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[gNewSense-users] More on the mp3 issue

From: Brian Kemp
Subject: [gNewSense-users] More on the mp3 issue
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2006 08:55:26 -0500

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).

Also examine

I think we cannot include it. I assume the Ubuntu folk came to this
very same conclusion for the very same reasons.


The patents seem to expire in the US in 2010.  In the meantime, I'll
use Ogg Vorbis.  (The wikipedia article states that the patent issue
is partially what spawned all of the competing formats.)

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