Are HDMI, LLC and MPEG LA, LLC Part of the Digital Mafia?

I was talking to one of my oldest industry friends at ISE this week here in Amsterdam and he told me how he’d be “shaken-down” by the MPEG LA (the licensing people for DisplayPort). Basically, some two years after he’d been selling products with DisplayPort ports, he was called, out of the blue, by the MPEG LA and told they needed to pay 16 cents (0.15 €) for each DisplayPort connector product. So, if he’d sold a 1×4 DisplayPort distribution amplifier, he needed to pay $0.80 (0.75 €). Plus he’d need to go back and figure out how much he owed since he started in business – back-payment.

This whole process reminded me of old movies that showed how the so-called mafia ran Chicago and New York City back in the ’30s and ’40s.

This is a modern-day mafia — the digital mafia.

I realize that there needs to be some process for dealing with this, but is this the right thing? I looked up both the HDMI, LLC and the MPEG LA and they both appear to be true consortiums/alliances run independently from any one manufacturer. They exist to set standards and enforce them. So, I guess these fees go to fund the association.

But, it just seems weird to me.

Maybe it’s the way of the world.

But, what do I know — here I am writing for a publication that’s free.

But, what happens when you have a cable that converts HDMI to DisplayPort? Or, even more concerning, one that converts DisplayPort to HDMI.

And is it half-priced if the product uses mini-HDMI. And, mini-DisplayPort?