Update: Technicolor is conceding as of April 23.
Although it appears that all patents on the MP3 encoding have expired, the people collecting the licensing fees haven’t conceded. The FAQ on MP3Licensing.com still says:
Do I need a license to stream mp3 encoded content over the Internet? Yes.
Do I need a license to distribute mp3 encoded content? Yes.
For developers and manufacturers:
I want to support mp3 in my products. Do I need a license? Yes.
I have my own/third party mp3 software. Do I need a license? Yes.
Technicolor had administered all MP3 patents and runs MP3Licensing.com.
I can think of three categories of explanation for this:
- The licensors believe they still have some valid patent claim, or at least that they may have one.
- Technicolor hasn’t gotten around to updating the website yet.
- They know they no longer have any patent rights but want to con people out of money.
I’ve written to the contact address on the site asking for clarification (and politely omitting explanation no. 3). We’ll see if I get a response.