MPEG-4 patent license issues - libfaad* and libx264* and other codecs.
The packages libxine1, ffmpeg, include libfaad*, libx264* or another
codec which implement the MPEG-4 Advanced Audio Coding and Advanced
Video Coding standards. Unfortunately, these are patent encumbered in at
least the USA, and many other countries. To distribute code implementing
any of these patents, a license is required, assuming that the
claimed patents are valid. This license requires signing an agreement
and the payment of royalties, which hasn't been done AFAIK, and is
contrary to policy.
There is evidence of prior attempts of enforcement, specifically against
FAAD at AudioCoding.com. Further, it has been brought to my attention
that a reasonable belief that patents are not valid is sufficient
condition for being able to distribute software that comes under such a
license (subject to ftp master agreement). This is the only evidence I
could find supporting such a belief. It does not appear that
significant prior art exists for any/all of the MPEG-4 patents.
There has been some discussion on the lists before about this issue with
no particular conclusion.
So, what is the status of the distributability of this software.
Matthew W. S. Bell