MP3 patent issues?

Steve Dibb steve at
Wed Aug 3 04:04:56 MDT 2005

Kenneth Burgener wrote:
> I have heard that the MP3 encoding is patented.  Is this correct?
> What does a patent protect?  If I were to encode a WAV to MP3 and NOT 
> sale the MP3 does this violate a patent?
> How about if I take a WAV file, encode it with LameMP3 and send it to a 
> client?  Would this violate the MP3 patent?
> Does anyone know where to find some good information on this?

I had the same question a long time ago, and I did all kinds of research 
and it seemed that the developers of the MP3 codec (Franhoffer or 
something like that) basically said a license wasnt needed for 
non-commercial encoding, so OSS projects are in the clear (it was in 
some interview, I wish I could find the link).  But if you look at their 
website, then it's not so clear:

So, whatever.  Use OGG Vorbis.  That's the only decent conclusion I 
could come to.  :)


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