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Re: Licensing of mp3 decoders



On Sun, May 11, 2003 at 02:38:42PM +0200, Alexander Wirt wrote:
> as a part of my Application i looked at the mpg123 package and took also
> a look to mpg321. Inside of this analysis i took a look to the homepage
> of thompson. There is a pricing list for every decoder that is able to
> play mp3 files [1]. This means for every decoder program round about
> 0.75 $ for every copy of the decoder. I wasn't able to find any
> exception of this fee. 

Those are fees for people who are using their patents. Their patents
are on mp3 encoding, not decoding. We don't ship any mp3 encoders,
thusly we are not bound to follow their royalty scheme (and frankly,
it's highly dubious whether anybody is; people pay because they're
stupid and don't want to fight it in court).

> According to the DFSG this makes every mp3 decoder non-free or even
> undistributable. 

It doesn't, actually. Although it might make it non-distributable
under US law, and some other countries which honour the relevant
patents.

-- 
  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ | Dept. of Computing,
 `. `'                          | Imperial College,
   `-             -><-          | London, UK

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