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Author Topic: MP3 Licencing  (Read 5697 times)

Dr.Flay

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MP3 Licencing
« on: June 29, 2018, 03:12:50 AM »
As most people are not aware, I thought it may be worth pointing out that the Fraunhofer institute decided to end the licencing of MP3, MPEG-2, H.264 last year.
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/16/mp3_dies_nobody_noticed/
http://www.osnews.com/story/24954/US_Patent_Expiration_for_MP3, MPEG-2, H.264/

There is no longer any reason to need a Winamp Pro licence for MP3 encoding, and anyone else can create whatever funky encoders they wish.
I am not so sure if this covers the surround sound variants, but I assume so as DVD AC3 audio would be an MPEG-2 variant I think.
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dro

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Re: MP3 Licencing
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2018, 03:40:30 AM »
From a quick look of the 2011 article (the second link), I was already aware of MP3 finally being unencumbered as that's one I'd been following since 2014 & is why I added back in LAME to WACUP after initially removing it to avoid potential issues whilst the patent was still in effect with earlier beta builds.

MPEG-2 seems to be viewed as having expired around mid-Feb 2018 though it's a bit hazy based on a quick search to validate that this is the case. It also doesn't have too much of an impact on Winamp/WACUP usage whereas it's more MPEG-4 that could be a possible issue (i.e. mp4/m4a containers) since that's still actively licensed from a quick look.

As for H.264, the article says "It will be a while before H.264 is patent free." though an alternative is to use https://www.openh264.org/ (which covers the licensing via Cisco) &/or relying upon what the OS provides (if support is present). So technically it's possible to do H.264 without paying anything directly, just in-directly via OS purchases or reliance upon another organisation to do it on your behalf.

So you're mostly correct in the statement about not needing a pro license, not that it's hard to find a copy of it *cough*ProFit4Consumption.txt*cough* and from a WACUP view point, I've either replaced (or am replacing) most of the plug-ins that had a 'pro' control on them due to not being restricted on the MP3 side of things or just checking what the OS provides to enable other previously limited features.

Sadly there's still a lot of formats that definitely or potential require licensing though I doubt the scale of usership that Winamp/WACUP has/will have that it'll be an issue or things can be done (like I'm already doing) that just make it rely a bit more upon the OS provided features & the licensing costs that will have been paid via that :)

-dro
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 03:42:30 AM by dro »

dro

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Re: MP3 Licencing
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2018, 04:28:53 AM »
This got me thinking so...

AC-3 does seem to have expired in March 2017 though I'd need to do a bit more research before contemplating adding support to WACUP or at least updating the existing winamp plug-in for AC-3 playback. Having had a run in with Dolby under my time with AOL I don't want that grief in my independent state.

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Dr.Flay

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Re: MP3 Licencing
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2018, 06:57:42 AM »
Ah yes AC-3 is from Dolby.
What is the deal with the legality of this plugin then ? http://www.ac3filter.net/wiki/WinampAC3
Is the source for that not usable ?
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dro

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Re: MP3 Licencing
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2018, 02:35:26 PM »
That's the plug-in I meant & it was never clear on the legality of it but if it is patent free now then that one is fair game to use &/or provide some small updates to make it integrate better into recent winamp releases.

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