The basic MP3 decoding and encoding technology is patent-free in the European Union, all patents having expired there by 2012 at the latest. In the United States, the technology became substantially patent-free on 16 April 2017 (see below). The majority of MP3 patents expired in the US between 2007 and 2015. In the past, many organizations have claimed ownership of patents related to MP3 decoding or encoding. These claims led to a number of legal threats and actions from a variety of sources. As a result, uncertainty about which patents must be licensed in order to create MP3 products without committing patent infringement in countries that allow software patents was a common feature of the early stages of adoption of the technology.
If the longest-running patent mentioned in the aforementioned references is taken as a measure, then the MP3 technology became patent-free in the United States on 16 April 2017 when U.S. Patent 6,009,399, held by and administered by Technicolor, expired.
It’s great to finally have MP3 be patent free, just as powerful micro-controllers that can do soft-decoding are coming to the maker/hobbyist market. Also, no more paying an extra fee for patents on chips anymore? We’ll see! Hopefully we’ll see more projects that have music of SFX playback! 🙂
8-6-2021 (August 6, 2021) is the Snakiest day of the year and it’s also this year’s CircuitPython Day! The day highlights all things CircuitPython and Python on Hardware. See you there!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.