I know MP3 is not open source format but proprietary and I found this website http://mp3licensing.com/help/developers.html that states that you need a license for basically everything that uses MP3.

But the thing is that even hardware devices that support MP3s need license. So if a mobile phone is able to play MP3s already do I need an extra license for my application that would be launched, let's say, on Appstore on Google Play Store?

1 Answer 1


I read quite a few forum topics and mailing list (link), the general answer was that if you are using the Android SDK, and you do not have an MP3 encoder/decoder in your application, then you don't need a license for your app. The MP3 license for playing is already provided by the device manufacturer.

Also, basically everywhere else than the USA, MP3 patents are no longer in effect, so you don't need to pay royalties at all. (Wikipedia, list of patents) As of now, all MP3 patents have expired:

On April 23, 2017, Technicolor's mp3 licensing program for certain mp3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated.

Source: https://www.iis.fraunhofer.de/en/ff/amm/prod/audiocodec/audiocodecs/mp3.html (Your original link now redirects here too!)

  • "basically everywhere else than the USA, MP3 patents are no longer in effect" is there any source for this ? Thanks.
    – yoyo_fun
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 14:04
  • Added two links in the answer. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 14:12
  • koszi for the links
    – yoyo_fun
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 14:23
  • "In the United States, the technology will be substantially patent-free on 31 December 2017 (see below). The majority of MP3 patents expired in the US between 2007 and 2015." Oooh, nice.
    – Ajedi32
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 15:28

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