MP3 is a highly compressed audio format. It is the de facto standard for audio distribution online, as well as the most-supported format for digital audio players. The MPEG-LA group and Sisvel (Philips) prevent developers from adding MP3 support to their software packages without paying royalties.
The Fedora GNU/Linux operating system excludes MP3 codecs due to patents, saying:
Fedora is unable to include encoding and decoding support for the MP3 format because it requires patented technologies and the patent holder has not provided licenses that are compatible with Fedora's requirements.
Final expiration: 2015 or 2017
From Wikipedia's article (including the references):
An exception is the United States, where patents filed prior to 8 June 1995 expire 17 years after the publication date of the patent, and a loophole known as submarine patents that makes it possible to extend the effective lifetime of a patent through application extensions. The various MP3-related patents expire on dates ranging from 2007 to 2017 in the U.S. Patents filed for anything disclosed in ISO CD 11172 a year or more after its publication are questionable; if only the known MP3 patents filed by December 1992 are considered, then MP3 decoding may be patent-free in the US by September 2015 when US patent 5812672 expires which had a PCT filing in Oct 1992.
Related pages on ESP Wiki
- FFII page on mpeg licences: MPEG-related patents on compression of acoustic data
- mpeg-patents-faq ("especially for audio compression")
- Lucent loses $1.5b award in Lucent v. Gateway, Dell, & Microsoft
- You thought paying Sisvel ended your license concerns?
- Alcatel won a US Federal Court Jury verdict for US$ 1.52 billion damage award for patent infringement by Microsoft
- Fedora GNU/Linux wiki page on mp3
- Wikipedia: MP3#Licensing_and_patent_issues
- A Big List of MP3 Patents (and supposed expiration dates), 26 Feb 2007, Tunequest
- "A Big List of MP3 Patents (and supposed expiration dates)". tunequest. 26 February 2007. http://www.tunequest.org/a-big-list-of-mp3-patents/20070226/.
- Cogliati, Josh (20 July 2008). "Patent Status of MPEG-1, H.261 and MPEG-2". Kuro5hin. http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2008/7/18/232618/312. This work failed to consider patent divisions and continuations.