[icecast] Re: mp3pro and the mp3 streaming license]

Jack Moffitt jack at icecast.org
Sat Jun 9 20:45:50 UTC 2001

> >So uh, you think it's worth more for mp3, than the actual music
> >involved?
> >
> >Come on.
> Hmm.. so what you're saying is that for under $2K I can get an unlimited 
> distribution license from the recording industry?  To burn, distribute, 
> sell and market as much of their material as I like?  Wow.  Sign me up.

Streaming music is $250 minimum, with, I believe, less than 2%
royalties.  For $500 a year you can stream all the music in the world
pretty much, prefectly legally.  If you make a profit, it's a royalty.
But MP3's royalty here is higher than the royalty for the actual music.
That is out of whack.  Especially in an age where we are diligently
search for new ways to compensate artists.

> >You think it would be nice if Netscape charged 2% of all website
> >royalties for HTML, etc?
> Netscape didn't invent HTML.

Fraunhofer didn't invent parts of mp3.  Netscape certainly had their hands
in the spec.  Microsoft too.

> >I think it's fine that fraunhofer charges money for their code, but this
> >is different.
> >
> >They charge you for the tools they provide.
> It's called "selling software."  

Yes, this is fine.  I don't have a problem with this.

> >You have to pay for tool makers to pay royalties for tools Fraunhofer
> >DOESN'T make.
> I think a lot of -commercial- products do use the frauhofer codec.. 

Sure they do.  They pay for that code.  Then they pay extra for teh
technology patents.  Look at the licensing fees.  They double when you
use FhG's code.

LAME uses 0 FhG code, and it still has to pay.

Yes, these are normal patents, and this is how patents work.  But the
patent system is also fucked.  And the FhG patents are a good instance
of why.

> >You ahve to pay to stream the content you already created with a tool
> >you already paid for.
> I don't know.  How many times should I have to pay $6 to go across a bridge 
> along with the millions of other people that go over that same bridge every 
> day?  That particular rate just went up from $3.50.  I guess $40 million 
> (being very conservative) a day just wasn't enough to keep that bridge running!

This isn't analogous.  FhG here is charging for a result of the content
that you made.  It's like buying a toaster that also charges you for
every piece of toast you make.

Or, to do it the way FhG did, sell you a toaster for X dollars, and then
later charge you y dollars per slice after you bought it, because they

> You may pick up on a common point.  Fraunhofer isn't the first or worst at 
> this game, from any angle.  If you use products free of revenue generation, 
> in an application that itself is free of revenue, then you don't have to 
> pay.  If some part along the flow wants to generate revenue with their 
> product, then they have to pay.

This isn't true.  Only SOME of the time do you not have to pay.  The
rest of the time you do.  For instance, encoders are _never_ free.

> Take winamp for example.  Winamp has a non-free version.  

Since when?  Winamp was always donation ware, and I bleieve now it's
just free to use.  Where's a pay for version of winamp?

> To sell that 
> version, I'm sure they have to pay this new fee.  

The fee is outrageous, even for large companies, for encoders.  For
decoders, genereally you can do it for free, or for very little,
depending on your negotiating skills, mostly because the decoder patents
are very weak.

> However, if you buy it 
> and use it in a free environment, then you yourself don't have to 
> pay.  They want to get paid each time their technology is used to generate 
> income, and while that may be greedy, unless you're a subscriber to some of 
> the religious doctrines out there, it is not evil.

That's all well and good.  I agree here.  But, what if I recorded
winamp's audio output on tapes.  Do I owe them a royalty if I play the
tape for someone else?

This isn't a question of fraunhofer charging money for something they
should be.  They are charging you money to send bits from poitn a to
poitn b, if those bits are in a certain pattern.  There's no decoding or
encoding going on here.  Just data transfer.

> It would be a "wonderful" world if everyone that came up with some sort of 
> new technology or idea always gave it away for free, but that isn't the 
> world we're in.

We're in a world were intellectual property law has gotten out of hand.
Copyrights no longer seem to expire, patents are overly general and
broud, and litigation is increasing.  Huge companies are getting bigger,
exerting more influence over government and our daily lives, etc.

The current state of affairs is probably not was what was envisioned
when the provisions for copyright and patent law were written into the

> Pardon me for playing devils advocate, but IMHO there are a lot of better 
> things to get bent about, if you want to get bent over something.

Devil's advocate is fine.  I think intellectual proper in media is a
perfectly legimate thing to get bent on, and by no means am I only bent
on this one instance of Fraunhofer's greed.  I'm bent on it all.

I tell you, it's quite depressing.


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