About three hours ago on Twitter @spotrh tweeted:
"As of today, MP3 decoding software is permissible in Fedora."
Is this true? If so, could we have a bit more detail?
I'm slightly suspicious as to the authenticity of the tweet because
yesterday @spotrh tweeted:
"I'm going to stay off social media for the foreseeable future. If you
need me, you know how to find me."
There are MP3-related US patents with expirations in September 2015,
February 2017, April 2017, and December 2017, and some people argue that
the last one affecting decoding may have been the one that expired in
September 2015, but I don't know of anything that changed in 2016.
I am speaking as an individual and am not a lawyer.
On 11/11/2016 02:32 PM, Yaakov Selkowitz wrote:
>Also, for the sake of clarity, what is the status of:
>* MPEG-1 Audio Layer II (MP2) encoding (e.g. twolame)?
>* MPEG-1 video decoding (e.g. smpeg, which also includes MP3 decoding)?
These are probably patent free, just by virtue of age. As in patents in the US have to be filed within one year of the technique being published, and last 20 years after filing, or for patents filed before June 8, 1995, can last 17 years after the grant date. There is the possibility of patent term extension if the patent office takes too long to process the paperwork.
ISO 11172-2 which defines MPEG-1 video decoding came out in 1993-08-01 (August 8, 1993)
ISO 11172-3 which defines MPEG-1 audio decoding (including Layer II) came out in 1993-08-01 (August 8, 1993)
So, doing the math, 1993+1+20 = 2014 (1993 + 1 year after publication + 20 years to expire)
and 1995 + 3 + 17 = 2015 (1995 + 3 years to get patent granted + 17 years to expire)
so patents on anything in ISO 11172 are highly likely to be expired.
I have some more detail on this at:
That said, the rest of MPEG-1 is much less common than MPEG-1 layer III audio, so there is much less research in this part. (Also, the last time I saw a new MPEG-1 video was in 2009, so the format is not getting used much.)
>Oh, and also:
>* MPEG-2 video decoding (e.g. libmpeg2)?
Rob Glidden looked at this in 2011, and his conclusion at the time was that the last MPEG-2 patent he was aware of expired on 2018-Feb-14th. He posted about this, but the links to the spreadsheets are broken (but he has been emailed about the url problems, so hopefully it gets fixed soon.)
So MPEG-2 is still probably patented, but this is worth looking at in 2018.
Let me say that I am pleased to hear that. Just for clarification, is this MPEG-1 Layer III audio decoding only, or
does is it also include MPEG-2 Layer III audio decoding? (Some implementations include both.)
>We cannot comment on specific patents, not now, not ever. Red Hat has
>determined that it is now acceptable for Fedora to include MP3 decoding
>functionality (not specific to any implementation, or binding by any
>unseen agreement). Encoding functionality is not permitted at this time.
First of all, I am not a lawyer, but I have talked to lawyers, but
finding a lawyer who is willing to be quoted publicly without paying
them is difficult.
There are several things that can be meant went saying MP3 decoding
because there are several things that MP3 can be.
The MPEG-1 specification was publish in 1993 as ISO/IEC 11172. It
include both video and audio codecs.
Most of the MP3 files I have seen on the internet are MPEG-1 layer III
audio. The linux file command will identify these as:
MPEG ADTS, layer III, v1
The MPEG-2 specification also had layer III audio. The linux file
command will identify these as:
MPEG ADTS, layer III, v2
There is also a non-ISO MP3 file format that is called MPEG-2.5 created
by Fraunhofer IIS.
Now for patent status.
MPEG-1 Layer III audio decoding is possible to do patent free in the US
as of September 2015 assuming you do decoding in roughly the way
described in the MPEG-1 specification.
MPEG-1 Layer III audio encoding is probably possible to do patent free.
That said there are patents that can apply to the encoding that expire
in the 2017 timeframe. See for example US patent 6009399.
MPEG-2 Layer III audio decoding and encoding may be patented or not.
