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Topic: License fees for MP3 encoding (Read 3575 times) previous topic - next topic
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License fees for MP3 encoding

I am looking into adding LAME encoding support into CD Wave, so you can convert from vinyl to MP3 in one step.

The encoding step seems quite straightforward, and I can use the LAME encoder DLL without an additional fee if i give proper credit and so. If this turns out great, I'll probably feel obliged to do somehing useful for the LAME folks inreturn for their great software.

However,  I've heard reports that ANY MP3 encoder must pay something like  $2 per program copy because of some obscure regulation with Fraunhofer and the likes, even when using the freeware encoder. Can anyone comfirm or deny this?

Whereas adding MP3 capability is probably worth the $2, I don't want to be surprised...

License fees for MP3 encoding

Reply #2
These fees apply to any MP3 implementation and while Thomson has been very lax at enforcing them, there's nothing stopping them to do so (RedHat removed MP3 Playback from their distribution because of this, even though Thomson stated that they are not planning on charging for freeware decoding).

Your best option would be adding support for lame.dll and pointing your users to RareWares or another source of lame compiles.
"To understand me, you'll have to swallow a world." Or maybe your words.

License fees for MP3 encoding

Reply #3
We (the Lame project) are providing you an implementation of the Mp3 technology. By providing you this implementation for free under the LGPL license, you can save time/money that you would otherwise have to spend in order to have such an implementation.
However, the Mp3 technology is covered by several patents in many countries. This means that you might (according to your country) still have to pay the fee covering the use of the technology.

To be more clear, you have 2 main choices:
* license an exploitation agreement from ThomsonMM. In this case it is cheaper thanlicensing both exploitation rights and technology implementation from Thomson, and you can legally distribute the mp3 encoding engine with your product.
* do no release the mp3 encoding engine with your product, but explain to the end-user how to find such encoding engine and how to allow your product to use it.

License fees for MP3 encoding

Reply #4
Thanks for the link. The $2 per user would not be much of a problem, but the $15k minimum annual fee is kinda killing for our business., we don't make that much money selling CD Wave    yet.

So the LAME solution seems like the viable one. I was wondering how simple I could make it for users. For example, providing a click-to-install LAME distribution would save us a lot of e-mail support. Can I contribute a LAME "plugin" for CD Wave to the LAME project? (all that is required is to store the lame_enc.dll into windows/system or into the cdwave program dir)

And, slightly off-topic but since you're here, apart from telling users who and what you are, what can we do for the LAME project in return?


License fees for MP3 encoding

Reply #5
And, slightly off-topic but since you're here, apart from telling users who and what you are, what can we do for the LAME project in return?

Well, on the Lame website, there is a list of Lame developpers. If you contact any of them, it is likely that they would be happy to receive a gift ( in the form of a book, a soundcard, or anything else depending on your budget.

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