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Old 22nd December 2013, 03:47   #114
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 114
Continuing the pile-on...

Originally Posted by Dr.Flay View Post
FREE "Lame_enc.dll" which does not use any Fraunhofer or Thomson code.
It doesn't have to. The patents describe certain vital features of an MP3 encoder. Any compiled, functioning code or libraries that do MP3 encoding must therefore be licensed when those patents are in effect, or the patents are being infringed and legal action can be taken against those who distributed the code. That's why LAME's name was chosen to emphasize that its developers merely distribute source code. Source code is not subject to patents. LAME is not distributed in compiled, patent-infringing form except by random fans of the project, people who usually operate under pseudonyms. FFmpeg is in the same boat.

Originally Posted by Dr.Flay View Post
Personally I would happily junk the Fraunhofer Winamp MP4/AAC encoder in favour of the superior and award-winning AAC encoder from Nero (again, available for free).
Nero is only freely obtained as a bundle of executables, and only for personal non-commercial or evaluation purposes. Nero DLLs aren't free, and there's no public source code from which people can build their own. Plus, Nero is surely paying for licenses for the executables, and just choosing not to pass the cost to consumers. The company may be altruistic, but most likely it eats the cost of those licenses because the free downloads are a form of promotion for its non-free products & services, and results in a lot of helpful field testing.

As for quality, Nero is comparable to the other giants, but in my experience, it has trouble with tambourines unless you really crank up the bitrate. Apple and Fraunhofer do better, and came out neck-and-neck or a little bit ahead of Nero in listening tests. They're all so close, though, I wouldn't say any AAC encoders are inferior except faac.

Anyway, I do sympathize with the sentiment that the legal minefield that these for-profit companies have chosen to create through their patent-related practices is antithetical to a certain kind of geek, but the good news is that MP3 encoding will become patent-free at the end of 2017. Then we can make and distribute all the free MP3 encoders we want.
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