[MPlayer-users] MPEG4 Patent issue and LAME...

Sukru Tikves stikves at yahoo.com
Sat Jul 13 22:48:01 CEST 2002


Last month there was a thread on Mpeg 4 patents.
Somebody mentioned LAME which *should have been* bound
to MP3 patents, but somehow it's still not sued.

I checked their web page and found a FAQ entry.

-----from lame faq----------------------------------

. Does LAME use any MP3 patented technology?

LAME, as the name says, is *not* an encoder.  LAME is
a development
project which uses the open source model to improve
MP3 technology.
Many people believe that compiling this code and
distributing an
encoder which uses this code would violate some
patents (in the US,
Europe and Japan).  However, *only* a patent lawyer is
qualified to
make this determination.  The LAME project tries to
avoid all these
legal issues by only releasing source code, much like
the ISO
distributes MP3 "demonstration" source code.  Source
code is
considered as speech, which may contain descriptions
of patented
technology.  Descriptions of patents are in the public

Several companies plan on releasing encoders based on
LAME, and
they intend to obtain all the appropriate patent
licenses.  At least
one company is now shipping a fully licensed version
of LAME with
their portable MP3 player.  

Note that under German Patent Law, §11(1) a patent
doesn't cover
private acts with non-industrial purposes. Probably
interesting for
developers is that a patent doesn't cover acts with
purposes, that aim at the object of the patented
invention (§11(2)).

------end of extract-------------------------------

Sukru Tikves,
  Hacettepe University
  Computer Engineering 
  Department, Ankara


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