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An open Thank-You letter from OGG Vorbis developers to Thompson Multimedia

Written by Lasse Penttinen @ 28 Aug 2002 0:27 User comments (4)

The (The people behind OGG Vorbis) were quick to respond to the apparent change of the MP3 licensing policy. This is a must read!
August 27th, 2002
Dear Thomson Multimedia:

Thank you for removing the license-fee exemption for the release of free mp3 decoders.

Thank you for the unbelievable amount of free publicity we have received in the wake of this announcement. If it weren't for the change in mp3 licensing, there's a very real chance that the continued adoption of our open standards may have slowed down.

Thank you for presenting a reminder to people that when they choose a patented alternative over a free one, they will eventually have to pay in one way or another. It's been difficult to send this message all by ourselves; we're glad you've decided to step up to the plate and knock it out of the park.

Thank you for providing the impetus for millions of people and hundreds of companies to give an open, free alternative a try. We love it when people get a chance to evaluate technology, and we've been happy to present them with a superior alternative to mp3. If it weren't for the removal of the free-decoder exemption, it might have taken even longer for people to try it out.

Thank you for setting a precedent in providing free technology until the world has become hooked on it, and then charging a lot of money afterwards. This isn't a new idea, but we're glad that you've taken a stand to ensure that this practice will continue as long as vested interests control patents on multimedia. We hope that you'll continue in this pattern with MPEG-4, since we'll be releasing a free MPEG-4 competitor next summer.

Also, with all of the tech-trade brouhaha over your decision, we're certain that people will continue to donate to our fine organization, in the hopes that we'll continue to release open source software that out-performs proprietary alternatives. After all, with tiny donations that represent a mere fraction of your minimum royalties, we can ensure that open standards for multimedia will thrive.

Please be sure to threaten those who challenge your license fees with lawsuits and draconian collections efforts. We officially support any action you take to drive home the 'mp3 costs money' message. Thanks again, and best of luck!

Emmett Plant
CEO, Foundation

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4 user comments

128.8.2002 6:38

AWESOME. JUST, PLAIN, FREEKIN' AWESOME! This post is *very* Emmett Plant-ish. Actually, Emmett is a very fine gentleman who takes the time to answer his most urgent forum posts. (I wouldn't want to cross swords with him though; he can be quite 'feisty'). Ogg Vorbis is gonna *rule*, Lasse, I can feel it. I've felt it ever since I discovered it and explored other formats along with it, right here in these forums with you and our own members. I simply adore the increasingly large collection of vorbis data discs I have made, and will make a financial committment (if not too grievous) to obtain a vorbis-capable dvd standalone player when (not 'if') it comes out. I truly believe the writing is on the wall now. I *want* the ogg logo to replace the 'mp3' one on all new hardware devices. Vorbis is no longer beta. LOOK OUT !!! :-) I'm proud of what Chris Montgomery, Emmett Plant et all have created and accomplished. With perfectly-composed tongue-in-cheek letters like the one above, ogg (and vorbis) can't fail. If Emmett sounds a little 'cock-sure' above, well, he *should* be! Xiph has earned it. Everything he stated is true. Now...... I'm not a musician (alas), but if I *were*, I would probably be hounding you, asking if it would be 'ok' for me to upload oggs instead of mp3s to mp3Lizard. *Thank You* for keeping us right up to snuff on these important developments! -- Klingy --

228.8.2002 8:36

Now...... I'm not a musician (alas), but if I *were*, I would probably be hounding you, asking if it would be 'ok' for me to upload oggs instead of mp3s to mp3Lizard.
Just changed the rules and we allow OGG Vorbis files now as well ;-) Not that no one had cared earlier either, we already had like 200 Vorbis files in our system even before changing the rules -- we're not too restrictive/obsessed in that area. I personally am waiting with interest how several small players in digital music biz will take it -- who has the courage to dump MP3 support altogether, since that kind of a move _WILL_ alienate Joe Average's from using the player. Joe Averages of this world don't really care what's the reasoning behind the decision to drop MP3 support, they only care about the fact that they either can or can't play their files downloaded from "kazza" (<- seems to be official way to typ-o the p2p tool nowadays, among newbies anyway :-). Sad, but true.
Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

328.8.2002 9:19

I so far haven't downloaded a single OGG file while searching for music on the net, but when ever I purchase an Album, I encode it into Vorbis at 128kbps average. It will be pretty interesting to see if people start sharing OGG encoded music as I'm fed up downloading poorly encoded MP3 tracks. I've roughly 1,700 OGG tracks and 1,100 MP3 tracks on my PC. All the OGG tracks are ripped from Albums I have and are encoded in Vorbis 1.0.

429.8.2002 0:00

dRD: That's *terrific* news! And thanx for admitting that (some) folks had already uploaded (200!!) oggs! They (and you/mp3Lizard) will be under NO obligation to pay *any* fees w-h-a-t-s-o-e-v-e-r for it's use! And yes, providing ogg-only playback capability in hand-held portable music playback devices would indeed make joe schmoe average-user scratch his head in bewilderment. Frankly, maybe a *better* way to go would be for the manufacturers to include both formats, at least for a while, so that Mr. Schmoe would realize there was now a *choice*. The smaller filesize and higher quality would likely make him switch over, all by himself. Certainly too, ogg-file availability from mp3Lizard and elsewhere certainly won't hurt either! seanbyrne: Vorbis 1.0 128 (or even RC4 beta!) will certainly beat the pants off what you're generally going to find floating around the net in similar mp3 bitrate files, and particularly from P to P file-sharing systems. (I was dumbfounded at how many 128 kbps .mp3 cbr files -- or at least abr -- people have stored on their HDDs, when using Grokster). If you have (or plan to get) an inexpensive cdr burner, you can free up a _lot_ of hdd space by burning some ogg data discs. At 128 kbps, you can store a whack of them on a single disc. (Please keep your eyes peeled for ogg hardware devices - I know * I * am !! -- Mike --

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