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The Sleeping Dragon Awakes, mp3 patents re-awaken
pdq
post Aug 5 2008, 14:45
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LAME does not infringe the patents as long as it is just source code. It is whoever compiles it that is infringing.
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Livy
post Aug 5 2008, 15:04
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QUOTE (pdq @ Aug 5 2008, 07:45) *
LAME does not infringe the patents as long as it is just source code. It is whoever compiles it that is infringing.


So users are not in violation, only those who are developing it?
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menno
post Aug 5 2008, 15:18
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Funny that this thread came up again.

QUOTE (spoon @ Jul 21 2004, 04:23) *
This is one thing I will not bend over and take it ** *** ****, I will fight as much as possible, I have a strong view of what is fair and what is not.


Yet, stealing from open source projects doesn't keep you awake at night?
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spoon
post Aug 5 2008, 15:22
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QUOTE
Spoon, what is the status of this MP3 licensing issue with Thomson? Are they still breathing down your neck, or did you reach an agreement with them? Obviously, you're still including MP3-encoding capabilities and have a licensing model set-up, but I'm curious to know how it all went with them.

Also, if one purchases the MP3 encoding license that comes with dbpoweramp, a) is there any limit as to how many MP3 files can be encoded using the software, and b) is there any restriction on what can later be done with those files? Can the MP3s be sold without the need to worry about additional royalty problems with Thomson?

I am curious for the sake of my own projects.


It turned out ok, we had a large settlement with them for all the free versions of dBpoweramp we gave out, so it was quite a few lean years when we switched over to licensing. I always have a small smile when I see someone post along the lines 'Lame is free, they should not be charing for it, stick with dBpoweramp Rxx which was free', I smile because I had in the end to pay even for their free version...

>Can the MP3s be sold without the need to worry about
>additional royalty problems with Thomson?

If you were Amazon and sold mp3s you had better get everything legal tickty-boo, because mp3 licensing want 2% of your revenue, allthough I am not sure on what legal grounds this is based, ie I am not convinced that 2% has to be paid (if a patent license is paid for in a program), as there is no legal agreement between yourself and Thompson and patent law does decend into licensed usage. Realistically if you are not in the top 50 of mp3 sellers you will never hear from them. Although I am no lawyer.

QUOTE
Has Fraunhofer ever come after LAME? What is the legal status of all the rips I've made with it? Thanks!


QUOTE
It is whoever compiles it that is infringing.


Patents extend to distribution, I am quite sure you would be perfectly in the law to take lame, compile it yourself and use it yourself without infringing. If you put lame as part of a program, even for free then you would fall under the requirements for a patent.

QUOTE
Yet, stealing from open source projects doesn't keep you awake at night?


Please elaborate. You seem to imply we have stole something from an OS project.


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menno
post Aug 5 2008, 15:27
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Using something in a way that is not allowed is considered stealing, I would say. Maybe the term stealing is not completely correct. But anyway, you have no right to use FAAD2 (and I think also MAD) in the way you do.
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Livy
post Aug 5 2008, 16:03
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QUOTE (spoon @ Aug 5 2008, 08:22) *
QUOTE
Spoon, what is the status of this MP3 licensing issue with Thomson? Are they still breathing down your neck, or did you reach an agreement with them? Obviously, you're still including MP3-encoding capabilities and have a licensing model set-up, but I'm curious to know how it all went with them.

Also, if one purchases the MP3 encoding license that comes with dbpoweramp, a) is there any limit as to how many MP3 files can be encoded using the software, and b) is there any restriction on what can later be done with those files? Can the MP3s be sold without the need to worry about additional royalty problems with Thomson?

I am curious for the sake of my own projects.


It turned out ok, we had a large settlement with them for all the free versions of dBpoweramp we gave out, so it was quite a few lean years when we switched over to licensing. I always have a small smile when I see someone post along the lines 'Lame is free, they should not be charing for it, stick with dBpoweramp Rxx which was free', I smile because I had in the end to pay even for their free version...

>Can the MP3s be sold without the need to worry about
>additional royalty problems with Thomson?

If you were Amazon and sold mp3s you had better get everything legal tickty-boo, because mp3 licensing want 2% of your revenue, allthough I am not sure on what legal grounds this is based, ie I am not convinced that 2% has to be paid (if a patent license is paid for in a program), as there is no legal agreement between yourself and Thompson and patent law does decend into licensed usage. Realistically if you are not in the top 50 of mp3 sellers you will never hear from them. Although I am no lawyer.

QUOTE
Has Fraunhofer ever come after LAME? What is the legal status of all the rips I've made with it? Thanks!


