Patents and copyright relating to Bluetooth codecs - Arkq/bluez-alsa Wiki

Blue Alsa allows you to integrate many audio codecs.

For personal use, there is little stopping you from using any of them. The reason so many codecs that are still under license are available is that in many cases you're allowed to create code for a codec, you're just not allowed to share it in compiled form. That's why if you want to share a binary of BlueAlsa with the world, for example as part of a disk image, you should research the copyright details of these codecs.

The information on this page cannot be taken as legal counsel. Take it as a starting point for doing your own research.

Contributing

Discussion can be found here. If you have more information, feel free to add it in that issue or in this wiki page.

Likely free to distribute

  • The SBC codec is the 'basic' bluetooth audio codec. The bluetooth specification demands it be included.
  • The MP3 codecs are no longer being licensed, and are now free to use in your application.
  • FastStream is a version of SBC

In other words, this configuration command might be "safe" to use if you want to share a binary:

../configure --enable-msbc --enable-mp3lame --enable-faststream

Requires a license

All the other codecs are unclear, or require a (paid) license. Especially if your goal is commercial use.

For example, the FFMPEG project now contains an AptX codec, implying that it has become available for open source distribution. But it's unclear if this means it can be included in a binary for commercial use.

Researching

  • Patents are granted by countries. Make sure you check the countries relevant to your case. In the United states patents are granted for a period of 20 years.