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Re: MPEG-4 patent license issues - libfaad* and libx264* and other codecs.

Matthew William Solloway Bell <m.w.s.bell@durham.ac.uk> writes:

>> On Sat, Apr 29, 2006 at 11:37:39PM +0100, Matthew William Solloway Bell wrote:
>> > 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[1], 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[2].
>> This appears to refer to enforcement of patents covering encoding using the
>> codecs in question.  Do libxine1 and ffmpeg implement encoding of these, or
>> just decoding?  Is there a history of enforcement of patents on decoding of
>> the codecs in question?
> Hmmm, I think I have missed something; what makes you draw this
> conclusion? AudioCoding.com has removed all binaries including those
> related to decoding. I see no reference to encoding only in [2]. The
> licensing authorities in [1] have licenses that cover decoders. I did
> look at their patent portfolio, but is was brief and shallow. I'm having
> a closer look now.
> libxine:     libfaad (AAC decoder)
> vlc:         libfaad (AAC decoder); libx264 (AVC decoder)
> libavcodec0: libfaad (AAC decoder); libx264 (AVC decoder)
> AFAIK, libx264 is a decoder only but the decoding functions are called
> x264_encoder_?

x264 is an AVC *encoder* only.  libavcodec can optionally call it for
AVC encoding.

Måns Rullgård

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