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MP3 royalty scare over – not many dead

Software decoders exempt

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Thomson Multimedia, who license the MP3 format have confirmed that software players are not under threat, and can remain free.

The disappearance of a specific opt-out for software from Thomson's licensing page caused great alarm earlier this week. Thomson's licensing page had indeed changed, and an opt-out of free decoders had vanished.

But Thomson says the decoder royalty refers to hardware devices, such as CD players capable of playing MP3 data files, and the policy is unchanged.

"Thomson has never charged a per unit royalty for freely distributed software decoders. For commercially sold decoders - primarily hardware mp3 players - the per-unit royalty has always been in place since the beginning of the program," a spokesman said.

"Therefore, there is no change in our licensing policy and we continue to believe that the royalty fees of 75 cents per mp3 player (on average selling over $200 dollars) has no measurable impact on the consumer experience."

A Thomson spokesman told NewsForge's Robin Miller that it was a ruse by Ogg Vorbis advocates to get publicity.®

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