this document: What is Cloud to Cable