Active discussions

Error in header format imageEdit


There seems to be a slight error in the header format image. According to the standard, the sync word is 11 bits and the version ID 2 bits. In the image, the sync word is 12 bits and version ID 1 bit.

-Kristian — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:15, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Network effects vs DRMEdit

The “Licensing and patent issues” section lists among the possible causes of the network effects causing perpetuation of the format the lack of DRM. Is that still relevant nowdays, when Ogg Vorbis and FLAC have no DRM? Is it about AAC or WMA not replacing MP3 as the most popular non-free format? --AVRS (talk) 21:30, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

DRM is optional in WMA and AAC. There is no license fee associated with Vorbis. MP3 is not the best format from either a technical or business perspective. I propose that the network effect itself explains the continuing popularity of MP3. MP3 was the first compressed format to be widely adopted. Its ongoing success is the result of that early success. -—Kvng 15:14, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
My point is that it is not clear how the lack of DRM contributed (or keeps contributing, which I think is implied by the text) to the network effect. Maybe it should be removed from the list? --AVRS (talk) 09:34, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
I may not understand the term "network effect", but isn't the main reason for the popularity of mp3 (apart from hardware and operating system support) simply that it was there a long time before WMA, AAC and Vorbis? --Regression Tester (talk) 01:15, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
I think MP3’s network effect consists in the following (which I guess could happen even with a good free codec or format, except for differences in possible lobbying and propaganda, like patents, brands, DRM, price, freedom, quality, compatibility):
  • Many people know the name.
    • Thus, at least in the past, when the alternatives were much less known, they would search for “blabla mp3 download”, so it was prudent to mention MP3 when publishing music — and some would also publish in MP3.
    • Also, if people only know “MP3”, then when they want to distribute audio, they will search not for how to encode audio, but for how to make an MP3.
  • Some hardware players, especially old ones, support only MP3. Thus those targeting owners of those players would publish audio in MP3.
  • There is a large quantity of music in MP3 (which cannot be salvaged from MP3 efficiently). In the past, it seemed OK to buy a player which only supported MP3.
So, where does DRM go here? Maybe some users chose MP3 because they had read somewhere that it has no DRM (e.g., in the beginning, the few known alternatives like WMA and RealAudio may have been associated with DRM or vendor lock-in), or because they have tried encoding audio into another format and accidentally created a useless DRMed file. There is no explanation in the article, nor mention of a time range.
--AVRS (talk) 10:01, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Error in "File structure" figure?Edit

The illustration of mp3 file structure,, indicates that MP3 sync word is twelve bits, all 1. However, some other sources I've consulted indicate that the sync word is only 11 bits:

Please advise. Aldebrn (talk) 15:46, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

576 samplesEdit

The "Encoding audio" section states, "During encoding, 576 time-domain samples are taken and are transformed to 576 frequency-domain samples. If there is a transient, 192 samples are taken instead of 576." This needs more context. 576 samples per what? I assume "per frame", but this needs to be explained in the article by someone more familiar with the technology. - dcljr (talk) 02:47, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

External links modifiedEdit

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Patent situation in 2016?Edit

The article only lists a few patents that are still active. I've collected a list from various web articles that discuss MP3 licensing. I can't verify if this list is exact, exhaustive, or if these are related to MP3 or just MPEG-? layer ? formats in general.

Some sources:

At least the last source is too optimistic. As an example, it claims that patent 5924060 expired in 2011. You can see from that they paid the fee (year 12) a bit late in 2011 so it should be valid at least until 2014-2015. Google claims they haven't paid the latest year (16) fee yet so the current situation is not clear, but I can't see why it wouldn't be enforceable until 2017. If you infringe the patent in 2017, you can still be sued until 2019.

2001:2003:F638:A000:BE5F:F4FF:FE76:8CA0 (talk) 02:33, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

I verified the expiration dates of the mentioned patents with and got

The article should be fixed regarding patent number 5924060. The calculated expiration date halves the time Mp3 is still encumbered by patents. There's only 166 days left before mp3 is totally patent free. (talk) 04:20, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

On fedora legal, Tom Callaway of Redhat wrote: "Red Hat has determined that it is now acceptable for Fedora to include MP3 decoding functionality (not specific to any implementation, or binding by any unseen agreement). Encoding functionality is not permitted at this time." So Redhat at least seems to think that MP3 is patent free so far as decoding is concerned. Jrincayc (talk) 15:40, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

Sisvel patentsEdit

From the article:

Except for three patents, the US patents administered by Sisvel[1] had all expired in 2015, however (the exceptions are: U.S. Patent 5,878,080 , expires February 2017, U.S. Patent 5,850,456 , expires February 2017 and U.S. Patent 5,960,037 , expires 9. April 2017.[2]

Note that these three patents were filed in 1997, so it is highly unlikely that they read on decoding of MPEG-1 layer 3 audio, since the 1997 was well after the 1993 MPEG-1 specification.Jrincayc (talk) 03:24, 30 April 2016 (UTC)


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Patent US5850456 - 7-channel transmission, compatible with 5-channel transmission and 2-channel ... - Google Patents".

Semi-protected edit request on 3 August 2016Edit (talk) 05:51, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

  Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. Jeh (talk) 06:28, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

Fraunhofer says on their website patents have expiredEdit

Read here

So does that mean ALL patents have expired and no one needs to pay ever anymore? Even the one last patent as wikipedia says that will expire end of this year? -- (talk) 12:19, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

MP3 @ 25Edit

Ford, Eamonn (14 July 2020). "The MP3 At 25: How A Digital File Dynamited The Music Industry". The Quietus.

Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:31, 22 July 2020 (UTC)

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