QUOTE
It is whoever compiles it that is infringing.


Patents extend to distribution, I am quite sure you would be perfectly in the law to take lame, compile it yourself and use it yourself without infringing. If you put lame as part of a program, even for free then you would fall under the requirements for a patent.

QUOTE
Yet, stealing from open source projects doesn't keep you awake at night?


Please elaborate. You seem to imply we have stole something from an OS project.


So as long as I use LAME for nothing more than creating my own MP3 files (with EAC) that are not to be sold afterward, as long as I don't use LAME as a part of another program that I develop, I'm OK?

I, too, have a strong sense of right/wrong and don't want to break the law, even if there's no consequence.
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spoon
post Aug 5 2008, 16:03
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>Using something in a way that is not allowed is considered stealing,

Stealing is a strong word, kind of like the RIIA accusing those who download mp3s as stealing (your referral is a GPL violation, RIIAs is a copyright violation).

Funny you should keep mentioning this, I have an email from 2003 from Jim Corbett (Exeutive Director @ Nero) from 2003 specifically talking about FAAD2 which allows our usage of it, sorry not allows, but actively encourages it....and even if we did not I believe our usage of FAAD2 falls 100% under the sprit of GPL, that is we use it as a library, unmodified. Legally (in our opinion) there is very little difference from a component which is say faad2.exe which could stream out audio on STDIO and a faad2.lib / .dll, they are components, but again this has never been tested in court.

I am a person of principles, we will not use something which an orgainsation or individual does not want us to use, if I get a letter from Nero's management which request that we stop using faad2, then I will remove it (in a commercially reasonable time, given our previous ok to use it from Nero) and fund development of a LGPL m4a (aac) decoder.

I also think the correct method for this kind of communication is by private mail (in the first instance), not to do the dirty laundry in public so to speak.


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menno
post Aug 5 2008, 16:11
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Of course we encourage usage of the library... under the terms of the GPL.
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spoon
post Aug 5 2008, 16:37
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What is your view on derivative works then and GPL? which is classed as a derrived work in your opinion:

FAAD2 complied as exe and uses stdio, does the program calling FAAD2.exe fall under gpl?
FAAD2 complied as dll, does the program calling FAAD2.dll fall under gpl?
FAAD2 complied as lib, statically linked, does the program calling FAAD2.lib fall under gpl?

In my opinion none are derrived works.


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menno
post Aug 5 2008, 17:03
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I don't care too much about what is a derived work, but I think GNU considers the last 2 as derived work. For me the 2nd option is sort of a gray area. I would have less problems with that if you wouldn't distribute the binary with your product (so at least offering the part that uses FAAD2 for free) but separate it and giving credit where credit is due. Nowhere on your site do I read that you are using GPLed software in your product (why not? maybe you're not so sure that there is no issue?) nor are you providing any downloads of the code or directions where to obtain it.
I understand you got permission at one point, but that is not our current policy and it would not be hard to retract that, also before it was not our policy to allow usage in any kind of commercial software (I guess you got lucky). Also, I don't see how that gives you any right to not credit us at all.

Did you get similar permission for MAD?
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weaker
post Aug 5 2008, 19:50
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In Germany there is no court decision regarding derivative work yet. But in my company the guideline is IIRC (can look it up again if needed):

- LGPL lib dynamically linked is no derivative work
- GPL lib dynamically linked and the program being tailored for that specific lib is derivative work
- GPL lib and program designed not specificially for that lib (easily exchangable for another lib that does similar things) is no derivative work
- linking statically LGPL or GPL is derivative work
- don't remember about stdio
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Tahnru
post Aug 5 2008, 19:57
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Perhaps some reading at GNU.org would shed some light on the matter?

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#NFUseGPLPlugins

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#Prelinking
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLCompatInstaller
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#G...oprietarySystem

EDIT: The top link sort of ruins the rest ... it would seem that 'borderline' best describes this until more concrete guidance can be issued.

This post has been edited by Tahnru: Aug 5 2008, 20:03
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Neasden
post Aug 5 2008, 20:09
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hmmm... if Vorbis were ever the dominant format....... [ in bliss ]
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Garf
post Aug 5 2008, 20:27
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QUOTE (spoon @ Aug 5 2008, 17:03) *
I also think the correct method for this kind of communication is by private mail (in the first instance), not to do the dirty laundry in public so to speak.


Yes.
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Martel
post Aug 5 2008, 20:43
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Well, if the dBpoweramp violates GPL in some way then perhaps people should be aware of this issue before they distribute the program to their friends/etc. and possibly violate the license as well. It would be good to know which versions of the program are illegal at least.


