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Intellectual Property Precaution
Verious sources explain that the MP3 patents are expired. Various
linux distributions provide precompiled LAME packages for download
Most sources, (e.g. http://www.mp3licensing.com/) only talk about
the FhG and Technicolor patent portfolio, but there are also
portfolios from Sisvel (from Philips) and Nokia (from AT&T -> Lucent
Some "old" patents are now expired, but there are more recent MP3
patents. Some of the more recent ones are e.g. multi-channel related.
Multi-channel (>2 channels) is not implemented in LAME, but this
doesn't mean that there are other patents which could match what
is implemented in LAME.
There was no investigation (in the LAME project) about which patent
exists, which one is implemented in LAME, and which one is not (yet)
expired. As such it is not known if LAME could now be distributed
as a binary package or not.
Linux distributions seem to go the "let's see if get sued" way,
FreeBSD does not follow this.