[Vorbis] patent issues with Vorbis

Jack Moffitt jack at xiph.org
Wed Mar 30 09:10:39 PST 2005

> Using vorbis requires faith.  Faith is okay for individuals, but not really for most companies.

Using any software requires faith.  There is no way to "prove" you don't
infringe patents other than perhaps seeking a preliniary ruling.
Problems can be avoided by careful planning and searching (both were
done here at Xiph), but patent claims can come from anywhere at any
time.  Even microsoft has this problem now and then.  No such claims
have ever been made against us.

> (One link you refer to mentioned AOL considering adding Vobis encoding to Winamp.  I don't think that ever occured, did it...  So apparently they backed away too.  So, I would suspect (with no proof) that their team of lawyers either found something or decided it was just too shaky to mess with.  It does have decoding ability, of course.  But that's a simpler situation than encoding.)

A better theory would be that the licenseholders of the other codecs
refused good licensing deals if they supported Vorbis.  It's hard for me
to believe that the lawyers were upset about patent issues.  All the
major game publishers ship Vorbis.  Several large music companies ship
Vorbis.  Microsoft's own game companies ship Vorbis.  Several pieces of
consumer electronics support Vorbis, and some even support FLAC.

You could ask the same "is it safe to use" question about any piece of
code you incorporate or write yourself.  Software patents don't just
affect Vorbis.  At least address the issue head on.


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