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Re: [gNewSense-users] More on the mp3 issue

From: Markus Laire
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] More on the mp3 issue
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2006 17:09:07 +0200

On 12/11/06, Brian Kemp <address@hidden> wrote:
Well, I've done a little digging, and I found this gem from the
wikipedia article on MP3:

It's not necessarily definitive, but let's start somewhere.

"Additionally, patent holders declined to enforce license fees on open
source decoders, allowing many free MP3 decoders to develop.
Furthermore, while attempts have been made to discourage distribution
of encoder binaries, Thomson has stated that individuals using free
MP3 encoders are not required to pay fees. Thus while patent fees have
been an issue for companies attempting to use MP3, they have not
meaningfully impacted users, allowing the format to grow in

So basically, were gNS to include a free MP3 encoder, there's no
licensing fee...but if any encoder/decoder is included, charging a fee
might be difficult for anyone downstream.  I'm not sure which
definition of free Thomson used.  I doubt it's the one we're
accustomed to (Free as in Speech).

I think you are wrong about that "no licensing fee". From the same article:

In September 1998, the Fraunhofer Institute sent a letter to several
developers of MP3 software stating that a license was required to
"distribute and/or sell decoders and/or encoders". The letter claimed
that unlicensed products "infringe the patent rights of Fraunhofer and
THOMSON. To make, sell and/or distribute products using the [MPEG
Layer-3] standard and thus our patents, you need to obtain a license
under these patents from us."

So anyone distributing gNS would need a license.

Markus Laire

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