Many of the MPEG-2 patents don't expire until 2018, so it would take
some work to determine if MPEG-2 Layer III can be decoded or encoded
MPEG-2.5 is still patented for decoding and encoding and will be till at
The patents that Eric Smith is referring to that expire in February 2017
and April 2017 are by Sisvel and I believe they are U.S. Patent
5,878,080 <https://www.google.com/patents/US5878080>, which expires
February 2017, U.S. Patent 5,850,456
<https://www.google.com/patents/US5850456>, which expires February 2017
and U.S. Patent 5,960,037 <https://www.google.com/patents/US5960037>,
which expires 9. April 2017. These were filed in 1997 so it is highly
unlikely that they read on MPEG-1 Layer III audio decoding since the
MPEG-1 specification was publish in 1993 (and therefore the patents
would not be valid against MPEG-1 since the filing date is more than 1
year after the specification was published).
The patent that 'expires' in December 2017 I believe is U.S. Patent
5,703,999 <https://www.google.com/patents/US5703999> but I think that
actually expired in 2014/12/30 (17 years after grant date of December
30, 1997) because it was filed November 18, 1996 but is a continuation
of a PCT/DE93/00448 filed in May 18, 1993. Redhat lists this as
expiring in November 18, 2016 (Possibly this November 2016 date is why
MPEG-1 Layer III audio decoding is only happening now, instead of last
(See also my previous email:
So an MPEG-1 Layer III decoding program can probably be used patent free.
> Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2016 14:55:06 -0700
> From: Eric Smith <spacewar(a)gmail.com>
> Subject: [Fedora-legal-list] MP3 status?
> To: legal(a)lists.fedoraproject.org
> Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> About three hours ago on Twitter @spotrh tweeted:
> "As of today, MP3 decoding software is permissible in Fedora."
> Is this true? If so, could we have a bit more detail?
> I'm slightly suspicious as to the authenticity of the tweet because
> yesterday @spotrh tweeted:
> "I'm going to stay off social media for the foreseeable future. If you
> need me, you know how to find me."
> There are MP3-related US patents with expirations in September 2015,
> February 2017, April 2017, and December 2017, and some people argue that
> the last one affecting decoding may have been the one that expired in
> September 2015, but I don't know of anything that changed in 2016.
-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Trilinos license
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2016 15:00:13 +0100
From: Antonio Trande <sagitter(a)fedoraproject.org>
I wish to review RPMs of Trilinos software (bz#1391958) for Fedora/EPEL
but i need clarifications about legitimacy of its license:
Trilinos is an open source software project. Most Trilinos source code,
including the code developed at Sandia National Laboratories, is
licensed either LGPL or BSD. Some contributions have alternative
licensing (see below). Trilinos is currently working toward
BSD-compatible licensing for all packages.
For the Trilinos 11.14 release, the Trilinos Framework (that part of
Trilinos not specific to any pacakge) and the following packages have a
Amesos2, AztecOO, Belos, CTrilinos, Didasko, Epetra, EpetraExt, FEI,
ForTrilinos, Galeri, Globipack, Ifpack, Ifpack2, Intrepid, Isorropia,
Kokkos, Komplex, LOCA, Moertel, MOOCHO, NOX, Optika, Optipack, Phalanx,
Piro, Pliris, RTOp, Shards, ShyLU, Stokhos, Stratimikos, Teko, Teuchos,
ThreadPool, Thyra, Tpetra, TriUtils, Xpetra, Zoltan, Zoltan2.
BSD code licensed by Sandia contains the following notice:
Under the terms of Contract DE-AC04-94AL85000 with Sandia Corporation,
the U.S. Government retains certain rights in this software.
Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:
Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright
notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the
documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
Neither the name of the Corporation nor the names of the
contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from
this software without specific prior written permission.
THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY SANDIA CORPORATION “AS IS” AND ANY EXPRESS
OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED
WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE
DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL SANDIA CORPORATION OR THE CONTRIBUTORS BE
LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR
CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF
SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS
INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN
CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE)
ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF
THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.
Upstream note about license:
Is it eligible on Fedora?
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