Relicensing the AMR codec for inclusion in Ubuntu

Robbie Williamson robbie at
Fri Nov 21 20:55:20 GMT 2008

Loïc Minier wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 20, 2008, Robbie Williamson wrote:
>> Thanks for the interest in improving the codec support for Totem.
>> Unfortunately, from looking at the 3GPP questionnaire and their website,
>> 3GPP does not have the rights to licensing the code itself, simply the
>> rights to providing access and redistribution right for the specs:
>>   "According to the Article 3.2.2 of the Third Generation Partnership
>>    Project Agreement, the 3GPP Organizational Partners jointly own
>>    copyright on the Technical Specifications and the Technical Reports
>>    approved by 3GPP."
>  The code is in the specs, isn't it?
I don't know, perhaps.  However, it's one thing to be able to read the
spec/code, and another to implement it.  I believe 3GPP only has
permission to let others read the spec/code, not implement it free of
charge.  So it's probably not a good idea for a FOSS developer
interested in AMR decoding to read the spec, as then he/she would most
likely be forced to prove they didn't apply any of the concepts in their
>> Voiceage apparently has the IP rights to the AMR codec
>> ( and requires payment on a per
>> use basis, which is obviously not possible for us. As stated in the bug,
>> our current best hope is to wait until support in ffmpeg is complete.
>  Yup, we wont be able to offer the use of the codec by default, but I
>  think it'd be nice if we'd integrate an AMR decoding implementation (in
>  multiverse) telling people that they need an AMR license.  It would
>  allow people to use this code easily, and not write their own AMR
>  decoder or a third party one when they buy the license for use of the
>  codec. 
IMO, it's a very tricky thing.  In my search through the "Googleverse" I
stumbled across this link that illustrates this point:


Robbie Williamson                                  robbiew at
Ubuntu Foundations Team                               +1 512 627 6171

"You can't be lucky all the time, but you can be smart everyday"
 -Mos Def

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Confidence is knowing no one else is better than you." -Me ;)

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