June 26, 2001

MP3 owners demand fees from Open Source coders

Author: JT Smith

The Register reports that the Fraunhofer Institute and Thomson Multimedia own key technologies incorporated into MP3, and that apparently allows the two companies 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.' "


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