Acacia Research Corp., a company based in Newport Beach, Calif., has sent a "second wave" of letters to dozens of colleges in recent days. The message: Pay up, or risk getting sued. In spite of a legal setback in July, Acacia is escalating claims that schools' use of streaming video for purposes such as distance learning and video lectures violates the company's patents.

"Certainly for colleges that do a lot of distance education, this could be a major problem," said Steve Worona, director of policy and networking programs at EDUCAUSE, an association of campus information technology centers.


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