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Thomson-Multimedia - 'There is no change in the MP3 licensing policy'

Written by Lasse Penttinen @ 29 Aug 2002 14:30 User comments (2)

Newsforge has done excellent job by digging into this topic that's been red hot for the last few days. Looks like we were all 'slashdotted' big time..
Dave Arland, a U.S. spokesman for Thomson Multimedia, says that MP3 licensing terms have not changed in seven years, and that as far as he knows there are no plans to change them in the future. According to Arland, the Slashdot poster who claimed Thomson's license structure changed recently "was apparently misinformed."

The controversy was created by the removal of this line in the old MP3 royalty licensing page from the current version: "No license fee is expected for desktop software mp3 decoders/players that are distributed free-of-charge via the Internet for personal use of end-users."

But the lack of these few words on the latest version of the MP3 licensing Web site does not represent a change in Thomson's policy.

Arland says Ogg Vorbis is apparently using this small Web site wording change "to get publicity," and that if Ogg Vorbis or anyone else wants to produce multimedia encoders and players and give them away, that's fine with Thomson. But he said Thomson does not do that and never has; that its policy has always been to allow free use of the company's MP3 patents in "freely distributable software" while charging royalties to all commercial software or hardware makers that use Thomson's MP3 technology.

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2 user comments

129.8.2002 14:35

I my opinion, this makes the OGG Vorbis people look silly...

The old school is back. All hail the new !

231.8.2002 14:51

The OGG Vorbis people are a shining star in a dark universe of corporate greed and self-serving interests. If that means "silly" to you, then you have my sympathies. When one removes, whether inadvertently or not, a key line in the licensing description, "No license fee is expected......", then what do you expect? And while we're at it, Lasse, (this *is* Lasse I'm talking to, right?) -- free decoders are the *only* bit of mp3 technology Thomson/Fraunhofer is giving away. (They're not stupid. Why shoot themselves in the foot?). The larger installed user-base they have, the more they can charge everyone else. Encoders are *not* free. (Which is why I wonder about their apparent tolerance of the LAME encoder - better watch out big fella -- they could nuke that puppy at any time if they felt like it). Download it while you still can. And of course, I hope the Webcasters are enjoying all those lovely fees they're paying out to Thomson. Don't forget to check out their fee schedule for mp3 uploads and downloads either. How enforceable *that* one will be is anyone's guess, but I wouldn't want to be on the shi#-end of the stick when the lawsuits for *that* one begin. Ogg "look silly"? - I don't think so. (Sounds pretty damned good too). -- KlingonAgent --

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