5

Definitive List of Legal Codecs and formats (USA)

view full story
linux-howto

http://forums.fedoraforum.org – I wonder if there is a list of codecs/file formats which are considered illegal or questionable in the USA? I want to find out What file formats or codecs are these questionable ones? What facillitates playing these formats? What alternatives are there? Why is it "not legal"? For example, I know MP3 is a codec which requires a royalty paid to somebody for the ability to program a player (not to play it, but to make a program that plays it), and that Fluendo offers a free MP3 codec which can be plugged into GStreamer. Do these restrictions also include converters from one format to, say, OGG? I understand that these file formats and codecs are not illegal, just the ability to play them or the required codec used by the player. What about MPEG/MPG playing? DVDs? AVI? Quicktime? etc.? Could somebody theoretically set up a website where somebody can upload their "illegal" file (MP3? AVI? etc.) and it converts it and provides an Ogg format for download? I hear all of this back-and-forth about it and usually threads start becoming political when this subject comes up, which I am hoping does not happen here. I am hoping that here I might be able to find some answers or pointers on where to get the answers. Ultimately I would prefer to go with FOSS equivalents, but if something like AVI is legal to have, just cannot be shipped with a distribution because it is not open source (kinda like how Flash is) then I would like to know that and be able to choose or know when I am "crossing the line". At least if you know where I can find out more, that would be great! Thanks. EDIT: Ok, I just looked up DVD and MP3 playback here : http://www.fedorafaq.org/#dvd and it looks, according to the website, that DVDs are not an issue at all with libdvdcss libdvdnav totem-xine xine-lib-extras-freeworld, and for MP3s Quote: NOTE: For home users in any country (even the USA), there is no legal problem with MP3 players, so you are not doing anything illegal by enabling MP3 support in Fedora. However, if you are in the USA and you want to encode MP3s or use them in a commercial setting, you may be required to pay patent royalties. But what about other formats? And will these added packages pull in any questional playback capabilities with them? (HowTos)