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DVDdoug
post Aug 5 2008, 21:43
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Back to MP3 licensing... Here's what I don't understand... Why can't I buy a licensed copy of LAME (or another stand-alone MP3 encoder)? Is there someone who sells a licensed version?

Lots of programs, especially free programs such as EAC, allow me to use the LAME encoder. But, as far as I can tell, there is no way to use it legally (with these free programs). The royalty is only $2.50 and I wouldn't mind paying $5 or $10 for a fully-legal encoder!
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menno
post Aug 5 2008, 22:20
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I guess that has to do with the annual minimum amount ($15000).
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spoon
post Aug 5 2008, 23:32
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QUOTE
I would have less problems with that if you wouldn't distribute the binary with your product (so at least offering the part that uses FAAD2 for free) but separate it and giving credit where credit is due. Nowhere on your site do I read that you are using GPLed software in your product (why not? maybe you're not so sure that there is no issue?) nor are you providing any downloads of the code or directions where to obtain it.
I understand you got permission at one point, but that is not our current policy and it would not be hard to retract that, also before it was not our policy to allow usage in any kind of commercial software (I guess you got lucky). Also, I don't see how that gives you any right to not credit us at all.


It was always my understanding our relative permissions to use FAAD2 were never under the GPL, that is not to say this situation does not need resolving. Our m4a codec was always a separate download, no dBpoweramp install includes faad2 (until the current beta release of uPlayer), so we will remove it from uPlayer and include on the web site that faad2 is used under the GPL, then everyone is happy (or not, who knows wink.gif ).

QUOTE
Did you get similar permission for MAD?


We are under an active NDA for MAD, but even if we were not I would never discuss details with Nero who is potentially a rival.

QUOTE
but I think GNU considers the last 2 as derived work. For me the 2nd option is sort of a gray area.


There is no real difference between:

Program << FAAD2 dll
Program << Generic Decoder DLL << using FAAD2 dll
Program << FAAD2 (stdio)

If your statement is correct 'program' above has to be GPL and therefore nothing can use FAAD2 without being GPL. And what if the FAAD2 is a separate install from the main program (like we do), further muddies the waters. Like I said we are amicable, if Nero do not want us to use FAAD2 we will not.

QUOTE
licensed copy of LAME (or another stand-alone MP3 encoder)? Is there someone who sells a licensed version?


We supply a 'licensed' (as in we pay a patent fee for each version we supply), but as I said before patent laws do not affect the individual.


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menno
post Aug 6 2008, 00:08
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I think we can discuss GPL for a long time. I agree that we can find a decent solution. Send through PM.
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chelgrian
post Aug 6 2008, 01:16
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QUOTE (spoon @ Aug 5 2008, 16:37) *
FAAD2 complied as exe and uses stdio, does the program calling FAAD2.exe fall under gpl?


No

QUOTE
FAAD2 complied as dll, does the program calling FAAD2.dll fall under gpl?


Yes. (No for LGPL)

QUOTE
FAAD2 complied as lib, statically linked, does the program calling FAAD2.lib fall under gpl?


Yes. (Yes for LGPL)

It should be pointed out that "fall under gpl" is not right "must be under a GPL compatible license" is correct.

It's vaguely possible to weasel out of case 2 if you have a generic plugin API which where your GPL incompatible host loads a GPLed plugin however it's all very borderline. It helps if the API wasn't invented for the purposes of evading the license and is a standard implemented by many programs. If you are writing such a plugin for a recognised API it's always better to add a specific exception to allow hosts that conform to the plugin API. Obviously in order to add such an exception you must either have the copyright on all the files that make the plugin or get the rights holders to agree to such a license change on their work.

This post has been edited by chelgrian: Aug 6 2008, 01:20
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DVDdoug
post Aug 6 2008, 02:32
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QUOTE
QUOTE
licensed copy of LAME (or another stand-alone MP3 encoder)? Is there someone who sells a licensed version?


We supply a 'licensed' (as in we pay a patent fee for each version we supply), but as I said before patent laws do not affect the individual.
I understand that the patents & royalties don't apply directly to the individual, and I'm not worried about Thomson "coming after me". But, Thomson is supposed to get a royalty (from the supplier/distributor) for each individual using the software.

