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Re: License-fee exemption for mp3 decoders removed?

On Wed, Aug 28, 2002 at 10:53:26AM +0100, Esteban Manchado Velázquez wrote:
> Hmmmm.... just read at Slashdot that Thomson and Fraunhofer have changed their
> minds and now want to charge for mp3 decoders, too (?).
>    http://www.mp3licensing.com/royalty/software.html

www.mp3licensing.com lists a number of patents on the site, of
which one (US patent 4,942,607) is highly applicable to the mp3
method, and a few others are partially applicable.

US patent 4,942,607 makes a number of claims about a process
that takes digital sound input, converts it to a frequency
domain signal, and removes/ignores certain components based
on a psycho-acoustic model.  It does have any claims about
taking that data and reconstructing the audio signal.  It is
pretty clear from reading the claims that decoders do not fall
under the patent.

I have only cursorily reviewed the other patents, to the extent
of finding them less relevant than 4,942,607.  I reserve the
right to be wrong, and there may be other relevant patents, both
US and elsewhere.

It is my belief that, based on the patents listed in the portfolio,
and apart from other considerations, Thomson/Fraunhofer do not have
any basis for requiring licensing fees for mp3 decoders.

*However*, there are other considerations.  If you distribute
an mp3 encoder, you probably need to license the 4,942,607 patent.
For that privilege, Thomson/Fraunhofer can set whatever terms
they want, including, but not limited to, sleeping with your
wife, riding your motorcycle, or demanding $0.75 for each
_decoder_ you distribute.  It is my opinion that this is the
approach that they are taking with the above listed web page.

Removing mp3 decoders is unwarranted, IMO.


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