The Dierks Group, a
privately-owned German music and technology group that invented the
double-sided CD and DVD, is talking to Warner amid allegations of breach of
contract and patent abuse. Recently, Warner announced that they and possibly
Sony would team up to produce these enhanced Dual format disks next year. With
them they hope to halt the sales slide that the industry has faced in recent
Dieter Dierks, a veteran music producer and chairman of the Dierks Group,
claims the project could be illegal.
The German entrepreneur, who patented the
combined disc technology under the name DVD Plus, has written to Warner
Music claiming it has licenses over production of such discs and royalty
agreements that promise a share of future profits arising from sales by
the US group.
In April 2000, Warner Music sold rights
over its own dual disc technology to Mr Dierks in a deal allowing the US
company to manufacture the discs if the technology was perfected, as long
as it used the DVD Plus logo.
Warner Music officials said that it was
determined to press ahead with production of its dual discs in spite of
the agreement with Mr Dierks.
"There are no patents in the US,"
according to one person familiar with the situation. "As far as we can
tell, the agreement doesn't obligate us other than putting the DVD Plus
logo somewhere on the package, and the only royalty issue is in
The Dierks Group and their business partners, understandably feel that they
are having their idea hijacked. They believe the investment of their research to
make the format work will now not bear the fruit as it may now go for