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DJohnson

File Format - Legality

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Hello. I'm considering creating a product that involves opening several different graphical and document formats such as TIFF, JPEG, PCL, and PDF. I know that many file formats are copyrighted and was curious how this affects a developer. Do royalties have to be paid to open a file format, to save to a file format? Any info would be appreciated as I know very little about such legal issues.

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I'd imagine the best thing to do is to check the websites of those file formats to check for licensing information. I know Mp3s have to be licensed in order to be used in commercial products, so I'd imagine other formats would do much the same thing. I can almost guarantee that you probably have to get a license to use pdf files.

Hope that helps.

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Here's my uninformed, but intuitive, response to OP's question:

I would suspect that you don't need licensing for individual file formats, but rather the software/apps that save in those formats (either natively or alternatively). For example, I have a .doc file that can only be opened with MS Word. Assuming I have a legitimate version of MS Office, I can open and save as many .doc files as I please with absolute abandon.

So if you've purchased a legitimate license for, say, Adobe Photoshop, then you shouldn't have any issues with opening/saving .JPG, etc., at your leisure.

-Razorguts

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Guest Anonymous Poster
File formats can not be protected by copyright, only specific algorithms used in the format could be patented in some parts of the world.
Quote:

So if you've purchased a legitimate license for, say, Adobe Photoshop, then you shouldn't have any issues with opening/saving .JPG, etc., at your leisure.

Adobe has nothing to do with .jpg, JPEG is specified by the JPEG group. As far as I know all the formats mentioned by the OP are pattent free (I have never heart of PCL though), and there are plenty of open source programs for example that implement them without any problems.

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So would I be correct in assuming I could use the .MD3 file format in a commercial project provided the data is my own IP and I wrote my own loading and animation code and used a 3rd party exporter to create the file?

I've always wondered about that because the fact that the file format is already designed is convenient and even though the content of the file and the presence of 3rd party documentation is more important, I feel that some credit belongs to id for laying out the storage techniques. But it seems this is not the case?

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I think the MD3 format can be safely used, most formats can.
There are however formats, like GIF, that can't be used freely. So you could always check it if you're not sure.

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