MP3 encoder - licence

Good morning,
Today audacity installed as standard. I do not uninstalled separately LAME codec. It turns out that I can read and write in Audacity mp3 files. Is this standard behavior of the program?
I read a license and have not found a passage describing the support for mp3 Audacity. I understand that the built-in codec mp3 Audacity is licensed under the GPL, which can save the mp3 files for commercial purposes?
The attached file is a screenshot showing that I can save the file as an MP3 player (not I installed LAME) - mark it in red.
I ask for clarification, if I could just installed use 100% legally.
PS: Sorry for the grammatical errors.

I recommend you have a look at the pink panel at the top of the page.

Audacity supplied by us may be obtained from

Do you mean you did not install it separately?

LAME is for encoding MP3. Audacity already has support (provided by the separate libmad library) for decoding (importing) MP3’s.

If you are using Audacity supplied by us then “MP3 Files” appears in the export dialogue whether LAME is installed or not. You can look in Libraries Preferences to see whether or not Audacity has recognised LAME.

Please see Audacity has not licensed the patented MP3 encoding technology from those that hold the patents - that is, we have not paid fees to those who claim the patents.

The situation varies from country to country. So, you must consult a lawyer in your own country if you require clarification of the legality or risks of your encoding MP3 files in Audacity.


Audacity has built-in ability to read (“import”) MP3 files. To the best of our knowledge there are no restrictions on MP3 decoders.

Audacity does not have built-in support for writing (“exporting”) MP3 files. Audacity does list MP3 as an export option (marked red in your picture) but in order to use that option a compatible version of LAME must be installed.

MP3 encoding has been subject to many patent claims over the years. Wikipedia has information about this:

The Audacity manual has some information, but please note that we are not lawyers - the information is provided in good faith and not intended as legal advice:

if I could just installed use 100% legally.

If you didn’t pay for it, nobody has paid the royalty and it’s NOT licensed/legal (in the U.S.).

Fraunhofer/Thomson has sued individuals, companies, and organizations for distributing unlicensed MP3 encoders, but I’ve never heard of them suing individuals for downloading and using an illegal/unlicensed MP3 encoder.

The official LAME website does not distribute a “working encoder”. They distribute the un-compiled source code as “an educational tool to be used for learning about MP3 encoding”. If you compile the program and make a working encoder, you are supposed to pay royalties for each copy sold/distributed.

They don’t make it easy… You can’t just buy a single license from Fraunhofer/Thomson (it’s only about $5 USD per copy, but the minimum is $15,000), and I’ve never seen anyone selling a licensed stand-alone MP3 encoder. (Someone could sell a licensed copy of LAME if they paid the royalties.) The only way to get a licensed encoder is to buy software that comes with a licensed MP3 encoder, such as dBpoweramp or Adobe Audition, etc. (Winamp Pro came with a licensed MP3 encoder, but Winamp Pro is no longer sold.)

Audacity has built-in ability to read (“import”) MP3 files. To the best of our knowledge there are no restrictions on MP3 decoders.

There is a royalty, but I believe Microsoft (and Apple) has a license to distribute the decoder, so the cost is indirectly included when you buy Windows. From what I’ve read most Linux distributions don’t come with an MP3 decoder and you have to download it “illegally”.

The simple way to avoid the possibility of MP3 license infringement is: Don’t use MP3.
Ogg Vorbis and FLAC are included by default in most Linux distributions. Ogg Vorbis and FLAC encoders / decoders are also freely available for Windows and Mac.