I have a question. Is Lame MP3 codec in Poland is free for commercial use? Can I create sounds in the program Audacity and export MP3 codec (LAME) for commercial use? I would like to sell customers the audio material but do not know if the codec is for personal or commercial?
We are not lawyers. You must consult your own lawyer in Poland. You can use Audacity itself for commercial purposes.
See http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Lame_Installation#Legal_issues and you can show your lawyer http://www.mp3licensing.com/help/index.html#5.
If you’re worried about it you can always download iTunes from the Apple website (free to download and use) - export WAV files from Audacity, import tme into iTunes and then use iTunes to convert to MP3.
My understanding is that Apple has paid Frauenhofer Institute for a license for this encoder - so this route should have no legal pitfalls (but, like Gale, I am not a lawyer).
I don’ know how this applies to Poland…
The LAME encoder that you download for Audacity is not licensed. If you distribute an MP3 CODEC, you are supposed to [u]pay a royalty[/u] Obviously, nobody is paying the royalty. The Audacity team does not distribute LAME, but they tell you where to get it.
Unfortunately, as an end-user you can’t pay the royalty yourself… If you want a licensed copy you have to get the MP3 encoder from a company that distributes licensed encoders. But, I’ve never heard of them going after any one for using an a unlicensed MP3 encoder. They have sued people & companies for distributing unlicensed encoders.
Distribution of the actual MP3s is covered by a [u]different license[/u] but the good news is you don’t need to pay a royalty unless your annual revenues are $100,000 USD or more.
The country is relevant because if a country does not fully respect applicable patents then the patents are unenforceable in that country.
Also the MP3 patents are slowly expiring and this varies from country to country. A lawyer told me a year ago that MP3 patents are no longer enforceable in the UK, but patents can be reapplied for. You need to speak to your lawyer.
I would still recommend a lawyer to review that. It says that non-commercial activities generating less than $100,000 are exempt. Does that mean that commercial activities generating less than $100,000 are exempt?