Petition This American Life to use Ogg Vorbis
This American Life's recent episode "When Patents Attack!" brought much new awareness to the problems that software patents and patent trolls create; problems we also highlighted in our film Patent Absurdity.
So it's ironic that the show is only available for download and streaming in MP3 format: patents cover many aspects of encoding and decoding MP3s, and those have been the subject of several high-profile infringement suits over the years. This American Life is putting itself and its listeners at risk of facing similar suits in the future by distributing its episodes in this format.
Fortunately, Ogg Vorbis offers a ready, free alternative to MP3. Ogg Vorbis files provide cross-platform audio quality and compression ratios that are competitive with MP3. More importantly, Ogg Vorbis was designed with an eye toward avoiding patent risks; the problems that have plagued MP3 won't be an issue here, because the authors of Ogg Vorbis have explicitly said any patents they have on their work are free for everyone to use.
The FSF wrote to the production crew of This American Life asking them to use Ogg Vorbis, and plenty of others joined us, but they haven't responded yet. Please sign the petition below asking them to make the show's downloads and streams available in Ogg Vorbis. We'll deliver the first batch of signatures shortly after we collect 1,000 of them—sign now and make sure you're part of it!
This American Life: Patents have already attacked MP3. Please help defend your listeners and the public interest by offering downloads and streams of the show in the unencumbered Ogg Vorbis format!