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Old 10th March 2010, 10:33   #112
nradisch
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Weston, CT
Posts: 250
sc_trans uses a codec from Fraunhoffer to do mp3 encoding and decoding.

This is my understanding, regarding the $5 licensing fee. This is in no way an official legal statement from Aol, and merely represents my understanding of the issue.

Mp3 encoding is not free. If you encode in mp3 you owe MPEG-LA (or something entity like that) a licensing fee. It's common knowledge that many people download and use the Lame encoder without sending a check to MPEG-LA. This is technically a licensing violation, but since it's impractical for MPEG-LA to go after individuals, the practice is tolerated. It is NOT, however, impractical for MPEG-LA to go after large corporations like Aol. So we have to charge to avoid legal problems. Another option would be to leave mp3 encoding out, and force you to download install and configure your own compatible encoder (like lame), but we felt that the added complication to the user was not worth it.

AACP has a similar issues, but the MPEG-LA licensing terms for this technology is different, allowing Aol to pay a reasonable yearly fee so our user base does not have to pay.

I believe the reason the fee was only imposed recently was that SHOUTcast was an unstaffed project that was so far "under the radar" no one at Aol ever noticed it. It has a somewhat higher profile these days, and during a recently company wide technology review by the legal department, the licensing issues became apparent.

--Neil
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