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The Digital Guy blog

Bits and pieces about technology - DVD, BD, web, etc.

Aug 27

Blu-ray License fees UPDATE: AACS and BDA

Posted by Bruce Nazarian - the Digital Guy in Blu-ray ReplicationBDAACS

Bruce Nazarian - the Digital Guy

I originally published this in August of last year, but in June 2009, fees for AACS were reduced dramatically, and I've been meaning to update this for a while  - BCN

For many who are new to Blu-ray Disc (BD), the bewildering selection of licenses and fees are causing a lot of confusion. Unlike DVD, which had a fairly loose approach to licenses for content creators, there ARE some Blu-ray licenses that may not be obvious to all, even those who are experienced in DVD! I'll spend this post clarifying what you may be expect of licensing for BD usage.

The GOOD news is that AACS is NOT used on BD-R or BD-RE media, and you are free to create BD projects that are burned on BD-R/RE, or even DVD-R without any need for an AACS license of any kind. You can even create a project that is distributed on a fair number of BD-R/RE or DVD-R discs that have been DUPLICATED. AACS is directly tied to REPLICATION of BD, and is not an issue with the BD or DVD recordable formats used in DUPLICATION.


Types of Licenses:

There are two different sets of license requirements:

AACS for content protection for Replicated discs (BD-ROM) and

BDA licenses for various manufacturers of drives, players, recorders, media and yes, even CONTENT producers!

AACS Licenses:

If you are going to replicate BD-ROM discs of ANY size (BD 25, BD50, even BD5 or BD9 which use red-laser DVD media) you will be REQUIRED to sign a license participation agreement with AACS, and also to obtain a per-title (actually, per-glass-master) Title Key Certificate.

These costs may be considered significant, if you're a small producer.
As of June 2009 these costs have been reduced:

AACS License Agreement (Content Provider)

$500 per year (max $5,000) to join the AACS license program

This has been $3000 (one-time), and if you can afford this, this one-time option still exists. Many cannot afford this up-front.

 AACS Title Key Certificate (issued per glass master)

$500 per title key - this was $1300 per glass master until June 2009.

 AACS per disc royalty (paid in advance, at replication time)

$0.04 per disc, royalty payable to AACS. This fee has not changed.

For larger publishers, these fees may be small sums, but for small publishers, AACS costs may be an unexpectedly large expense.


Let me be clear: AACS is ONLY required if you are going to replicate a quantity of BD-ROM discs using a BD Replicator.

To contact the AACS Licensing Administrator, you can use this email: 



BDA Licenses: FLLA and CPA

FLLA (Format Logo Licensing Agreement) and CPA (Content Provider Agreement) licenses are another thing, and the need for them may not be obvious to many who are first getting into BD.

FLLA Licenses 

FLLA licenses have to do with the use of the BD format Logo (the Blu-ray Disc mark you have no doubt seen). Authoring companies who plan to create commercial titles for replication should investigate if the FLLA for BD-ROM is required for their expected workload (requirements are somewhat uncertain).

Authoring facilities planing on creating titles using BD-J or BD Live are encouraged to become FLLA licensees, to facilitate their interactions with licensed replicators.

An FLLA agreement for BD-ROM is currently $4000 for 5 years, and must be paid at the time of licensing. Most likely, this is NOT something you need to do if you are a new BD publisher/author.

Another benefit for BD-FLLA licensed authoring facilities: the licensing provisions subscribed to will pass through to benefit the clients who engage that licensed facility for BD-ROM authoring, eliminating the need for the client company (usually the content owner) to obtain a license themselves (usually a CPA or CPA-light license for large or small content publishers, respectively).

CPA Licenses

If a content owner is expecting to publish "many" commercial BD titles during a year, it may be in their best interest to become a direct CPA licensee, or a CPA-Light licensee. The costs are different:

A CPA license is $3000/yr for 5 yrs; CPA-light is $500/yr for 5 yrs.


There's more info on the BD ROM content protection here:


I realize this many not yet be a complete listing of all BDA license possibilities, so any specific license inquiries should be addressed to the BDA licensing agent at:


To summarize the above:

You should NOT need a BDA CPA license if you are only creating small quantities on BD recordable, and you should NOT need an FLLA license as long as you are not attempting to use the BD Logo or Logotype in any advertising, or on the disc itself (other than a pre-printed BD logo on a BD-R/RE disc, which has already been licensed). 

You can label your own discs as being a "Blu-ray Disc" in plain text - this is allowed. What you cannot do is just utilize the BD Logo on its own in your advertising without SOME kind of BDA license.

BD logo examples and guidance can be found here: 


Hope this helps you make some sense of these requirements.

If you seek further info, please feel free to email me

Comments (2)Add Comment
Replicated BD9/BD5 licensing requirements
written by Michael Bromfeld, January 11, 2012
I'm still unclear on what the licensing/key/royalty requirements are for replicated BD9/BD5 discs. In one paragraph, you stated that an AACS license and Title Key are necessary for these, but later on you emphasized that AACS is needed only if you are using a BD replicator. (BD9/BD5 would use a DVD replicator, natch.)

Also: Do any of these requirements still apply if you don't want content protection on the replicated disc? And are any of them strictly technical in nature? (As in, breaking them won't get you a C&D, but the player just won't recognize your disc)
Director, Caltech Academic Media Technologies
written by Leslie Maxfield, July 19, 2011
Thank you, Bruce! This concise summary is very useful for BD authoring newbies.

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