I have a couple of applications that use lame_enc.dll, which (like most people) I downloaded for free. I'm just saying that I wouldn't mind paying (a small amount) for a "legal" copy of that same DLL. (i.e. If the distributor was paying the proper royalty to Thomson.) I also have at least one application with a fully-licensed MP3 encoder.
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chelgrian
post Aug 6 2008, 02:42
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QUOTE (spoon @ Aug 5 2008, 23:32) *
We are under an active NDA for MAD, but even if we were not I would never discuss details with Nero who is potentially a rival.


Presumably illustrate have some sort of commercial license for MAD which Underbit are perfectly entitled to do being copyright holders on libmad. It is up to the copyright holder to take action if they believe their copyright is being violated, everyone else just has to assume an appropriate agreement is in place. However it is a bit strange to trot out the "I'm under an NDA" as a response to a this question since Underbit advertise on their website that MAD is available under a commercial license.

QUOTE
There is no real difference between:

Program << FAAD2 dll
Program << Generic Decoder DLL << using FAAD2 dll
Program << FAAD2 (stdio)


There is a very real difference between these methods as the FSF (in its license FAQs) and any lawyer versed in the GPL will tell you.

QUOTE
If your statement is correct 'program' above has to be GPL and therefore nothing can use FAAD2 without being GPL. And what if the FAAD2 is a separate install from the main program (like we do), further muddies the waters.


It is correct to say that nothing can link to FAAD2 unless it is licensed under a GPL compatible license. Which licenses are compatible with the GPL depend on the version of the GPL. For example the Apache 2 license is compatible with GPLv3 but not GPLv2 due to additional restrictions (mostly to do with patents) which are present in the Apache 2 license which fall foul of the "no additional restrictions" clause in the GPL. The GPLv3 has its own equivalent patent grant clauses so the additional restrictions clauses do not apply and the licenses are compatible.

Going back to your case having it as a "separate install" is irrelevant. It is how your program uses it which matters.

I presume that the FAAD2 decoder is one of the dlls in this http://codecs.dbpoweramp.com/codecs-new/dB...p-Codec-m4a.exe package. If so then leaving aside the question of linking it into dBpoweramp you are still don't have rights to distribute under the GPL due to:

- Not discharging your obligations under sections 3a or 3b to either accompany the binary with source or make an offer of the source. Section 3c doesn't apply because it counts as commercial distribution.

- Adding additional restrictions in your click wrap license agreement which violates section 6.

Obviously none of this matters if there is a separate license agreement in place with FAAD2 copyright holders.
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spoon
post Aug 6 2008, 09:24
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QUOTE
It is correct to say that nothing can link to FAAD2 unless it is licensed under a GPL compatible license


Lets think some more about this...so if the hard line is taken nothing can go near a GPL lib without being GPL. Lets take Winamp as an example (and faad2, for a moment lets suppose Winamp had no m4a decoding). Now if Nullsoft were to implement a decoder using FAAD2 you are saying that Winamp would have to fall under GPL, even if said codec was a seperate download. What if a 3rd party makes the codec? what if Winamp linked to that codec on their site, or included it on their site? Not so clear cut is it?

I take a different view on these libraries they created to perform a defined function, by including that function in a larger system you are not creating a new derrived work of the library, as the library is still doing what it was designed to do, unchanged, interacting through the interfaces as designated under the GPL (be them functions in a DLL or command line switches of an EXE, no real difference). Now as far as the GPL is concerned what matters legally is the text in the GPL and how a court would rule on that in specific cases not what is written after the fact on gnu.org, notice how the line taken there is even a seperate exe can pass GPL to a controlling program if shared memory is used to communicate, to me it smacks of people subverting ideals and going for the control factor above the ideal of the GPL. Lets not forget why the GPL exists and keeping it specific to FAAD2, the idea of GPL is if anyone improved FAAD2, or fixed a bug in it then the code has to be made available for all, that is it, pure and simple. Including FAAD2 in a larger program does not change it one bit.


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robert
post Aug 6 2008, 09:33
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QUOTE (spoon @ Aug 6 2008, 10:24) *
... Lets not forget why the GPL exists and keeping it specific to FAAD2, the idea of GPL is if anyone improved FAAD2, or fixed a bug in it then the code has to be made available for all, that is it, pure and simple. Including FAAD2 in a larger program does not change it one bit.

Well, if you link statically FAAD2 with a larger program, you are extending FAAD2's functionality.
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DigitalDictator
post Aug 6 2008, 09:34
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QUOTE (spoon @ Jul 23 2004, 10:27) *
I cannot disclose the exact letter they sent as it had confidential all over it, but it is VERY similar to:

Just because it says "confidential" in the email, it doesn't necessarily mean it is so.

This post has been edited by DigitalDictator: Aug 6 2008, 09:36
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