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  1. #1
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    MP3 background music in game - royalties & license

    Hi,

    I'd like to publish a game that uses bundled MP3 files for it's background music. I have the right to publish them, but I'm not sure who covers the license/royalties costs for using MP3.

    Mp3licensing says that someone has to pay for the distribution of games containing MP3s. Now, do I have to pay or is that covered by Ovi?

    Just to make it clear:
    • The MP3s are provided in the installable package
    • I use the native platform decoder to play those files (using Qt)
    • I do not stream MP3s
    • I don't access MP3s that are already on the device (user content)


    Any help would be highly appreciated

    Thanks!
    Conny

  2. #2
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    Re: MP3 background music in game - royalties & license

    Hi,
    AFAIK, if the OS already contains a licensed codec, you con't have to pay extra.

    But I am not sure of this. However, maybe ask at a site like shockwave-sounds who sell audio files (just buy some tiny effect for 2$ first, so that they will listen)...
    The lines above are the best I have to offer.If anyone of you is of more advanced knowledge, I ask for your patience and understanding! - unknown arab poet
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  3. #3
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    Re: MP3 background music in game - royalties & license

    Hi tamhanna,

    thanks for your reply but using the licensed codec is only the solution to one part of the problem. The other problem with MP3 is that you actually have to pay for the distribution of the encoded content even if you have a license for the decoder and encoder. So I'm wondering who is the distributor? Is it me or is it Ovi?

  4. #4
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    Re: MP3 background music in game - royalties & license

    Quote Originally Posted by derconny View Post
    Hi tamhanna,

    thanks for your reply but using the licensed codec is only the solution to one part of the problem. The other problem with MP3 is that you actually have to pay for the distribution of the encoded content even if you have a license for the decoder and encoder. So I'm wondering who is the distributor? Is it me or is it Ovi?
    Hi,
    to be honest, I have not heard from this before. But as said, IANAL, so really, all you can do is ask the maker of the MP3 file for info.
    The lines above are the best I have to offer.If anyone of you is of more advanced knowledge, I ask for your patience and understanding! - unknown arab poet
    http://www.tamoggemon.com - Symbian blog - Windows Phone blog
    My other blogs:
    webOS blog iPhone blog BlackBerry blog Samsung bada blog Android blog

  5. #5
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    Re: MP3 background music in game - royalties & license

    Well, neither I am a lawyer. But as I understand it it doesn't matter who is the producer of this MP3 file (I am BTW) but who distributes this file. There is even a specific case about MP3 in games.

    From http://mp3licensing.com/royalty/games.html
    Interactive software products intended to interact with a user for entertainment [...] that may be published for multiple machines, platforms or media.
    US$ 2.500 per title
    I really think only Ovi could answer this, but probably they don't know either. I guess I'm going with MP4 AAC since they have no royalties but only licenses. MP4 AAC licenses are only required for encoding and decoding and decoding is done by the platform anyway.

  6. #6
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    Re: MP3 background music in game - royalties & license

    If you have MP3 content as part of your application, then you need to pay for whatever rights the rights holder required for the MP3s. Same as if if you source/license use of e.g. images/photos for your app. Nokia/Ovi will not participate in such "embedded" content deals; it is up to you as a developer or publisher making the app and whomever is the party from where you acquire the MP3s.

    If you create/record/produce the MP3s yourself, then you don't need to pay anyone else. (Note though, that if you use music composed by someone else, even if you play it yourself with your own actual or digital instruments, then you must acquire the rights to that composition from whomever owns those rights.)

  7. #7
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    Re: MP3 background music in game - royalties & license

    Sorry petrib, but you're getting it all wrong. I'm not talking about licensing the content. I am talking about royalties and license fees that you have to pay for using MP3 technology (patents). Please check the link I've posted.

  8. #8
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    Re: MP3 background music in game - royalties & license

    Yes, you need a license to commercially distribute content in MP3 format and you as the developer need the license, not OVI or Nokia. However, IIRC license requirements are waived for companies with less than $10k or $100k USD annual revenue.

    You might want to consider an alternate format, like OGG/Vorbis. Also IIRC (it's been a while since we went through this on our music app) AMR-WB could be used without a license as they only require the codec to be licensed, not AMR encoded files, and you'd be using Nokia's licensed codec on the device.

  9. #9
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    Re: MP3 background music in game - royalties & license

    Thanks proberts!
    I would love to use OGG, but the disadvantage is that it's usually not hardware accelerated through a DSP. So it puts higher load and battary drain on the device. As I said earlier, I think MP4 AAC is the right way to go. There is usually an accelerated codec on the devices and you only need to buy a licensed encoder. No royalties like with MP3. If I find any serious drawbacks with this solution I set you guys know.

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