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    Creator of the 'MP3' format declares the codes as dead after terminating licensing

    MP3, most famous and widely used digital audio coding format, that created countless new devices over the last three decades is now dead - at least officially. The Fraunhofer Institute, the German company that was one of the main driving forces behind the development of the MP3, has released a statement that the licensing for patents and software relating to the MP3 have been terminated. The Fraunhofer Institute's discoveries were first incorporated into the MPEG-1 standard in 1991. MPEG-2 layer III followed in 1994, and "MP3" became a file format with an .mp3 extension in July 1995. iTunes and others now favor AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) files, which the Fraunhofer Institute also helped to create. According to Fraunhofer’s Bernhard Grill, AAC is “more efficient than MP3 and offers a lot more functionality.”

    Although Fraunhofer and Technicolor are giving up on MP3 licensing, they will still be involved with audio codecs. While MP3 licensing may be going away, the everyday use of MP3s isn’t going anywhere. MP3 files will continue to play as they always have.


    Here is the official statement by The Fraunhofer Institute -
    On April 23, 2017, Technicolor's mp3 licensing program for certain mp3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated.

    We thank all of our licensees for their great support in making mp3 the defacto audio codec in the world, during the past two decades.

    The development of mp3 started in the late 80s at Fraunhofer IIS, based on previous development results at the University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Although there are more efficient audio codecs with advanced features available today, mp3 is still very popular amongst consumers. However, most state-of-the-art media services such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as the AAC family or in the future MPEG-H. Those can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to mp3.

    For more information about mp3’s successful history, please visit http://www.mp3-history.com/.

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