Originally Posted by Babar
Actually, both AAC & mp3 have royalty fees, but these are paid for by the ones distributing the encoders, not the end user.. At least in iTunes, AAC isn't VBR by default; you have to go into the prefs and tick the VBR box. Now why they haven't made it default yet is beyond me. The quality is much improved with it enabled.
Taken off wikipedia, I guess I don't grasp the subtleties
"Licensing and patents
In contrast with the MP3 format, which requires royalty payments on distributed content, no licenses or payments are required to be able to stream or distribute content in AAC format.  This reason alone makes AAC a much more attractive format for distributing content, particularly streaming content (such as Internet radio).
However, a patent license is required for all manufacturers or developers of AAC codecs.  It is for this reason FOSS encoders and decoders such as FAAC and FAAD  are distributed in source form only, in order to avoid patent infringement.
Although AAC requires a patent license, contrary to popular belief, it is not a proprietary format."
I hope I encoded all the CDs in VBR, I think I checked that box without thinking. Otherwise I have 400 CDs plus to re import