Fraunhofer and Thomson, owners of key bits of MP3, have decided
to flex and demand royalties of developers proprietary and open
source with MP3. This item covers the effects of strict enforcement
of the patents behind MP3 with two open source projects: 8Hz-MP3
(the developers are shutting down until further notice) and
BladeEnc (which is now distributed source-only to avoid legal
"...Fraunhofer and Thomson's ownership of key
technologies incorporated into MP3 allows them to demand royalties
from anyone using their intellectual property. This despite the
fact that MP3 is, nominally at least, an open standard. The fees
apply to anyone who produces a commercial MP3 player and all MP3
encoders, be they commercial or freeware.
Hence the message Dutch developer 8Hz Productions ("two students
in Amsterdam programming for the sake of learning") recently
received from Fraunhofer regarding its open source 8Hz-MP3
software. Says the organisation: "We have received an email from
Fraunhofer (as have more developers) to negotiate the licensing for
the MP3 encoder. As we are poor students, paying the license is not
really a viable option."
Fraunhofer wanted $25,000 a year from the two students."
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